Sorry for the relative lack of posts lately. I am having a pretty difficult time adjusting to my life here in Spain, but I’m online now, and I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned from my struggles so far in Spain.
First of all, who I am does not fit in with the Spanish culture at all. I am not a napper, and there are siestas everyday. I go to bed pretty early, and people stay up well past midnight and often stay out until 3 or 4am… or later. I have tons of stomach issues, and the food here is not agreeing with me. I knew all of this before I came, but I thought that it was just another reason to go. After all, I want to push myself out of my comfort zone.
The problem is, I think I am pushing myself too far. Literally everything is new all at once. I am ridiculously overwhelmed and trying to find little things to hold onto that keep me on solid ground.
That’s where my dilemma comes in. To keep myself from having a complete mental breakdown, I need to stay true to myself, but to immerse myself in Spanish culture (which is, after all, the reason I am here), I have to break down barriers and learn to appreciate and even come to love traditions, customs and lifestyles far different from my own.
So the question is – how do you remain your true self while still growing and expanding through the exposure to newness? I don’t have the answer yet. What I’ve been doing to keep my sanity is trying to immerse myself into the Spanish culture while still maintaining one or two of my own lifestyles. For example, I went on a run yesterday, and it felt so amazing to exercise and release all of that stress. I’m going to try and recruit other students who want to exercise so I can start teaching Turbo Kick. That will give me that sense of self that I am lacking right now (I hope).
Now I’m asking you for your advice! What do you do to cultivate a sense of identity? How do you work to maintain that in unfamiliar and even perhaps uncomfortable situations? I would love to hear what works for you!