I leave for Spain tomorrow — currently feeling a strange combination of incredibly excited and scared out of my mind.
I am most excited for the opportunity to develop myself this coming year. My work schedule is not overly demanding, and Spanish culture is more laid-back than America’s, leaving me plenty of free time to practice my Spanish, explore Madrid, write, think, rest, or whatever else I may need to do in order to become a better person. Who am I when everything is different? We’ll see!
I am most scared that I’ll struggle to communicate, especially in a second language — my mind is so slow these days. It often takes a long time to process what is being said around me (the bane of my mother’s existence is that I respond with “What?” automatically, even when I’ve heard what was said — I know it’s annoying, but I need those extra seconds to wake my brain up!). Sometimes, I’m too tired to speak or even to read simple signs — BAKING NEEDS, AISLE FOUR — and it can be so difficult to put words together in a coherent way, with a normal rhythm and inflection. I don’t know where I’ll find the mental power required to do all that in a foreign language. I’ll learn, but I’ll probably also spend a lot of time looking incredibly stupid.
But that’s alright — I’m going to stand out as a non-native Spanish speaker anyway. I’m too pale and Slavic-looking to pass for a madrileña! Hopefully, if I’m nice and smile a lot, people will forgive my slowness. We’ll find out!