So I stayed with my old roommate in Madrid for a night and then the next day we took the Renfe train to Murcia. Gorgeous train ride. Seriously renfe in the way to go. I kept thinking, why aren’t planes this comfortable. The seats were easy to sit in and relax, in fact I fell asleep for about 2 of the 4 hour ride and drooled on myself in multiple spots. The scenery was so beautiful and I felt so relaxed that I honestly didn’t care. A couple dime-sized puddles seemed a fair price to pay for peace, quiet and comfort. The gentle wur-noise of the train tracks outside the large windows soothed my eyelids and inside we quietly cruised through the rolling countryside. The sky was clear with the exception of a few clouds and the landscape was breathtaking. The farms, grasslands and hills stretched on as far as you could see, it looked like something out of a movie. I just sat there at the window with my mouth agape for the majority of my coherent ride. Of course taking my phone out multiple times to take pictures of what I could capture as we whirred by. It was too beautiful not to document.
Murcia was great, it seems to be a rather well-off city in terms of prosperity. However, it may have a greater span than I think because the area near the bus station is quite poor. I can’t claim to be 100% sure what a “barrio” is exactly but if I were to think of one, that neighborhood near the bus station is what would come to mind. While Madrid reminded me of a dirtier New York (also I may not have been a fan because a- I was only there for a day and b- the weather sucked, it was pretty gloomy, and frankly being from so cal I’m a big fan of the sun. What can I say SoCal ruined me.) Murcia felt like a little big city, perfectly sized, easy to get around and walk pretty much wherever. It takes about 45 minutes by foot to get across town. Whereas the town I live in now takes about 15 minutes to walk through it’s entirety, aaand that’s another story I’ll get into in a minute. So I spent about a day and a half in Murcia and I really enjoyed it. The buildings are old and beautiful, and it has a cathedral that seems so quintessential to European adventure. It’s enormous, intimidating and hundreds of years old. You stand there tiny as a mouse, look up, and go, WOW. The doors to it alone are about 20 feet tall, and the door knockers are clearly put there for decoration because they’re placed about 2 humans high. If you wanted to knock on the door you’d have to give someone a piggy back ride and use a broom to let anyone inside know you’re there.
So yesterday I left Murcia, former roomie and I packed all our stuff into a taxi, I going to the bus stop to catch the bus to Garrucha, about 2 1/2 miles away, and she taking it to her new piso. It was pretty sad because we’d been together this whole time, and while it’s been tough trying to speak what little Spanish we know, we’ve had each other, which has been an enormous comfort. So this was the parting of ways and the depletion of the last of our comfort zones. We hugged and said tearful goodbyes outside the cab, despite the fact that we know we will visit each other soon. I mean, we’re in a foreign country and we don’t know the language. It’s a little scary, and even more so when you’re by yourself.
The bus ride to Garrucha is when everything got real. As I was sitting there in the seat behind the bus driver looking out into the desolate little towns and countryside thinking, whaaat did I get myself into. I’m 28 years old and you’d think I could handle shit. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone, but I guess I didn’t really anticipate stepping outside out of my comfort zone entailed moving to a little spanish town the size of a football field. THANK GOD my new roommate in Garrucha met me at the bus stop. Really, Idk what I’d have done had he not met me here. I’ve recently heard that Almeria, the sub-region where I am living in, is referred to as the “armpit” of Spain. (Haha, I know right?) Just what you want when you decide to move to another country. I remember reading an interview with Reese Witherspoon right after she did Walk The Line. She said that she tries to chose jobs that scare her, because she knows if they scare her it’ll be good for her, worth it, or something along those lines. And that resonated with me. We don’t always chose the path that scares us. In fact, most of the time we chose the path that yields the least resistance. And for good reason. It’s survival, and I definitely want to survive. Anyways, good old Reese’s words have always resonated with me since. Luckily, out of all Almeria, Garrucha, where I am, is probably the most beautiful out of it all. So I’m in the best part of the armpit, so to speak haha. And not to mention, being here is a huge wake up call. If I thought I lived a blessed life in Cali before I left, I know I’m enormously fortunate now. I had no idea before. I realize now how hard it would be to grow up living in a small town, and one not even within the United States. In comparison I have been given so much opportunity. Opportunities that I haven’t always taken advantage of either. Things that I wish now I would have. I appreciate my education but I sure as hell appreciate it much more now. Makes me want to go home and soak in all the knowledge I can. Lucky for me I can gain a lot just by living here. Spain is amazing and it’s a fantastic way of life from what I’ve seen so far, relaxed and friendly are words that come to mind. America is fast-paced and determined, aggressive and competitive, in comparison to Spain. I’d like one day to create a life for myself in the states that is some sort of combination of the two. It’s extremely humbling being here. Nobody really cares to know the new Americans in town, minus a few who’ve reached out to me via Facebook who work at my school. At home I have lots of friends and a family who loves me and appreciates me, but here I am nobody special. It will definitely take a lot of time and patience to feel like this place is a “home” and I’m not sure I’ll ever get to a point where I’ll call it that. I genuinely hope one day I’ll be able to. I’m going to need a lot of weekend trips to keep my sanity, this will be an enormous test of mental strength. I know I wanted to be placed outside my comfort zone, but damn, this is like not even in the same universe as my comfort zone. Haha I mean it is kind of funny when you think about it. I wanted this, and now I have it for 9 flipping months. So, in conclusion, be really freaking careful what you wish for, because you just might get it at then some.