Monday, October 20, 2014

So You Had a Bad Day

I now realize that I have mad a horrible grave mistake in this blog. I have created a world where you all believe that my life is perfect! In this alternate universe I'm no longer a blogger, I'm no longer a human, I'm some fairytale super girl. Though I see most of the world with bright lights and positivity I can't let you believe it's all perfect all the time. Everything I have said up to this point has been 100% true but I haven't shared the moments of stress that even for an overly up-beat smiley face like me, happen. Welcome to the dark side of Mrs.Positivity *Mwuah ha ha* ... Ok not really that sinister!

A little Sunday morning run while the city sleeps around me.

Lost, Lost

Yes, I have been lost twice in this 1st month (but 2 times for 30 something days isn't too bad). My first time was a pretty big stress bomb. It was my first week of school and thinking I was close to home (when actually on the other side of the city) I decided I'd walk back.

When breakfast is too perfect not to photograph.
Follow the mountains, I live by mountains right? Well little did I know that Pamplona is kind of surrounded by mountains so that plan took me up down and all around a city that I didn't know as well as I thought I did. It's ok just ask for help. But, I can do this I'm Tanika the wonder exchange student and I can find my way home! My pride kept me from asking and I was once again following a rotating mountain.

Here is where my words of positivity fell a little short. I was lost for the first time, with too much of an ego to ask for help and the beautiful Spanish sun that I'd come to love was now burning through my button up and my positivity. I stopped for a moment and let the weight of my backpack fall from my shoulders. Like a numbnuts I carried all my books home (5) unsure of which locker was mine. What the hell am I doing. I'm not a super hero, I'm not a Spaniard, I'm not "The Great Tanika". I'm just me. And my 15 minutes of Failure stopped there.

"Just me" is more than enough! I've been moving and learning and growing all my life and one new city is not going to change that. I closed my eyes, shed my button up (yes I did feel tempted to tie it around my forehead like Rambo) and let the sun become beautiful again. When I opened my eyes I looked around. I recognized a bus station and an odd sculpture that we had passed before. I didn't know exactly where I was but I knew I had the right idea.

After a few wrong turns I saw the super market we shop at, and the church we live near. There weren't many people around so yes I did a celebratory dance. Skipping all the way to my front door I pulled out my-- keys? Where are my keys. Greaaattt.

Even as fall begins, the green goes on and on.

Doors, Locks and a Place for Socks

I've had very few enemies throughout this journey. The first being, the door, or more so, the lock. Every day after school I would struggle with this lock, Open for me, WHY WON'T YOU OPEN!!! There were even times of climbing over fences rather than dealing with such a nonsense. I stared down the lock like it was my last set at the gym, I'm sweaty, I'm drained and I'm a beast. I will beat you! Is it sad that I used the same montra for lifting heavy things as I did for opening a door? Nope, because after a few miles in the hot sun I was at that point. I didn't get it the first time, nor the second, not even the third. But after a week or so of hard work and dedication (again, I'm just opening a door and I attack it like a sport) I finally got the satisfactory *click* and yes again I did a victory dance.

Along these castle walls I'm Repunzel, ready to let down my hair, forget little worries and just enjoy life.

Yes socks have been a struggle for me. To begin, maybe it's the fact the my parents lived in Japan, but in the states I always took my shoes off in the house. Here, that isn't a thing. So when I'm walking around barefoot I feel every track of grass or bread crumb sticking too my toes. The second sock problem I have is that they don't last! I walk/bike/run everywhere here, therefore my run down converse and miss match Pippy Longstocking socks are no match for the miles of cobblestone I take to everyday. Smelly and torn, I made a trip to the mall specifically for sock shopping! But even as I say this I want to kick my self with my now open-toed converse because I sound so darn, foreign.

How can anyone be sad when there is a such thing as gelato roses?

Foreigner for Sale

Right from the beginning I did not want to be labeled as the "American" but this is high school people where labels identify this generation #speakingtruth. So after realizing no matter what I did, I'd still be the American, I figured I could at least be the Nicest-Funniest-Craziest American they'd ever met. But to do so the language would come first.

Ohhh colors!

I know I had it way easier than most exchange students, 4 years in Spanish class and a dad who speaks fluently but knowing how to say your colors and where's the bathroom won't make you the cool kid in school. So there were days when I'd be in a group and if I listened I could understand what was going on. But heck that took a lot of effort with 20 people motor-mouthing and me reassembling every sentence. It became a tiring challenge. And speaking up? Forget about it! Some days I'd have to talk myself through the frustration of not being instantly good at this but if it wasn't a challenge it wouldn't be worth it.


After a few weeks of forehead scrunching I've finally reached the point where I can not only listened but be involved in the conversations. My biggest fear was that all my joking and sarcasm wouldn't translate and I'd just be awkward without my whit to carry me but get this, they actually think I'm funny! (Maybe it's the random dancing, yeah, that hasn't changed)
Freaky spided made of metal why must you look so cool!

"I Fall into My Family Ways"

In the rare 30 degree heat (about 86F) the weekend was making out to be a splendid one. We spent it in Bilbao, between a tennis tournament, soccer game and a twisted titanium museum that you can't pronounce without putting on a funny accent >> Guggenheim (Gooooo-gen-hi-em) I started looking at the map when then I heard music, so folky I swear I heard the beards behind the banjo's before I  saw them. It was a room titled "The Visitors". I could never have expected what was about to happen next.

The famous GoOOOooogenheim
 I walked in to a dark room of people some standing some sitting on the floor, their faces were illuminated by 10 screens. Each screen had a different person playing a different instrument of the same song in different rooms of the same house. (Are you following? Sorry no pictures were allowed) I listened and they were all singing the same thing over and over "Once again I fall into my family ways." At first it was a mantra and then if felt like a trance, I sat down with my back to the center wall as the music vibrated through my spine.

I closed my eyes and mouthed the words, each time "Family" passed my lips I saw my family. My dad hugging me, my mom crying in the airport, my sister waving goodbye. The room was dark so I let a tear slip and held my heart. The music started picking up, the voices becoming more impassioned and then they were moving. All the people in the different screens started moving to one. All of us "Visitors" did the same. We drew to that screen like bugs of the night, to our only light. These musicians of different height, different color, different places all coming together to make beautiful music in one family.

The last lines I mouthed along and this time each "Family" I saw more. My two dads , my two moms, my two siblings and so quickly I felt lifted. How lucky am I to have not one but two families who care so much. And in that moment the year ahead stretched out in front of me promising memories, lessons and a lifetime in one year.

I found California! It's as though I never left!
I don't get down too often. maybe my biggest problems are torn socks. But why should anyone spend more than a moment of the day being sad. With only a year to capture a lifetime I want to be awake and alive to do it all. So that is why all my posts seem so happy, why all my days seem so happy, why I am so annoyingly happy because as cheesy as it sounds life is beautiful and I'll keep enjoying it with a smile on my face.

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