one month left.
walking home tonight from spending some time with a few friends, i found something i think i might miss. i crossed the main street to get to my house and i hopped up on the sidewalk and kept on walking like normal. as i glanced down at my feet i noticed how the sidewalk is designed. it’s made up of squares of stoney grey, all with diagonal lines cut into them. every now and again there is a little cluster of squares that are a maroonish color, but less ugly than maroon. i don’t know why it struck me tonight. i guess just thinking about how many times i’ve walked the sidewalks here and how i look down at my feet or at the ground just ahead of me as i walk and how i’ve become so accustomed to this life, this city, these roads. my normal routine is to come home from class and flip on some music and hope i can get internet in my room. i haven’t seen colleen in four months. she used to be part of my routine, seeing my friend joel used to be my routine, double decker tacos and mega buddies from kwik star used to be my routine, playing my beautiful stratocaster used to be my routine. and none of that is it anymore. my routine here consists of listening to music, putting off what little homework we’re given, writing, watching tv shows i have, spending evenings at the cafe, spending evenings playing ping pong. i don’t know why sidewalk tiles set all this off in my head. it’s just so weird to think how my life has changed, just out of necessity. it obviously couldn’t have stayed the same because i lost everything that was normal to me before. and i’ve carved out a new routine for myself. it’s not my absolute favorite but it has sufficed. i’ve learned many, many things about who i am, personality and character wise, things that i want to take advantage of back in the states, things i want to change, things i want to work harder at, things i want to spend more time on. being isolated from community has forced me to examine who i am and what i want to do. as much as this trip has brought me a lot of loneliness at times, it’s also brought me a new kind of clarity about my identity. and i don’t want to lose that. i think what the sidewalk tiles made me realize is that i’m proud of myself for managing to carve out a new kind of life for five months in a completely new place. some of the kids here wouldn’t say that i’ve taken advantage of my time here in spain as much as i should’ve, not going out enough, or meeting new people from new places, or whatever, but this trip has gone from being about speaking another language (i learned within the first week that i wasn’t going to leave the country fluent) to being about learning about me. and i’ve had more success in that aspect than i could’ve hoped for. i’m learning what’s important to me, what’s not, what i want to work for and fight for and live for when i return to normalcy. and i’m excited to get back to that normalcy with this new kind of confidence. there really is a strange kind of confidence that comes from seeing new and beautiful things. for me it’s not always the thing itself that brings me confidence; the confidence comes from the thoughts and realizations that are triggered by seeing new things. i’m returning to the states more confident about my life and who i am because i recognize supermarket signs in spanish. because of the gorgeous cathedral in the middle of the city. because of the concrete ping pong tables outside in the city park. because of the thousands of new faces i’ve seen here. because of the sunset i saw in san sebastian and the mountains i’ve seen in the picos de europa. because of the sidewalk tiles. it’s odd how the tiniest little things like that set off such a chain reaction of introspection in me. i guess i finally feel really ready to return to something i know. ready to play my strat. ready to study my butt off this summer. ready for fountain pop. i can’t wait.