Learning to be Comfortable with Discomfort

I have a hard time denying the fact that I adore my comfort and cherish familiarity. The thought of home makes me sick with joy; talking to my friends and family makes my heart ache but also beat a little faster. A sentimental nostalgic. That’s what I am.

Slight discomfort feels extremely uncomfortable. I’m bummed out that I’m simply not the type of person who, two weeks into a study abroad experience, has met their ~*best friends in the world!~ and **never wants to leave!!!** :):) No, not even close. I really do envy those people, though.

For the record, I’m not having a bad time. I’m really enjoying myself, in fact. But given my love for what’s known, sometimes I’ll think of Seattle and go “mmmmm. That sounds real nice right now.” Experiencing discomfort as I’m imagining my beloved home tricks me and makes me feel like I’m living a reality in a cold room with weird small barking dogs everywhere, as my body is awkwardly contorted and my limbs are strewn all over, with a mixed up and confused brain that was never fed the knowledge of speech. It’s a good thing this is blatantly false, and it’s a great thing that I’m aware of my tendency to get too stuck in my own head. I’m really doing alright.

Now, to extract myself from my self-made illusions.

My home life in Spain is really nice. My host mom Paqui is adorable and caring and loves to feed us. She calls us “corazón” (meaning ‘heart’, it’s an endearing nickname). When I say “us” I’m referring to my roommate Julia and me. As random chains of events would have it, we get along brilliantly. I’m entirely thankful to feel comfortable around someone as we live in this strange land together. Those who know me know that this can be difficult for me to come by.

Spain itself is really cool. Spaniards are very direct and don’t really sugarcoat anything–Spain: 1, USA: 0. At cafés or restaurants, employees will say “díme” (meaning “tell me”) when you’re ready to order. As a former waitress, I have the utmost appreciation for Spain’s dearth of obnoxious niceties. Although blunt, people are also, for the most part, kind and patient and willing to help. I almost always have to ask people to repeat what they’ve just said (Spaniards talk 4,000 mi/minute), and they always do so more slowly and without a trace of attitude. I feel no fear about speaking a new language to native speakers. It’s absolutely wonderful.

The best part, though, is actively noticing that my Spanish is improving actually every day. As my host mom says, “poco a poco” (little by little). Even when I’m falling asleep, my mind is occupied by a string of miscellaneous Spanish words and sporadic phrases. They aren’t coherent thoughts, but what this tells me is that my instant, natural thoughts are starting to convert to Spanish. I’m pretty excited about it.

Right now I have two classes: Spanish Intensivo and Development of Spanish Cultures. The content of both is useful and interesting, but the homework portion is unfathomably easy. I will spend 20 minutes at the most, not even every day, doing my homework. I have consistently had mind-numbing amounts of homework since I was 13 years old and I actually do NOT know how to deal with this drastic change. I even feel guilty about it, knowing that my friends in Seattle are in a very different boat. Actually, they’re not even in a boat, they’re on a sinking raft while I’m chillin on a yacht Jordan Belfort-style. Shoutout to my SU library crew, may your daily hours spent in Limieux be countable on one hand only. The sick part about this whole thing is that I’m kind of longing to be on the sinking raft. In about 1.5 weeks, though, my class count of two will become five, and I’m sure my desire to drown will then subside.

I have a four day break at the end of January and I’m going to Vienna. ¡¡¡¡¡Aventuras!!!!!




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