|Me teaching on Halloween.|
I learned that I enjoy planting trees. I went on an excursion an hour or so outside of the city with a group of middle aged professors and scientists to do an experimental planting project to help Spanish soil. Check back in 50 years. There might be a forest! After 5 hours of freezing to death in the middle of nowhere, I felt really satisfied and good on a deep level. I guess that's manual labor for you?
I learned that deep down I'm a mess of a girl who acts entirely her age, in that the future and "the rest of my life" are daunting, abstract concepts that I can't swallow just yet. But at least I did the hard thing and was honest. When I wake up in the morning I have that, at least.
|Still trying to keep it classy though...that and pale. :P|
I learned a lot about Spain's economic situation. With the general strike (14N) looming tomorrow, I asked as many people as I could their reason's for participating or for being scabs, like me. No, I'm not going to participate. As many qualms I have with the government (still have not been paid!), I feel like my concerns are of a different stuff than, say, a math teacher that drives me home periodically. She claims the country is losing basic, essential things that Spain fought for so desperately in the post-Franco, democratization era. So, the 80s. Things like education for everyone, healthcare for everyone are for the first time in 30 odd years coming under attack, things that here are basic human rights. Definitely a change of perspective from thoughts back home.
I learned that Valladolid indeed does have a lot of culture! During its Seminci international film festival several weeks ago, I saw maybe 12 different films in 7 days. There were movies from Spain, Mexico, the US, Poland, Romania...you name it. I think the best part of the festival was the walk home after each movie. I couldn't go to the showings in the mornings or afternoons because of work, so I always found myself walking out of the movie theater around midnight. Especially on nights like Sunday or Monday the streets were more or less deserted. Maybe a few stragglers were still at the bar, finishing a drink, but most people were no where to be seen. Having immersed myself in a whirlwind of cinema, I couldn't help but feel like the buildings, the streets, and the lampposts that I passed were all part of a movie set that stretched out into the night. It was so surreal.
|One of the theaters used for the festival|
|Excellent nose-bleed seats|
I re-learned how essential travel is for my personal well-being. In the worst, most dark mood I found myself discovering again what it's like to be happy: the absence of routine, the new faces, getting repeatedly lost, finding treasures where you least expect them, unforgettable vistas, realizing you're much more than what you give yourself credit for. And this weekend I'm going to Salamanca! Here's hoping that the travels continue.
|On the road to Santander|
I also learned how hard distance can really be. Sounds silly coming from me, I know. But it's one thing to keep a romantic relationship going, which I've now failed (not quite miserably, but failed regardless) at twice. But when a family member is sick? When someone really needs you, and all you can do is send emails and Skype. It's a nightmare. My grandpa is sick, and we're still not sure what's going on exactly. I feel so helpless and far away! As if the mind-numbing waiting that you experience in any medical situation is only exacerbated with each physical mile put between you and those you love.
|Family love...and old haircuts.|