Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cultural Differences

As I have been immersed in the American cultural for a handful of days now, I've been taking note in all of the cultural differences. All the small and or large things that are different from one country to another. 

Let the contrast wars begin...

In America:
  • there are stop lights
  • a large majority of the cars hold more than five people
  • people will go to the super market in their pajamas
  • everything is rushed...don't want to waste time
  • everything happens earlier

In Spain:
  • there are round-abouts instead of lights
  • all cars are small city cars, five people maximum
  • people will get dressed up just to go to the super market
  • time is limitless, why rush things when you can go at a nice comfortable pace
  • everything happens later

I have to say, before spending a year abroad,  I was fine going to the store in grungy clothes, and I didn't mind eating dinner at 5:30pm, which should technically still be the afternoon. However, after a year of adjusting myself to looking nice just to step outside or to eating dinner at 11pm, I'm having a challenge readjusting to the oh so popular American ways. 
What has really been the hardest for me to welcome back into my life again is the time schedule. I had to work really hard at the beginning of the year to adjust myself to the Spanish time cycle and now when my family begins heading to bed around 9:30-10, I'm just left alone trying to figure out something to do... and reminiscing is what usually ends up happening, which isn't the greatest idea, because I always end up feeling more lost in life than when I began.

I would love to say that transitioning back into my old life is easy, but that would be far from the truth. I feel like an alien from mars, and I can't quite figure out what I am suppose to be doing.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Home Sweet Home... ?

    Its strange how time changes somethings while to others it leaves them the same. While in this past year I have changed considerably, while almost nothing has changed here in Maine. Well sure... the pool may have new flags, or the construction project that began last summer is further along, but I thought something exciting might have happened here this year in correspondence with my exciting year abroad. Although deep down I knew that I was coming back to all the same things I had left.

    I feel completely and utterly lost in my own home, in my own country. My first night in my house I actually was a bit scared. The house is so big and my bed room is like an elephant compared to my mouse sized room in Spain. Its as though I don't know the house or the neighborhood, yet everything is so familiar. I went out to run errands for my mom the other day, after my family finally convinced me to get back behind the wheel again, and I felt like I was running errands on Mars. I had no idea what I was doing, I was wandering around in a daze and had to think before I spoke other wise everything would have came out in Spanish. I've had times when I get frustrated that no one speaks Spanish. I can't express myself the same. I'm speaking in English but the words come out in the Spanish order. I'm a mess.

    My room has been a mess since I got home, and it even overwhelms me to try and clean it up, so it is being organized little by little. I've found that about half of the stuff in my room I want to get rid of. I'm ready to reinvent my personal space, bring in my new and improved self.

    I can't say its not nice to be home, because, in a way it is. Although when people tell me its so "great to have [me] back," I can't respond that its great to be back, because I really had a great thing going over there. I felt like I fit in.

    I've kind of been avoiding blogging, because I, myself am having a very difficult time deciding how I feel and it doesn't seem fair to me to be writing to you guys about how I feel, when I'm not really sure of how I feel.
    I'm going to pace the exporting of my emotions in the posts so keep your self up dated and I promise the days in between posts will shorten.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    Hola y Adios

    In the past week or so more than enough emotions have been felt for the remainder of my life time...

    Welcoming my parents back into my life was both exciting and scary. I wasn't sure if I wanted them to be here and then on the other hand I couldn't wait for them to meet everyone. Waiting for my family to come through those doors was nerve racking, a few times I had to grab onto my host brother's arm to assure myself that everything was going to go fine. Seeing them come through the doors was the strangest thing, here I've been this whole year by myself and then out of the blue my family enters. Tears were running down my face even before I got to my mom. It was the classic reunion scene, the two people hugging and crying with all the random people staring at them like their ridiculous.
    My two family's got along like they were long lost friends, everyone laughing and having a good old time together, totally disregarding the language barrier. It was cool watching them all get along so well, everything just seemed to click.

    Saying goodbye to my life here was WAY harder than I thought it would be. I knew that saying goodbye was going to be hard, but I definitely did not expect to have my heart broken the way it was...
    I ended my last few days with my team at our championship meet, and I could not have asked for a better way to end my time with them than a weekend of fast swimming, cheering, lots of smiles and tears.

    The meet went well, I finished with a bang tying for 2nd in the 50 breast stroke and assisting in a strong feminine 2nd place finish. Friday night after our team meeting type thing they put on a movie with music and pictures summing up my year with them and than gave me a framed picture of the team. Even before the movie began I was in tears, I couldn't do anything to stop crying, the tears just kept on running.
    The last day of the competition was emotionally tolling. The team made me feel so special. They were all chanting my name, and then I was chosen to go up and receive the first place trophy for the combined points and then after the team picture I was swung into the pool, clothes and all.
    Saying goodbye was down right heart braking, I couldn't stop crying and when I saw the bus turn the corner and disappear from my view I felt as thought a part of me had been torn away.
    I didn't realize how large a part of me I had put into the team until I saw it drive away. They were my life here and I really can't imagine my life or this past year without them. Never in my life have I ever put so much of myself into something for fear that it would be all ripped away, yet this year without even noticing, I gave my year abroad everything and in the end Spain is the one that has my heart. The goodbye's that were said are not forever, because this place is where I am meant to be...