It is funny how you end up expecting the same things when you visit different places. The lack of what is familiar startles us and we are left wondering “now what to do?”.
I have not “lived” in a different country since I moved to the US. Even though I had my biases and also felt insecure when I first moved, I adapted, adopted and reset my brain to live there. I get these little jolts of adjustments when I visit Turkey but there is still enough in me that it takes me a day or two to get used to crossing the crazy streets of Istanbul.
Now I am going to live in Salamanca, Spain for four months. Lack of language on both sides – me not speaking Spanish and not many Spanish people speaking English – makes it an interesting adjustment period. Besides holding a line at the grocery store because I did not pre-weigh and put price stickers on the vegetables in my shopping cart (it does not work the US-way apparently), there have not been too many embarrassing moments…yet! I did not get embarrassed at all when my fingers were dipped in chocolate along with churros, for example. Or while trying to order bunch of pastries at the bakery downstairs by just pointing and shouting only numbers in Spanish.
That is chocolate in the cup, not coffee. In a coffee cup. Yep!
I wanted to buy a travel mug so that I can grab my coffee and get to the class in a hurry while sipping on the road. But guess what? I have not been able to find one here – have not seen anyone using one either! Am I expected to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee while I am basking in the sun in Plaza Mayor or on my balcony listening to the noises of a busy street? What do you mean you are closed between 1 pm and 4 pm when I have clearly lots of things to do on my check-list? Am I just supposed to go home and relax? Can I really have a glass of wine (or two) at lunch without the person at the next table making me feel like a functional alcoholic? Or have tapas with my coffee? Yes.Yes and Yes!
I reset my brain quickly here. No complaints. I think the adjustment period back in the US will take a while… Or might be better if I just stay here. Who would want to go back to trying to sip coffee in a car on the highway while going with 80-miles per hour?
For more photos, you can visit this Flickr account now and then: https://flic.kr/ps/UkPv7