It has been merely three weeks since I’ve arrived in Granada. Sometimes, it seems like it has been one elongated second that I have been here. A short period of time where I haven’t experienced nearly a fraction of what the city has to offer. Other times, though, it seems like I’ve been here a lifetime. I’ve acclimated to the pace of life here, and I’ve learned my way (for the most part) throughout the city. But my point is, within the experience of studying abroad, the time one has in their chosen city is finite. It’s fixed, and it’s not something that we can make longer. There is a deadline, a specific date when we fly back to the U.S.. When we must pack up all of our gifts we’ve purchased, the knowledge we’ve grown into, and the moments that have been created over the 4 months in Granada. And while my four months have barely begun, an important thought to remember is that we must take our time here for what it is – and flourish in the time that has been given to us.
So, what exactly have I done in my three weeks? Have I flourished in the experience? Or have I been more absent than I should in my daily life in Spain? My answer: a mixture of both. One lesson that I’ve picked up on is that when acclimating to a new country, it’s necessary to experience the things that the country has to offer without draining oneself completely. I have seen many things, yes, but I’ve rested too.
In my three weeks here, I’ve hiked on the coast of Spain at Cabo de Gata, a national park. I’ve watched live flamenco shows in Sevilla. I’ve experienced language barriers daily – the largest being trying to explain to a woman in the salon how I wanted my eyebrows waxed. I’ve celebrated the festival of the Patron Saint. I’ve found some favorite places – like quaint libraries and bookstores, vintage thrift stores that reveals small pieces of culture and history of Spain, and I’ve even found small pieces of things that remind me at home (a TexMex restaurant called Cantina Mexicana that has become a regular Thursday night outing for my friends).
Another thing that I have appreciated thus far is finding a solid group of people to experience all that Spain has to offer. I am so enjoying finding the small places, places of value, with others who are just as interested to acclimate in language and to grow in cultural competency.
My final reflection today is this: Do we have a fixated amount of time here? Yes. Is it best to be aware of that time? Indeed. Because with that time, we are able to see our progress and growth throughout the four months. And as I end on thinking about how time is indeed precious, I am surely glad that my time here has barely begun.