Reality Check

So I’m sitting here trying to weigh my time. Do I go running first, not knowing when we’re going to eat lunch, come back shower and go to my meeting and THEN take my siesta (the absolute best part of our American Spanish existence), or do I futz around until lunch, go to my meeting, go running, shower and THEN siesta? This is a really tough life, but I think I can get used to it.

I have a feeling things will change next week once school has actually started and the reality that this is an academic program sets in. But for now, it’s nice. Last night, I was at a café drinking a beer and putzing around on the internet in a pretty lively Spanish café (though I was in a secluded room) until about one in the morning (an early night compared to the one before it). This weekend, I’m going to Madrid on Friday with the school and with one other chica on Saturday. I figure outside of studying, I’ll be able to fit in a flight to Paris and then another to Rome before the month is over. Hehe… yeah. Right.

It’s funny listening to some of the other kids talk. I had a lengthy conversation with a chick today from the program, and as I listened to her go on and on about the difficulties of graduating in five years (while standing on a street in Spain, mind you), I was reminded that these kids have no idea what real life is like. To them, being able to hang out all night and take a siesta is great, but they have no idea what it means to have to work 40 and sometimes more hours in a week. Coming from having worked almost half of my life now, I’m looking at this situation from a completely different perspective. I get to sleep for hours in the middle of the day. I can walk around the streets of Spain and don’t have to worry about paying bills (well, I am just CHOOSING not to worry). I can turn on the lights and not think about when the electric is due. For the first time in a LONG time, I’m not stressed about life. And they have no idea what that means…

Today we got a lengthy lecture about drinkin… and it’s funny, most of the things we were being warned not to do, the kids in the program had almost already accomplished. And we’ve only been here for four days. They’ve managed to test almost every Spanish beer, but has their Spanish improved? Nope.

For once, I’m glad I’m not young anymore. I can see this experience for what it really is. A blessing. When I return to the states, and I’m busting my ass with research and finishing my degrees and working, I hope I can remember these days when I was laying in this tiny twin bed, with the veranda door open feeling the cool breeze, dozing during a Spanish afternoon. I hope I don’t forget how easy I had it. I hope I don’t confuse this existence with the real world.


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