Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cotton headed ninny muggins...

I love a pop-culture comparison just as much as the next person. So, in an effort to explain to you all what this experience has been, I will put it in terms I hope you can all appreciate.

I hope you’ve seen the Christmas blockbuster Elf.

I borrowed the synopsis of Elf from rottentomatoes.com and have inserted the changes I deem appropriate.

One Christmas Eve , On May 22, a long time ago, a small baby at a orphanage hospital was accidentally carried back to Santa’s workshop The Jennings’ home in the North Pole (East Central Minnesota, close enough). Though she was quickly taken under the wing of a surrogate father and mother and raised to be an elf American, it becomes clear that Buddy Chantel will never truly fit into the elf American world. What she needs is to find his real family explore Europe, specifically Andalucia. This holiday season winter semester, Buddy Chantel decides to find her true place in the world and sets off for New York City Seville, Spain to track down her roots hone her Spanish speaking skills, immerse herself in another culture and woo a Spanish boyfriend (only slightly kidding about that last one.) Although Buddy Chantel experiences a world she’s never knew existed only read about, she quickly learns that life in the big city is not all ice skating flamenco dancing and sugarplums sangria. Chantel seeks out her his real father , host mother, Chencha, a workaholic publisher of children’s an eccentric 65-year old woman that loves to wear purple and make dirty jokes at the dinner table.

Okay, so from there things change a bit, considering I don’t save Christmas, or at least, I haven’t done so yet.

But I really did kind of feel like Buddy the Elf when I got here. I was just sort of thrown into this environment where everything was completely new and different. And while I’m not wearing green spandex and a pointy hat, I still stick out.

But what has been even scarier than how strange and out of place I felt nearly two and a half months ago, is how comfortable I feel today.

Life here is finally normal. I’m used to my new bedroom and the garlic toast in the mornings. Listening to lecture and taking notes in Spanish is nothing new. And finally, I can handle when people stare at me and I even have a few PG-13 comebacks for when I’m feeling really courageous.

In fact, some of my American habits are starting to wear off. For example, I really have to think about the difference between they’re, their and there. And the other day I spent ten minutes trying to spell the word across, because I was too stubborn to consult a dictionary.

They say it takes six weeks for something to become a habit. Well, life here is both habitual and amazing. Because no matter how normal life here is for me, I still have those, “Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore” moments.

And in those moments I think how crazy it is that I really
do live here. But I’ve taken everything in stride and even in those rare moments when I’ve wanted to pack my bags and head to the airport or find a row boat and take matters into my own hands, I smile because this is a tremendous experience and it’s all for the better that life isn’t always ice skating and sugar plums.

As Buddy would say, in those moments I smile and carry on because, “I just like to smile. Smiling is my favorite.”

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