18 August 2009

Goodbye for now, Europe

I don't know what I'm doing wrong; maybe I've been here too long. The songs on the radio sound the same; everybody just looks the same. But then last night was so much fun, and now your sheets are dirty. The streets are dirty too, but you never look back over what you've done. Remember when you were young, you'd lose yourself?
-Razorlight, In the Morning

This is looking like my last post from Europe. Anything I say to try and mark the occasion will either sound anti-climatic or way over the top. So I'm just going to play it cool.
I realized last night that I've spent half of the last year in Europe. I was here for three months and three weeks last fall, and I'm getting ready to end a two month, two and a half week stint right now. That adds up to over six months (right?), and it seems like a really big deal to me.
I'm also realizing how lucky I've been. This is my third stay in Madrid, while JaNae hasn't been back since we left in December.
I'm ending the summer in a much better place than I started it (health excluded). Although I spent eight weeks teaching, I learned so much. I think maybe I say this too often, but I met some really incredible people who have already changed me. I did some silly things, and I did a few stupid things, but I've come out of it all right and I'll soon be home.
My Italian, unfortunately, is not quite at the conversational level. On my application to teach for the summer I wrote that I spoke it at a 2/10 level, which was a lie, because I actually spoke none. Now, however, I understand roughly 70% of the Italian that I overhear, and I can probably speak at a 3 or 4/10 level. Even though I didn't learn that much, I soaked up enough for it to screw up my Spanish. They're just so similar that it's easy to speak one and think you're speaking the other. While travelling by bus last weekend, for example, a little girl came up to me and spoke to me in Italian, and without hesitation, I answered her in Spanish. She ran back to her mother and said, "She's Spanish! She's Spanish!" and that was when I realized that I'd used the wrong language. But when I go into shops here, words like 'anche' and 'ma' come into my head before 'tambien' and 'pero.' Best part is, I start Elementary French in about two weeks, so I'll be adding a third Romance language to my repertoire (fourth if you count the super basic Latin I know).
I spent most of yesterday in bed, trying to feel better, and then went out to see the city a bit in the evening. This morning, I got up earlier, realizing that everyone else in my room had checked out by 9 am. I had this elaborate plan in my head to visit Parque del Oeste and the testament to my love for Kelsey that I'd carved on a tree there, then take a couple of buses up through the old neighborhood to the Prado, and then come back to the hostel to chill out all afternoon. As it turned out, the line to get into the Prado was ridiculous, so I just skipped it (I may try again later, though).
It's probably about that time. I know that there are things, stories, and facts that I've meant to mention and have forgotten, but they're just not coming to me now, and perhaps I'll remember them later.
I leave tomorrow morning at 10:35 am and should be in Kansas City around 10 pm Central time (that's 5 am Madrid, Nice, and Italy time).

That is all.

Over and in
Last call for sin
While everyone's lost, the battle is won
With all these things that I've done.

-The Killers, All These Things That I've Done

No comments: