I lived in a Spanish village for 8 months, and it changed me forever. (Part II)
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I lived in a Spanish village for 8 months, and it changed me forever. (Part II)
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I lived in a Spanish village for 8 months, and it changed me forever. (Part II)

Second part (and end) of this touching story, brought to us by AWanderingCasiedilla.

5) Fun doesn’t have stop after you turn 30. Or have kids. Last summer, I worked for a U.S. marketing campaign whose slogan was “sleep when your 30.” It was a liquor brand that promoted the idea that your 20’s is for fun, and your 30’s is when fun dies. This is very much so our mentality in the states. After college graduation, I remember sitting on the couch of my apartment with my 4 best friends. We were balling our eyes out, crying that our fun was forever over…LOL. We were 22 years old!!! In the states, we fear getting old because with age comes more responsibility, more “social rules,” and less fun. But why does one need to influence the other? In my village it’s quote the opposite. In fact, the wildest people I know here are above the age of 40. And the king of the fiestas? He’s 50 with three kids. Judgements aside. Life is for fun. And my life is just beginning!

6.) You don’t have to get trashed to have fun. Maybe this is why Spanish people can have fun their entire lives. I graduated from one of the biggest party schools in the US. The mentality was that if you couldn’t drink, you wouldn’t go out. Shots, or water. An average night out in the states goes like this: Pre-game with shots of alcohol. When sufficiently drunk, go to bar. Drink more. Then, go to club. More shots. On the verge of passing out. Success. Go home. WRONG WRONG WRONG. PEOPLE. WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO ENJOYING EACH OTHERS COMPANY?! Seriously. People in my village drink. But not to get drunk. To socialize. And if getting drunk happens, it happens. But at a natural, humanly pace. That explains why people in the states last until 2 am, where here people stay out until the sun rises. And the best part? You can watch the sun rise with the people you like the most…

7) There is nothing more beautiful in this world than a Spanish sunset. No words.

Malaga Sunset 

8) Spanish is way more honest. Yes, I’ve learned how to speak fluent Spanish. But what’s more, is I’ve learned how speak honest. There is no way to beat around the bush in Spanish. A fat boy is a chico gordo. He’s not pleasantly plump, he’s just plain old fat. He knows it, his parents know it, and it’s all good. One of my students actually responded to “How are you today?” with “I am fat.” LOL. But he knows it! The same thing goes for black people, called negros. There is no “politically correct” name, like the “African Spanish” people. People are honest with who they are here, in presumable thanks to the honesty of the language. Stop walking on cultural egg shells, and just say it.

9.) It’s the people that matter. There are 9 restaurant, 2 “cool” bars, and 2 clothing stores in my pueblo. There are no movie theaters, no malls, nor clubs. My apartment has no clothes dryer, heating, air conditioning, nor oven. And I have had one of the most incredible years of my life. One afternoon in February, I lost my wallet. Within 5 minutes of my discovery, the entire pueblo went on lock down. Moms of my students left work early to search their streets, the principal of my school stopped classes to perform a search and rescue, and the police came to ME. Three months later, people I’ve never met stop me in the streets, and ask “Casie, hola! Has encontrado tu cartera?” No, Maria, I haven’t found my wallet. But thanks for asking…

These people are truly incredible. Like, INCREDIBLE. Being from the NYC metro area, I’m used to people who live for themselves, and for themselves only. If I lost my wallet in the Big Apple, I’d get a whole bunch of “oh, well that sucks for you!” My biggest culture shock in Fregenal was the incredible sense of community. People actually care about each other. I have never met people more warm, happy, and genuinely caring in my life. I have known the people of this community for 8 months; half of which, I could barely communicate. Yet, I feel like I have of 5,000 new Spanish speaking family members (the corniest of corny, I know. But it’s TRUE!)

I have formed these friendships, young and old, that I know will stay with me forever; an incredible group of 20 best friends, one married couple who owns a Spanish fish factory, and one best friend who has been my Angel for the past 8 months. And his name just so happens to be Angel…IRONIC? Oh, and the wildest part of it all? All of these bonds I’ve formed have been in Spanish. I could ramble on and on. But I’m going to end with this final (sappy) thought: The biggest lesson I learned is that happiness in this life is not about the money. It’s not about the posh bar or trendiest restaurant. But it’s the people you share it with. It’s the people who are sitting at the same table as you. The surroundings just aren’t important. Thank you Fregenal. You’ve showed me what this life is really about, and for that, TE QUIERO MUCHO.

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