Friday, July 1, 2016

O Canada

Today is Canada's 149th birthday, but instead of celebrating, I'm actually going through reverse culture shock. It's similar to what I went through when I arrived in Villacarrillo, except the situations are different. Whereas here I feel very comfortable being Asian, because I'm no different from the majority, I've become so used to Spanish ways of living that Canada is weirding me out right now.
Fought sadness on plane to Canada by drinking Spanish wine, and watching Zoolander Spanish.

Reverse culture shock makes me feel like this.
 Take the weather, for instance. 16 - 20 degrees Celsius. I AM COLD, because in Jaén right now it's between 35 - 45. At last week's Greek festival, my friends ran towards the shade while I kept walking amongst the stands, soaking up the sun. When we ducked into air conditioned bars, I was miserable.

Speaking of bars....going out to eat or drink is SO EXPENSIVE here. No free tapas. I begged the waiter for a little bowl of nuts and he didn't know what to make of my request.

The HUGE breakfast menus are so different from Jaén's 'Tostada y café'

I had an interesting experience while in my hotel near the Barajas airport in Madrid. When I arrived in September 2013, I never left my hotel to eat. I was too nervous to go out and speak in Spanish. This time, I searched for a bar crowded with people (a sure sign that you'll eat well). I was confidently able to order my 'pincho' and tinto con casera, ask questions about the food, and chat with the bartender. Two days in a row. It amazes me how much I've grown in the past three years.

Spicy Hot Pot. I gladly burped all the way home.
Now I'm home, where the selection is unbelievable....I have eaten Asian food EVERY DAY and I'm happy to report that I'm getting fat. :)  When I went to the local market to buy cereal, it took me like FIVE hours, there were so many brands to choose from. Expensive, too.
This mansion is NORMAL where I live. My god.
I have two massive pet peeves in terms of public transportation. 1) There are soooooo many mentally insane or drug-addicted people in my city. 2) I absolutely hate being able to understand people's idle chitchat. Everyday conversations seem so inane right now. At least when it was in Spanish, it was an opportunity to practice. But here at home I crave silence.

To be honest, I've been going through periods of sadness and fear, because I really miss the good times in Jaén. I'll be taking advantage as much as I can in seeing my friends, catching up, and celebrating what is good about Canada.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


My blog posting will be erratic for the next few weeks. It's that time of year again where auxiliaries are saying goodbye to friends, tears are shed, and people move on with their lives. Some will stay because they've fallen in love with small-town Jaén. Some have received new placements in bigger cities. Some will go home.
  The common denominator is that we came together and shared our tears, fears, and laughs. We created memories that we will look back upon fondly. Every experience we've had, good or bad, can't actually be classified as good or bad - they're just life experiences.
  I'll be heading to Canada soon, to say hello to friends and family, as it's been a long time. I've got a month to catch up with everyone. Once I've had a good rest, I'll post on here again and let readers know what's up.