It's been a week since I first landed in Spain, and in many ways, it feels like a lifetime. Every day has been filled with some small accomplishments: from learning how to order entirely in Spanish at a restaurant, to spending the afternoon alone in Retiro. I am coming to find solace in my own thoughts even when I am surrounded by a group of people. The first few days felt like a rat-race to make friends, but since becoming comfortable in my own space and in my own mind, I have stepped away from forcing friendships and decided to make friends the organic way: through experience. The pressures of going out and constantly being at the side of another have subsided leaving room for me to truly absorb the nature and beauty of the wondrous city around me.
Through my observations, I have found that Spaniards are not as different as what all the researching and pre-departure information made them out to be. Although they seem to breathe this radiant perfection wherever they are, they still wear t-shirts and open-toed shoes. They still have too much to drink sometimes and become too loud because of it. They still have bad habits and eat too much fried food. Despite the fact that it is easy to spot a Spaniard from their killer good looks and natural way with fashion, every day I see less and less differences. It seems as if Spaniards may even admire Americans as much as we admire them.
A sense of blunt honesty exists in Spain. The type of honesty that makes your ears perk up as you question "Is this politically correct?' I think in these moments it is all too important to remember that to a Spaniard speaking bluntly does not hold the same taboo as it does in America. Spaniards are honest about their observations and their world and why not? Isn't honesty an attribute we say we admire?
But what I love most of all about the Spaniards is their energy. They have a natural love of life and family and a slight disregard for work. The party never stops in Spain. Every day of the week, life is being celebrated until the very early hours of the morning. Sleep is nonessential but coffee, beer, and Tinto de Verano are a must. A Spanish coffee can give you enough energy for a sleepless night, and it is drunk with almost every meal.
It's beautiful to watch life always blooming, people flourishing in the late hours of the night, laughing and dancing, even though they aren't supposed to dance due to covid. it is evident that you can't tell a Spaniard not to dance. People don't question life as much, they accept it for what it is, flaws and all. They don't work themselves to death trying to obtain this unobtainable perfect, they exist and laugh and sing while hanging up laundry, they walk everywhere, and are in no rush or hurry to be anywhere but the present. I think that can serve as a lesson for all of us. Slow down, enjoy life day by day. Our present truly is our only real concern.