I can't believe it, but I have officially been in Spain for three weeks!
I want to start off by saying that dealing with the passing of my friend from home has been hard on me. I'm trying to deal with it day by day. It has truly tested my strength and I have not been able to write because of it. However, I got a little consolation out of learning that Bobbie's parents have been reading my blog and my father told me her wake was very beautiful. Everyone also said she looked beautiful. I'm still praying for you all. Thanks for reading!
Being in a foreign country really does force you to put your back against the wall and figure out what you're made of. I have quickly learned that I must be more patient than ever before. Its hard not to get frustrated when you must communicate in a language is completely foreign to you. The dialect here is so strong and it seems like every word blends with the other when a native speaker talks to me. Sometimes, I'll be listening to someone and my mind goes off track. I think to myself in English, "Who are you kidding?.. You have no idea what they're saying." This just makes it worse, obviously because then I don't even catch part of what they're saying. Let me tell you, getting sidetracked is never a good thing during a conversation. Needless to say, I think I have mastered the "grin and nod."
When it comes to speaking, I have learned a lot in the past three weeks. My comprehension is starting to improve, which is good. Its so weird to try and adjust and to use a completely different set of muscles to talk. Basically, I know I just need to let go of my fear of messing up and just go for it. Then, I'll be golden.
I met my assigned intercambio (speaking partner) and some of his friends! They remind me of so many of my friends from home, which has also helped me to feel better about being away. They are awesome people, and have been really helpful with some troubles that I've had during my awkward period. I think that before I came to Spain, I assumed that everyone would be so much different from myself in every way, but meeting people who are the same age me made me realize that there are actually more similarities than differences. Even people who live on opposite sides of the world can have the same ideas and interests. I have so much to learn, and not enough time.
I took a trip to the Strait of Gibraltar last Saturday. This trip was seriously the best and most exotic thing I have done since traveling abroad. I loved getting close to the wild monkeys that inhibit the land there. Yeah, seriously.. wild monkeys. I have to admit that I was extremely intimidated at first. You're not supposed to look into the eyes of the monkeys because they will look at you as a threat. They're twice as strong as humans, and I'm pretty sure their teeth are a bit sharper too. They're definitely a species you don't want to mess with. Luckily, everything went well and no one had to go to the hospital.
I can't even tell you how beautiful this place was. I was so taken back by the beauty of the land and water. I wish I was a better photographer. If only my father could have been there.. The rock of Gibraltar is so huge. The fact that you can see Africa from Gibraltar blows my mind. I think I actually shed a tear when I saw the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Actually, I know I did. The smell was like nothing else. I don't think I can even explain in words the way the whole experience made me feel. It is something that I will cherish forever, and never forget! I'll never forget the smell!
Oh, and one more thing!..
I am tutoring an 11-year-old girl here. I will be meeting with her two times a week! She goes to an English school here in Spain, and she speaks English very well! I am working to help her with vocabulary and creative writing.. I've never even thought of way to teach someone- I've always just been the student! Its a little unnerving because I want to make sure I do as much as I can for her! I've decided to go for it, though. It's never good to hold on to something that might stop you from having an enriching experience!
My blog has a LOT more views than I thought it would! It's encouraging when someone tells me they have been reading. ¡Gracias a todos por leernos!