I feel like I’ve been in a constant state of waiting since January. Fellow auxiliares, I feel you – no matter which program you’re teaching with in Spain, you’ve probably felt like ripping your hair out at least once. That’s why I’ve selected the title for this post (Calm down, dude for you non-Spanish speakers out there).
While Spanish bureaucracy means that it takes FOREVER to get anything done, it’s also great preparation for adopting the no pasa nada attitude I’ll need for when I actually get to Spain. As an alternative to stressing out about the impending move, I’ve made some goals for this summer:
1. Perfect that tortilla flip
If you don’t know by now, tortilla de patata, which is a type of Spanish omelette more akin to a frittata than Mexican food of the same name. It basically has its own religious following in Spain (and instagram account). For some reason it’s notoriously difficult to make a decent tortilla without burning the bottom (unless that’s just me or my stove?). Hopefully practice makes perfect and I can earn mad respect from new friends (or the abuelas of said new friends).
2. Stock up on spicy food
Everyone seems to think I ate lots of Mexican food in Spain. While there are many things I love about Spanish cuisine, the lack of spicy options is not one of them. So, if you’re like me and put tabasco sauce on everything under the sun, then get your fill while you’re here. And buy some extras to smuggle over in your checked bag while you’re at it – the aforementioned tortilla with a dash of Frank’s Red Hot will be even more delicious!
3. Practice my Spanish
I might have a degree in Spanish and be able to write (semi) scholarly, lengthy papers about literature, art, and social issues en español, but when it comes to apartments, cell phones, banking, or anything else that comes with being a functioning adult I’ve got the vocabulary of a 3 year old. Oh and talking on the phone in Spanish…that’s a big fear that I’ve got to learn to get over if I ever want to find a place to live.
4. Learn how to take the heat
As a New Englander, I break out the shorts and t-shirts when the thermometer hits 50 degrees. When I got to Spain I did the same thing…and everyone stared at me. I made a mental note not to do that again. Something I noticed is that Spaniards generally dress for the season, so even if it’s 80 degrees in the winter, abrígate (bundle up)! I could not understand how all the grandmas in their fur coats did it as a stood there about to sweat through my flimsy rain jacket.
To reiterate my previous point, if there’s one thing my short stint in Spain and dealings with the Spanish government have taught me, it’s that I need to kick my type A Bostonian personality to the curb and learn to go with the flow. I’ve caused myself a lot of unnecessary stress worrying about things that I have absolutely no control over only to find that everything works out in the end. The good news is that I’ve already made some progress here since I’m already pretty good at showing up late!