I shared on Facebook and Instagram a few days ago that my first month in Spain was, while so amazing, also very uncomfortable. The days leading up to my flight to Madrid were very uncomfortable too. I was excited yes, but (as a very good friend once coined the phrase ‘pukecited’) I was entirely PUKECITED. (friend, you know who you are, and, yes, I will always think of you when I use this word.) I imagine its like the moment you have with yourself on the plane before you skydive for the first time. One old voice in your brain is like ‘oh heeelllll no, girl, you crazy? This makes no sense according to your norm… so why, why, WHY? you could die, or be paralysed with your face in a constant freeze-mode of seeing the ground come way too close.’ Then the other voice kicks in, the one you’ve started listening too a little more, and it’s like ‘girl, you know the way you’ve made choices up to this point has been fair to middling. You know you want to let your courageous self out to play. So, whatcha waiting for?’ You then jump.
So, there I was, on the plane to Madrid explaining for the hundredth time, that no, I don’t know Spanish, and no, I don’t know anyone, and no, Ive never been to Europe before, and no, I’m not sure how it’ll all work out. (before the pukecited sensation takes over, its almost a guilty pleasure to relay my story and see the unbelief and shock on peoples faces. And sometimes, just sometimes, I see the look of … ‘well, if she can, maybe I can too?’ It’s really wonderful. Anyways, I digress.) In that moment of landing, that old voice starts piping up again ‘you did not consult me about this. you have no idea what you’re doing. You’ll probably be kidnapped and never seen again.’ SHUT UP!!!! I know what I’m doing, I know it will be uncomfortable, I know I’ll probably face more freak-outs, but now I’m here and by hell or high-water, I’m going to follow through.
Haha, it’s funny now, to look back at that Danielle, and all the moments of silly doubt. You gotta laugh at yourself, ya know? Otherwise, all the memories would be a jumble of judgements and condemnation. ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that!’ So, it’s more fun this way.
Finally, after jet-lag (yuckkkkk) and a few days in Madrid with my kind airbnb host, I arrive via bus in Salamanca where I’m to attend Spanish school for a month. The cutest older Spanish woman greets me as I step off the bus with a sign for Daniella and a huge smile. Despite her invariably rapid explanations of things in Spanish and her frustration at my misunderstanding her, I liked her. She was kind behind all the huffing and puffing. But that first night was definitely a freakout night. I had school the next day, somewhere I knew not, I needed wifi and could not understand Carmen’s repeated attempts at explaining everything again in Spanish. Not a lick of English. I mean, we were quite the pair. I hadn’t studied Spanish in 17 years and she had never studied English. This 4ft something, round woman, peering up into my face nearly shouting her explanations in Spanish… I’ll always remember the numbness and terror I felt at my complete lack of control in the situation. Finally, she started saying ‘ tranquila, tranquila, tranquila’ and sent me to bed. The next morning, she tried explaining again over breakfast what was happening, but I had no clue, so she stuck me in a car on the street with whom I finally figured out was her daughter and off we went fighting traffic and then her late daughter we also picked up. After all the freaking out the night before, and then finally, FINALLY deciding worrying wasn’t going to help anything, and that trust was my only option for sanity, I was really in a space to enjoy that ride. It was hilarious. I couldn’t understand her, but she kept shouting at the traffic and then arguing with her daughter to speak to me in english in such a comical way I was stifling giggles in the back seat. ‘Madre mia!!! Tu loco!’ ah, precious memory.
As you can imagine, everything worked out beautifully. I got to the school, placed into a basic Spanish class, and off I went, happily and merrily learning away. Well, that’s what I’d like to say anyways, but there was a midpoint in the month where I’d had enough.
Everyone in the school was getting sick, my teacher was frustrated with me I wasn’t understanding the freaking difference between this verbs usage and that verbs usage, with the famine/masculine/plural/singular/adjective/noun combos….the infinitives, the this and the that I barely understood the english for let alone the explanations in Spanish! I was mad and I didn’t care who knew it. Oh, and I felt left out. The other class had everyone on the same level and I was stuck in a class by myself! In my state of mind, I was making the worst out of everything really. I didn’t care. I wanted to get sick, so I could have a valid excuse to skip class. Wish granted. I got sick. I woke up early the next morning puking and feeling miserable.
That whole day, I sulked and watched tv in bed. I know, right? Who admits this stuff… I wouldn’t have admitted anything that day, but today I can and will own the fact that the days leading up to me getting sick I was really mad and feeling sorry for myself I wasn’t learning as quickly as I had expected, I did not like my Spanish food much, I had no friends, blah blah blah. I was happy to come up with more ideas on why I couldn’t just be happy with where I was.
Have you ever gotten to the point of getting sick of yourself? The moment you realise you’re perfectly in control of your results and that you’ve made the mess you’re in? By the end of that day, I was finally sick of my attitude. I realised I had whined myself into being sick.
Here’s what I learned: I can either have fun not knowing what I think I should know, and the beautiful process of learning, or I can be miserable and choose to be a victim. I can believe that all I need and want is provided for me already, or I can believe I’m not enough. It’s pretty simple really. You create more of what you focus on. I look back and realise I’ve done this over and over and over throughout my life. What’s the good news in all this? There’s another voice I can listen to, I’ve actually slowly been tuning into, like finding the right station on the radio, or the right note on my guitar in the song of my life. How can I make my life sing in beautiful harmonies and melodies? By practice, and trust, and allowing the off-notes, and practicing the sweet notes.
What about you? Is there an area in your life, you wish was different, but you just feel hopeless to change it? I know all the logical reasons why your misery may be justifiable. Believe me, I’ve played that game proving to myself I’m worthy of my misery. Its just not true tho. You and I deserve to feel joy, and triumph every day! We are made powerful. How are you using your power? Are you choosing misery? Or joy? At the end of the day, what small step will you take today to feel the satisfaction in life you desire and deserve? It is our birthright, our inheritance, we were born to receive all the good and beneficial things available to us now. What are you waiting for? Today is YOUR day. This is YOUR life. Git it.
Love and hugs, always,
It is an honour to be on this journey. I invite you to join! If you'd like to contribute to my pursuit of living full out and inspiring of others to do the same, I welcome your gifts of prayer, good vibes, finances, and love. Shalom, Danielle