I will admit that the first few days in Spain, I felt a bit jaded. I found myself going through the motions and thinking, "Really? Everyone is going to kiss me right when I meet them? I don't know them like that!" But after thinking about it for the past few days, I think it's beautiful.
Today, I slept in and woke up to the sound of rainfall. Córdoba has set new rain records since I've been here, and so far, Spain in general has been anything but sunny to me. It's been cold and wet and gray, and honestly, it does not make for the best remedy for homesickness; if anything, it makes it worse. So as I laid in bed listening to rain beat against my window, I found myself burrowing into an increasingly dark place in my mind. Why am I here? Why did I do this? I'm scared, and I did this to myself. What have I done? I will never be able to survive this. And as I began having these thoughts more and more rapidly, I started to cry. The tears weren't tears of misery or anguish though; they were tears of fear. Absolute. Dread. But what is it that I'm dreading? Am I afraid of waking up every morning in a place where I can only speak Spanish? No, I'm doing just fine with that. Am I afraid of going to classes and finding them too difficult? No, I can do my schoolwork and do it well. Am I afraid of not making friends? No, I already have made wonderful friends who have proven that even through these sad and lonely times, they will comfort me as best they can. Then what is it?
I'm just afraid of change. Afraid that if I get comfortable here, I will change. Afraid that when I leave, I will again change. Afraid that everything I have left behind for now will change.
But what can I do? All I can do is live, wait, and accept the change.
So, I'm going to change my outlook on this right here, right now. I am going to give myself the cultural education I need. I'm not going to be afraid. I am going to Portugal and Italy as of now, and I will travel more as the weeks go on. I will party in the plaza and go to Carnaval. I will dress up in a costume and do my hair and make-up and be young and 20 in Spain. I will speak Spanish without worrying that I sound stupid. And I will thrive here just as I thrive at home, surrounded and supported by family and friends.
Oh and one last thing, I will kiss everybody on the cheek twice without feeling weird about it because here, it's only natural.