Autumn’s Adventures

Donde Estoy?
November 10, 2008, 8:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The more castellano I learn the more english I forget.  My friends ask me for english words and translations all of the time and usually my response to them is, “I know there is a word for this but I just can’t remember what it is right now.”  This could end up being a dangerous pattern!  Does my brain have room for both languages? I really hope so.

I never realized it until I arrived here but I am really accustomed to living a planned life.  I always had something to do in the States and I was always planning for Friday as early as Monday morning.  Now I am experiencing culture shock.  Nothing here is ever planned unless it is the following four things:
Class, Work, Holidays, Teacher’s Strikes (there is like one a week, seriously)
I never know what I’m doing with my friends until we arrive at our destination.  This causes mini panic attacks for me because I am used to knowing things before I do them so I can mentally prepare for the journey.  For example, I had a birthday dinner to go to to go to around 10:30 at my friend Gabi #2’s house.  Before the dinner I met up with Dani, Seba and Gabi #1 to hang out.  They knew I was going to this dinner so when we all left Gabi #1’s business I was expecting to separate from them and take a taxi to Gabi #2’s house.  I walked with them until we reached Seba’s car at which point I thought we would separate.  None of them said goodbye to me or gave me kisses on the cheek so I took this as a sign that we weren’t separating yet. Hesitantly I got into Seba’s car without knowing where they were heading next or what they were expecting of me.  He drove for a while and I finally realized they were taking me to Gabi #2’s house when we passed a street that I knew was near her house.  Shortly after my realization Seba asked me what her address was.  I don’t know if these type of things are just assumed or if they talked about it before we left and I just didn’t pick up on the conversation.  Either way, I wasn’t part of the conversation but I need not freak out and I need to just trust that my friends will know what’s up and that I am in good hands.

I no longer feel angry or upset when my friends don’t send me messages to go out.  I know they don’t mean to offend me and they expect me to let them know when I want to do something with them.  I have also learned to make multiple groups of friends because you can almost guarantee that one group will bail on your Friday or Saturday night plans.  I am an east coast girl to the very core.  I never knew how much I relied on solid plans and people’s word.  The fast paced life of a constantly filled schedule come so naturally to me.  I never thought it would be so hard to take it slow and just “go where the wind takes you” or in my case, where my friends take me.  It is almost as hard to learn this as it is to learn the language, maybe even harder.

I am so used to expressing myself through spoken language so I find myself in difficult situations when I want to explain something to my friends.  It makes me feel like a different person.  I feel disabled and a little bit stupid (even though I know that I am not).  Now I know what Caroline, the Belgian exchange student in my high school felt like.  I thought she was just shy because she wouldn’t talk for the first few months but after 5 months she started coming out of her shell because she was able to speak more.  I just need patient…


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