Monday, January 25, 2010
Limbo-ing the Atlantic
(View of Sevilla from the top of the Giralda)
I don’t know at what point a new place becomes home. But I do know that as I was on the train coming back to Sevilla from Madrid this past weekend I did feel as though I was coming back to something.
I just haven’t figured out if that’s home or not.
There are plenty of aspects of this culture that I don’t understand yet and there are moments when I desperately crave American culture in all it’s bizarre glory; I have to read the New York Times, Boston Globe, Michigan Daily (some days all three) to feel connected again to a culture that seems so distant.
But I’ve only been here two weeks. I have to keep reminding myself that.
Two weeks ago I was sleeping in Dexter, eating comfort foods and complaining about the snow to my parents.
Today, I live in a 3-bedroom apartment that looks out onto the Guadalquivir River. Most days, I eat something I’ve never eaten in my life (normally of the fish variety). Some days I take photos, other days I choose to take in the scenery without a lens between my eye and the world.
But every night I’ve sat at the dinner table with Lyndsay and Chencha. We tell Chencha about our day after we compliment her food and once we’ve finished eating our weight in pasta or soup we continue to talk. Some nights we sit at the table for an hour after the food has gone cold and the dishes have been put in the sink.
It’s just different.
But I still sort of feel in limbo at this point. I’ve left America and with this exit, I feel a disconnect. Because this culture that I’m a part of now seems more unintentional than anything. As if I threw a dart to a map and decided to come to this little city in Southern Spain where the mix of Arabic and Catholic culture creates something incredibly unique.
But each day seems brings more ease to this life. I’ve found a coffee shop I like and I know where the cheapest ice cream is. I figured out which doors in the house stick and how to get warm water in the shower. I know a few short cuts in the city, but have enjoyed the long walks (read: getting lost only to get un-lost) that have led to these discoveries.
But I have enjoyed living in the midst of a city so full of history and beauty.
Today we visited the Cathedral of Sevilla and I climbed the Giralda and looked out past Sevilla’s city limits. An old Asian man climbed onto the platform with me and said something that I couldn’t understand. I looked at him and he repeated himself. I smiled and he knew that I didn’t understand what he was saying, so we just stood there together for a moment and finally he said: Boo-Tea-Full, while pointing to the city.
I nodded. This, I could understand. The disconnect wasn’t there and for a moment the old man and I enjoyed the city view before I jumped down to allow someone else up.
I guess that has been my favorite part of this trip so far, when I see how similar these two parts of my life really are and how for just a second it all seems like one.