Adapting to More Than Just a Foreign Tongue

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Found this inside an abandoned military fort while exploring the city on one of my [many] days off. 

Things are finally moving in, let’s say, a semi-normal direction by now. It’s been two months since I arrived at the train station in Cádiz, Spain. There were, and still are, quite a bit of hoops to jump through to really get yourself situated in Spanish city. One word really sums up the majority of these nonsensical hoops; paperwork. If you ever need a good laugh and an intense vocabulary lesson, head on over to probably any Spanish Foreigners Office (Oficina de extranjeros). Grab a seat in line, because I can guarantee you there will be one, and grab some popcorn because everyone that walks out of there exits with their mother tongue in full force cursing and shaking their head at the lovely process that is the Spanish Bureaucracy. I consider myself lucky, as I have only been there three times, cruelly misinformed twice and told to come back all three times! Yes, I said lucky. I will be going back for the fourth time this week to obtain a piece of paper that says I can travel outside of Spain and be let back in because it apparently takes 40 days for the actual plastic card to print and arrive at the office. Which brings me to my exciting news: I’m going to Amsterdam in a few weeks! A teaser blog to follow at a later date.

So to recap, the “welcoming phase” went a little something like this:

  • Lived in hostel, meeting and sleeping among new travelers everyday.
  • Apartment hunting; setting up a meeting with an online contact whom was not actually a landlord, but instead a head hunter looking for an au pair for one of the wealthiest men in the entire Spanish province of Andalusia… the most insane day I probably will have here, as well as the most insane unexpected interview I will have ever experienced. You’ll have to bribe me to write out that story. Another day.
  • Found apartment, with velvet couch and zebra carpeting and all.
  • Conquered the bus system.
  • Started my contracted job.
  • Acquired students for private lessons.
  • Bought a bad-ass leather jacket, and my first tube of red lipstick.
  • Learned how to pronounce McDonalds in Spanish. That was a doozy, just trust me on that one.
  • Went on my first excursion out of Cádiz. At the same time, sampling online Spanish carpooling.
  • Found a friendship in my German roommate.
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving with fellow Americans; with chicken instead of turkey due to sky-high prices.
  • Refined my Spanish grocery shopping skill set.
  • Joined a gym the size of a gas station.
  • Quit said gym for lack of euros and sanitation.
  • Mastered the art of cooking lentils.
  • Used up all my American nonperishable goods. Private message me for my address if you’re willing to send me JIF. Crunchy only please.
  • Will rejoin gym after my travels and increase in waistline.

All in all, this move is nothing but a roller coaster but one that was expected. There are a few culture shocks that I had forgotten about the last time I lived in Spain. But as long as I’m learning, I suppose it is always for the best and I will take home unforgettable and priceless experiences to slowly build for my future.

10 Signs You’ve Gone Native in Spain

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Cádiz

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