Monday, January 24, 2011

Oh, Spain, what you do to my heart.

Well, I am back in Spain.

What a weird sentence for me to say. I´m back in Spain. I´ve spent the past year in Spain, and after only six weeks away I feel so weird to be back. I arrived from rainy Germany, in Madrid on Sunday afternoon at about seven o´clock, and walked numbly down the aisles to the exit signs, salida, to the welcome to Madrid signs, then out into the city. It didn´t feel real that I had arrived, or that I was in Spain. There was Spanish, but it just felt foreign, rather than a language, my language that I love and speak. I felt like I had arrived to the equivalent of the Gold Coast in Queensland, like I had arrived in Australia, but that I wasn´t back home in Glenbrook, the Blue Mountains, Sydney. And I guess it was ok to feel like that, because I had arrived in Madrid, Spain, not Tudela, Navarra, my hometown, Spain.

I got to the hostel that I was staying at, in a part of Madrid that I´d never been to before, cementing and confirming that feeling that I didn´t really feel like I belonged back in Spain. My reservation and payment was conducted in English, and I realised at that point what I felt like. A tourist. Not a Spaniard, like I have felt the past year, but a tourist, visiting Spain, staying in hostels. I didn´t really know how to feel about that; excited or revulted, but I decided to go with the flow. I arrived in my shared room, relaxed a little and then I met my roomate, a German girl who had just arrived in Spain, who is going to be studying in Madrid for the next four months. It was really lovely to chat with her, as she wasn´t just a tourist, but would be living, like me, in a foreign country, studying in another language. It´s been really fun to get to know her, and I´ve really enjoyed her company. She had met some people that day, so that night we went out with them, were greeted with the dos besos (two kisses) and that is when I realised that I still had ten days left in Spain. No matter how I felt; like a tourist or Spaniard, I realised that I needed to embrace my time left. It was great to just chat to her friends, who happened to be Germans teaching Spanish to the German football players in the Real Madrid team. (Cool, I know!) We went and had a beer at El Museo de Jamon, The Ham Museum, and I smiled at the fact that I felt at home. Home in a world of different people, cultures, languages. I love the fact that the Ham Museum is a bar where a beer costs one euro, and the ham costs 50.

Walking through the city that night, I fell in love with the architecture, with the language whispering to me, all over again.

Today I changed over my luggage (finally! I´ve been living out of the same luggage for the past five weeks meaning: two pais of jeans, four shirts and one jacket. So much variety!) and got to walk down the small streets, listen to Spanish. I felt so conflicted; blissfully happy of where I was, but also really sad of the fact that I would be leaving this country in 9 days. Malwina, the German girl and I had lunch out, and met a Colombian man who was our waiter. He was the nicest person, and so friendly, and made me love the Spanish people, the language and the culture.

I am now sitting in the hostal, on the hostal computers about to go to bed. Tomorrow I head off to Sevilla. I´ve never been to the south of Spain, so I will be spending the next four days there. I´m really excited to see the architecture, the tapas, the flamenco, the different and exciting culture of the south. I hope to keep you posted!

I really am amazed at how many conflicting feelings someone can feel at once. Every thing that makes me laugh or smile, also reminds me that I only have nine days left here. I just need to make sure I capture these nine days and embrace them fully. My heart is full to its seam with love for Spain, and I´m sure it will break when I have to leave. But I know that I´ll have Australia to look forward to, something that will fill my heart once more with great, great, happiness.

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