Becky and I hiding from the wind in the deceptively cold South.
The garbage strike is finally over, having been resolved this weekend just in time for the first rains of autumn, which would have otherwise turned the city’s streets into a torpid river of trash-confetti, multicolored but uniform in smell (piss). Even though I supported the strike it was a relief to come back from Granada to cleaner(er) streets and only the smell of wet pavement and dry leaves (and less piss).
But that doesn’t mean I was eager to leave Andalucía. Granada was the nexus of everything I had been looking for in this country; the weekend was spent in a kind of decadent she-revelry that has left me feeling somehow sad and pensive because it reminded me of how vibrant and romantic I thought my life would be when I was in the full throws of distracted puberty (listening to silverchair cultivates a romantic soul).
But of course traveling as a lifestyle isn’t always like that (I’m at a loss for how to phrase that without sounding like someone I wouldn’t want to hang out with); it is often lonely and frustrating to find that you’re chasing something intangible across the years and borders and never feel any closer to it, not least of all because you have no idea what it even is, the momentum it creates is the only certain thing, like knowing a black hole exists because of the light of everything that is drawn into it (poetry).
I’ve kept myself moving both to escape and to seek something I can’t necessarily define, but I can feel it as an instinct more strongly than I’ve ever felt the need to do all the other things that are collectively considered valuable to humanity (career, children, God, $$$). And that hasn’t been without sacrifice, as my semi-permanent status as a swinging bachelorette at/below the poverty line shall attest to .
And maybe that’s why Granada made me so sad (again in a poetic 15-with-feelings sort of way, which is the purest emotional state that humans can reach). Granada is everything I’ve ever felt I wanted. The flamenco dance, the guitar and wailing voices touched me in a way that is embarrassing to admit in the cold light of day. The food is so good to almost be lewd and the people were warm and inviting even though my listening comprehension of the southern accent was as flaccid as if it were Finnish. The views were pastoral, our house was a gypsy cave in the hillside, and the wine practically paid me to drink it. It reminded me of what I’ve always hoped to find, and I know that’s a big burden to put on a place I saw for all of three days, but travel is all about over-romanticizing the far away and the different. And I’ve never been one to skimp on romantic musings (I cry like once a month because I feel feelings so strongly). And if you can do all that in the company of a barrel-chested well-follicled flamenco diva of a certain age, then you are quite literally living the dream.
Got empadronado today which means I’m on the grid (so no more peeing in the street and pretending I don’t speak Spanish) ! Also as I’ve been harping to my friends for the past 3 weeks now, my laptop is broken which is just about the fucking tragedy of the century, so I’ve been effectively unable to post anything of substance because my phone’s LG keyboard is a joke.
Most people back home (and in general) keep asking me if I’m “okay”, how I’m doing “out there”, with emoticons full of concern and flaccid encouragement. That’s likely based on the cryptic and sour one – liners that keep showing up on my various social media (one line is all I have the patience for on this damn keyboard , but I’m a trooper today and I’m waiting for my hair to dry you lucky darlings ). And truth be told the last few weeks have spanned the entire emotional spectrum and really played on my tentative sanity (ever precarious in the best of times).
On the one hand I really love Madrid, it grows on me more and more everyday. It’s not that impressive of a place for a tourist; the monuments are relatively few and unless you like salted meats, the food is just aight . But the vie quotidien, the art and music, the people, the shops, cafés and bars are phenomenal.
On the other hand my homesickness has been off the charts for the past month, which is a new phenomenon for me, and is likely due to my slash and burn love life and personality clash with the Spanish as a people . And CHRIST ALMIGHTY siesta is killing me, it does not gel with the way I organize my life on the most basic level.
But I’m optimistic. The teaching thing is going swimmingly, the kids are adorable and somewhat engaged, and I’ve made a solid lady crew this side of the Atlantic (the she – wolf pack is ever – growing). And my Spanish isn’t getting any WORSE , so that’s something to cling to (I have managed to open a bank account, empadronar myself, and kick 3 separate wandering basque guys out of my room during a raging house party, all in Spanish!)
Ok, I am missing at least one full night of sleep due to said house party so I’m hitting the hay. Because this is all on my phone I have no idea how well this whole affair is going format-wise, nor have I cared to proofread, and for that I am a little bit sorry, but not that much cos this is hard and menial work
Love each and every one of you xx