“a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. ”
I feel like a mom. Or what I think it might feel like to be a mom. Watching my kids grow up, watching them interact with other kids, watching them learn English, watching them smile, laugh, and dance… watching them live. The improvements they have made in the eight months I’ve been here is incredible. With the oldest, we have our “secret language” – which is my California English. Meaning, I talk with the same speed as I would with any of my friends. She understands almost everything and our relationship has turned into a solid friendship. I enjoy her company and being with her almost never feels like work, even if I have to drag her to the bath for her shower. Recently we’ve been working on an acrobatic dance routine that takes its toll on my back, but for the happiness it brings her, I’ll do it till my back breaks. The improvement the youngest has made fills my heart with happiness every single day. I feel like I’m watching my kid speak for the first time, saying her first words, then little phrases and songs and her excitement for learning. Right now her thing is, “to the…” and fill in the blank with whatever. For example when it’s story time, “Sarah! To the book!” “To the song, to the iPad, to the snack, to the dance, to the carrot…” To be honest, it’s so catchy, I’ve actually found myself saying it to myself. When I’m tired, to the bed. Her English teacher told us that she is the best in her class, when they sing songs the other kids are lost without her there. She asked if her au pair was an American because she is developing an American accent, which isn’t normal since they teach British English here. And it’s true, her accent is amazing. Sometimes I’ll have a Spanish question and I’ll kind of ask her by saying the two options I think it might be, she always laughs first and then answers me and then laughs again. And man, her laugh is so contagious, we end up sitting there laughing together for minutes without a care in the world. Although, I’d be lying if I said everyday was absolutely perfect. But this is what confirms my motherly feelings. The tantrums they throw, the crying, the fighting, the misbehaving… they give me headaches, they wear me down, and they test every ounce of my patience. They say that you never really appreciate your mother until you have kids of your own. I’ve told my mom numerous times how grateful I am for the way she raised me with patience and love and I’ve apologized for being the brat that I was. But the truth is, every night when I go to bed I smile because I am so incredibly lucky. I am part of an amazing family with two amazing girls that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I came to Spain to work but I couldn’t call this work. I’m living a life full of blessings and challenges.
I finished classes yesterday and not gonna lie, it was really sad leaving the school. I’ve made friends with almost all of the profes, it kinda became a second home for me. The barista took me under her wing the first week I was there and likes to tell everyone when I got there I didn’t speak a word of Spanish. I always protest saying I could say Hola and Gracias and Café Solo… although she seems to think she taught me how to order my coffee. To be able to have a conversation with her now, well with everyone is such an amazing feeling. Yet every day I am so humbled by the language. The fluidity of it, the accent, the words… to be honest, the more I learn the less I believe that one day I’ll fully master it, although I never stop trying. Now that classes are over, I’ll meet with my intercambio more regularly, we’ll aim for two hours every day and by the way, his English has gotten insanely better over the months.
When I left for this journey I decided I was going “find myself” or do whatever those people do when they leave for self growth. Putting myself in a whole new world would surely show me who I really am. If only it was that easy. I have learned a lot about who I’m not. I’ve been able to be picky in certain situations when before I would have put up with anything. I’ve become more comfortable with my own company. I’ve begun to appreciate the little things about people that make them unique – even if those things drive me absolutely crazy. I’ve learned that I have an influence. We all have an influence. Whether we realize it or not and whether we want it or not, we all affect the world. Our reactions, our beliefs, our love for humanity, or our distaste for rain… our life broadcasts our individuality. We may never be famous on a global aspect, but who knows if one conversation or one moment of our life can have an effect on the next President of the US or on the next Gobierno de España. So yes, I am learning. I’m learning a little bit about me and little bit about this amazing World that we live in.
As far as my cultural adaptations… I’ve started to drink coke. For breakfast, I love nothing more than toast with chopped tomato and oil – or churros and chocolate on those special occasions. I walk fast when I’m in a hurry and I take my time when I’m not. If you try and overcharge me, you’ll know I’m not happy. Futbol is almost as important as Religion. Spending time with people and conversation has more value than anything electronic could provide. And I’ve fully adapted to the famous Spanish phrase…. “no pasa nada.” I guess to sum this up, I’m a happy little girl here living my life in Spain. I have a few ideas for my future but I’m more than excited for the unknown. Until then, let’s live in every moment and treasure every feeling. Because we can.