Lately, I’ve been feeling pretty down in the dumps. I know what you’re thinking, “But Aimee, you’re in Spain!! Don’t be sad! You need to live it up while you’re there because before you know it, you’ll be back in the states and missing it there. So enjoy it while you can before it’s all over!” I know. And I’m doing my best. But this week, I caught a severe case of what could be a possibly deadly disease known as homesickness. I found myself missing home now more than ever and all I wanted was to go home.
To go back to where everybody speaks English and I don’t have to work really hard to understand what is being said around me, and I don’t have to translate what’s being said and what I want to say, and then work up the courage to actually say it without fear that I’m not saying something right. I know I mentioned how I’ve been working to overcome this in a previous post, but it’s something I struggle with daily. Maybe that is why I am so tired all of the time. From strenuously trying to communicate such simple ideas, and fighting the fear of being wrong… Anybody who knows me well, knows that I am a perfectionist, and the fact that I cannot speak perfect Spanish bothers the living daylights out of me. But I’m working on accepting that I am not perfect, my Spanish is not perfect, and it probably never will be. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me just the same.
To go back to the familiar, to the things that I know. Like my little small town in Iowa where I can drive my car aimlessly and sing at the top of my lungs to songs I’ve listened to a thousand times. I don’t like not knowing things, and I don’t like when I don’t understand. I get frustrated, and usually the frustration leads to tears. I would love to go back to being on the same time schedule as my friends and family. So that I can talk to them whenever I want instead of just a short time-frame during the day, since I’m seven hours ahead.
School has always been something that has come pretty easily for me. Sure, I’ve had a couple of classes or subjects that I didn’t understand well, but I survived. I made it through. And that is what I keep telling myself with my current class. It is a creative writing class, which you would think would be relatively easy for me since I’ve been writing these blog posts and because I am going to school for graphic design…I should be good at being creative. WRONG.
Most of this class is based around poetry and the concepts are mostly all abstract. I am a very visual person. I need to be able to see something to understand. I am also a very literal person who likes things based on facts and real life instead of concepts and hypotheses and “what-ifs”. (What-ifs drive me nuts. I’ve written about those also. Check that post out if you haven’t read it already.)
Today, we talked about being “beyond the soul” and what it feels like to lose yourself, the sensation that your soul and body are disconnected. (See? Like what the heck does that even mean???) We read four different poems based around this idea of your soul and body being disconnected or trying to make abstract ideas concrete. We were then assigned to write a poem (yay.) and take an abstract word and make it come to life with concrete images, words, and things, focusing on vivid description. (Wow. I’m getting confused just trying to explain this…)
Anyway, this morning I had been thinking about writing a post about the simple things in life that make me happy, since I have been feeling down in the dumps lately, to try and lift my spirits. When assigned this poem, my professor gave ideas of different “abstract” things we could write about, and most of them were feelings (one of the poems we read today was entitled “Kindness” and we were encouraged to use that as an example). So, I chose happiness. Now, I am not a poet in any way, shape, or form…(or maybe I am and I just don’t know it? Lol sorry, bad joke.) But here it is.
Happiness can come in many ways, shapes, or forms.
Some of them can be simple,
Like receiving emails from family full of
Kind words and well wishes
That just scream “I MISS YOU” but also
Say “I’m so glad you’re having such a good time.”
Small successes such as not crying after class
And finally mustering up the confidence
To hold an actual conversation with
Your host family in complete Spanish.
Or even when your host-grandmother gives
You just the slightest bit of attention,
Asking question after question in attempt
To get to know you, reminding you
Of your grandmothers back home.
Hearing her ask one of your little host-sisters
How to say your name, and hearing her
Repeat it time after time in attempt to get it right,
So that she can call you by name,
And not just “chica” or “la chica americana”.
Watching her care for her family, clean the house,
Room by room, cook them more than enough food,
And make sure nobody leaves hungry.
Even her lightly tapping you on the bottom
In order to get your attention,
Just as your own grandmother would.
Or even when one of your little host-sisters
Says the simplest “Feliz día de San Valentín, Aimee”
To you on Valentine’s Day, just so you know
That somebody cares about you, when you feel
Like you are a million miles away from
The ones that you love.
Happiness is meeting somebody from your home state
while you are in a foreign country,
Or spending the afternoon in a local café,
Just being and allowing your mind to roam,
While the tornado that is life continues for everyone else
Just outside the front door.
It is talking to your favorite barista,
In your favorite local coffee shop,
Practicing your Spanish on him in hopes to one day
Master a conversation without having to ask
“How do you say ___?”, but also
Knowing that he is patient with you and
There is no pressure to be perfect. He is more than
Happy to help. Someday you will figure it out.
Happiness is so much more than smiling.
It is being and feeling that everything is awesome
Or at least that everything is going to be okay.
Happiness is learning and growing,
And allowing yourself to be
Wander-fully lost, but in the best way,
And embracing it for what it is,
Rather than for what you’re not.
I have no idea if that would even be considered a poem…to me poems are supposed to rhyme…and that surely does not. But oh well, I tried!
It’s the simplest things in life that make my heart beat a little faster and I think to myself, “Wow. I’m so happy right now.” I tried to incorporate all of the things I was going to write about anyway, into this poem about the idea of happiness..or at least what happiness is to me. It’s the simple things in life that mean the most to me, and I’m going to try to focus on those instead of on the negatives. Maybe someday I will grasp the idea of abstract concepts and be able to pick apart poems to discover the true meanings..but for now, I will struggle to understand and try to be patient with myself.
I’ve been thinking a lot about God and His unconditional love. And how He made me in His image and that I am perfect to Him. He sees me as completely perfect, despite all of my sins, failures, and impurities. All throughout my life, I have been learning how to show others God’s unconditional love. But why can’t I seem to show myself the same kind of love? He sees me as His perfect daughter, so why can’t I? I know that I am going to fail and I am going to fall short of perfection, because nobody is perfect except for Jesus. And it is only because Jesus lived that I can continue to fail over and over and still be loved just the same by God.
I told myself before coming to Spain that I was going to find myself while I am here..and I am. Or at least I have been. I’ve learned more about myself in the last month than I have in my 21 years of life. But I have more work to do, and this is just a part of it. So here’s to finding myself, being patient with myself when I don’t understand, showing myself God’s unconditional love, and to trying to understand poetry.