Of course it has been great to know I'm getting something I've dreamed of for so long, but I'd be lying if I over-romanticized all of this for you. These days have been HARD. It has taken immense perseverance and really hasn't been exactly what I expected. Now that I have rested and taken time to breathe a little, I feel much better. I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back person (at lease relative to Americans), but I can't tell you how many times a day a Spaniard tells me "Cálmate," "No te preocupes," "tranquila" (be calm, don't worry, be tranquil). As much as I hate running errands in the states to big chain stores, I would give good money right now to get to drive my own car and go to a Target. We have missed many buses, thrown money down the drain trying to make up for these mistakes, etc. There are little things like in the grocery store, I didn't know you have to weigh your produce and put your own sticker on it--which meant I held up the whole line while the lady walked me over to show me how to do it. Francis Mayes always seems to have to the words I want to say: "Splendid to arrive alone in a foreign country and feel the assault of difference. Here they are all along, busy with living; they don't talk or look like me. The rhythm of their day is entirely different; I am foreign. " Lots of thoughts on "homesickness" (rather, "familiar-sickness" as a friend put it) coming soon. I am intrigued by this topic and how every culture has a special word for it.
As most of you know, this past July I had blood clots in my lungs and found out I have a blood syndrome that makes my blood too sticky. Therefore I have to be on anticoagulant medicine my whole life. It is tricky to get your INR level right with the medicine. It was fine when I left the states but about two weeks into my time here I felt really weird for a day or two last weekend. I went to the doctor last Monday and my blood level was extremely high. It felt like my veins were going to explode. This meant that I walked away from the doctor, found a park bench and cried my eyes out. As if people don't stare at us enough, an obviously American girl, boohooing on a bench definitely meant I looked weird. It has been a bit weighty be in a new country with a new medical issue to tend to, but I'm feeling better for the moment and just trying to stay warm and avoid pneumonia again. Like the Spaniards keep telling me, "Poco a poco"--little by little. Day by day.