by Erin Elaine
I am excited and nervous at the same time. I feel ready and yet completely unprepared. This feels like the adventure I’ve been waiting for forever, and yet it doesn’t feel quite real yet. I want to be in Spain now, but I am grateful to be able to enjoy this beautiful Washington summer. I am looking forward to meeting new friends, yet sad to be leaving family and friends. But most of all, I am happy.
I generally try to be open-minded and go with the flow, and yet I wonder how my American upbringing will affect me there. Americans truly do live in a bubble. Our society tells us this is the greatest country ever, and no other country can live up to America, so why bother exploring the rest of the world? The grass is never ever greener on the other side, right? All that free healthcare and lack of factory farms and abundance of organic food and high-speed rail must make those silly Europeans so miserable, right? I was telling my Dad about Skype and he responded with a condescending scoff, “They won’t have Skype in Spain!” As if the U.S. is the only country with access to technology and the rest of the world is a barren wasteland. I was watching House Hunters International (a rare thing as I don’t have cable) and a woman was actually considering not buying a house in France because the bathrooms were French style, with a separate door for the toilet. She also wanted a house in an old, quaint part of the city, but she wanted an attached garage. I mean seriously? You expect a 200-year-old building to have a garage? Americans are so self-centered and ignorant. When I go to Spain my goal is to break away from that as much as possible. It’s not just that I don’t want to be seen as a tourist. It’s a lot bigger than that. It’s the desire to let go of these stupid American ideas and habits that hold me back. The more I learn about the world the less I like American culture. And living here it’s impossible to escape, so I’m excited to live somewhere I can leave all this behind. I want to embrace all that Spain has to offer – siesta, jamón, flamenco, old architecture, vino, todo.