Even though I am leaving on a bit of a bitter note, I can't even pretend for a second that I didn't learn anything about myself or have some great experiences. So, I need to talk about some things I learned. If you have a problem with anything I post, go read the section on ethnocentrism in my first post.
A big thing I learned was how little language has to do with communication. Language has nothing to do with communication. Yes, it's easier to express certain things, like sarcasm and feeling, in your own language, through words, but it's not important. Even to this bookworm, who is always romanced by poetic sentences and dreams. People who I haven't been able to converse with have left an impact on me. Like the girl at Starbucks that always says "Que tal, Brittany?" and "Gracias, guapa!" We haven't said much else to each other, but she has been a friend. And then there is the lady who gave me a bandaid on the metro. That was sweet. And, of course, there are always the sleazy men who yell "Hola guapa" while I am walking down Gran Via. With no makeup. And sweatpants. Ah Spain.
Another thing I learned was how important it is to be comfortable in your own skin. Americans aren't. Americans place too much emphasis on body and what you look like and fitting in, Although I have never been one for fashion and march by the beat of my own drum (I have style, but it's my style. Not Vogue style), I feel the pressures of this. Here, it is like that with clothing. I mean, I have to dress nice to go to the grocery store or else I will get weird looks (and hola guapa'd at). But certain things make me realize that it's important to be comfortable and, if you are, no one cares. I'm not so worried about my body type here. I'm not worried about my tattoos showing or that my arms aren't as toned as I would like them. I simply am myself.
The most important thing I learned was to feel without care; to let myself be emotional. I've always been an emotional person, though I have always been good at hiding those emotions and expressing them in my poetry. But, really, if that episode from Glee is going to make you cry, then go ahead and cry. Tell the people you care about that you care about them or it will blow up in your face. Tell your friends that you miss them. Be open about feelings. This is something I am still working on, but it is a lesson I have learned.
I wish jobs would be handed to me. I wish someone would come up to me and say "You are Brittany. You lived in Spain for a year. You used to be president of Sigma Tau Delta. You are a literature BAMF who can spin references like crazy. You can quote more Broadway songs than Idina Menzel. You make amazing margaritas. Here's a job for you." But it hasn't happened yet and there is a 97% chance that it won't (yes, I am that optimistic).
All I know for sure is I don't want to go back to my hometown. I want to go to Oregon. Is that weird? I guess so. When I was a kid, I would beg my parents to move somewhere far away (they didn't...). As much as I love going home, I cannot stay there. I can already envision myself getting comfortable and settling down in Northern California and that is the most terrifying thing in the world.
Right now, I am pushing for Ashland, which is also known as the land of almost no jobs unless you are an aspiring-actor-actress who is waitressing in your free time. Ya. It's weird, I know. Once upon a time, Chico was the place I walked into and felt like I belonged. Although Chico still feels that way from time to time, I experienced the same thing when I went to Ashland. I belong there. I love the beauty.
Roseville and Chico don't hold much for me right now, I'm sorry to say. They scare me more than anything. And I just spent a year in a country where I don't speak the language.