A lot can happen in six weeks, especially when starting a new life in a new country.
It is not often that you have an opportunity to start afresh in a new place with people who know nothing about who you are and what you’ve done in the past. If you had to start your life anew today, how would you live it? What would you change?
To start off, I always thought I wasn’t any good at learning languages. I took enriched French in high school, but mostly because I wanted to finish grade 12 French a year earlier and study something else in my final year of school. However, I never really enjoyed taking French or really considered it of any value to me. Four years later, I found myself fresh off the plane in Spain speaking with my future landlord in the only language we had in common: French. A few days later, two Erasmus students from France moved in to my flat and suddenly I had an even greater interest in speaking French. Next Saturday, I’m travelling to Paris, and I am grateful for sticking to learning a language I had no interest in, because it is now of great value to me.
Even more importantly to me know is my education in Spanish. I never had any motivation whatsoever to learn a new language, let alone Spanish. However, after one week of living and working in Spain, I was yearning to learn more grammar and vocabulary so that I could communicate with others and express myself. While I still have people I can speak with in English, I feel like a young child, frustrated with not being able to communicate effectively and soaking everything up like a sponge. After 11 hours of work, including a 1-2 hour Spanish lesson, I can actually feel the language centres in my brain throbbing. However, the satisfaction of being able to talk to my co-workers in Spanish after just six weeks is incredibly rewarding. Thankfully, most of them have the patience to allow me to string together my sentences and correct me when I’m wrong.
I’ve noticed another big change in my new friendships here in Spain. For many years, I’ll admit, I was afraid of forming close relationships with people. Perhaps it is in fact true that people from Toronto are cold (no offense to anyone back at home, you’re all great people 😉 ), but after forming such good friendships with people in Spain in such a short period of time, I feel like I’ve been missing out a lot in this area of my life. Some of the people I’ve meet here, I’ve known for only a few short weeks, but it feels as if I’ve known them for years. In Canada, you’re someone’s best friend after ten years, but in Spain, you’re someone’s best friend after ten minutes.
Tonight is fiesta night! Which means I’ll get to practice my Spanish (which is always easier after everyone has had a few drinks) and my dancing (which I’ve actually heard good things about for once).
¡Hasta luego! Watch for my pictures from Paris later this month!