Spain

Spanish Friends, Qué Cosa Más Bonita

Recently I’ve been reviewing some of my photos from the past year. It’s interesting to look back on the beginning of my transition to Spain and remember how it felt and how this year compares. It’s also funny and strange that I backed up ALL of my nearly 1400 photos from last year and I have some lingering questions:

Why did I take a picture of the holes in my socks? (Though I sort of remember wanting to document this.)

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When and where did I see a peacock or similarly giant bird?

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What exactly was happening here?

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I digress. What strikes me the most from all these photos is remembering all the people I’ve met. Some of them I still talk to, some I haven’t seen since fall of 2014, but they’re all part of the experience.

Life in a foreign country can get pretty lonely and overwhelming at times. While studying abroad is one of the easiest things of all time, moving to and working in another country is a very different story. Visas, residency, paperwork, work schedules, and lesson planning are just a small part of what differentiates a semester abroad from a LIFE abroad. There is always a network of expats, auxiliars, and exchange students to meet and swap stories with, and some people end up spending most of their social time with these groups. You already have so much in common, it’s natural. And in some parts of Spain, making local friends is quite hard. But today I’m not choosing to write about those people, though I greatly appreciate them. Today I’m writing a little love note to my Spanish friends. It’s not only your lifestyle that I appreciate, it’s your loyalty and dedication to your friends. And even better, today is International Women’s Day, so this post is in honor of my Spanish girlfriends. They’ve been supportive, given advice, listened, fed me, and much more. If you are one of these friends I just want you to know that some days I feel overwhelmed with good feelings toward all of you because even the simplest acts of kindness mean so much.

I’m grateful to you for a lot of things, and here are some of them.

Showing me the best places to go out, how to drink from a porron, and how to play kinito. (Very important skills, you know.)

Inviting me to spend the holidays with your family, where I ate like royalty.

Graciously showing me around town when I was new and didn’t know where to even buy food.

Inviting me out with your group of friends and making sure I understand the conversation.

Feeding me your delicious homemade food and sending me home with plenty more.

Listening when I was going through a difficult time, empathizing, and offering support.

Lending me costumes for the town parties during Carnaval.

Having conversations in both Spanish and English and correcting me so I can speak better.

Sharing your favorite music with me.

Coming to visit me in my new town and catching up just like always.

Going for fantastic walks around town while catching up.

Showing me where to find the BEST tortilla de patatas in town. 

Spending the entire night salsa dancing.

These are a few of the things I appreciate about you, Spanish/Basque friends. I’m so fortunate to be able to say I have friends in this part of the world and I don’t know what I would do without you. Thanks, gracias, and eskerrik asko for everything.

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