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.
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.”