Ok I haven't written much lately and I'll catch up on things a bit but I might just keep it short too, and just give you a quick update. One way or another, here's what, I'll put Ben Gibbard's - Carolina on repeat and that will keep me in the right mood until I feel I have nothing more to say.
Tonight it's 1 am and I'm home. There was a houseparty that I was planning to attend and then I didn't and here I am. And I feel good. I've had a last-minute dinner with friends and though there were plans of studying spanish after dinner, conversation just kept flowing and lapsing into good laughs and the sorts of jokes you only permit yourself to make when you feel comfortable with the people around you and you're way past keeping anyone entertained; you're just having good times. And when it got a bit late and we did feel a bit tired, then that was that when we went home. So yes there was a houseparty. No, we stayed home. Yes it's all good.
Here's a short theory I've worked out recently. It might sound cliché but there's nothing like a cliché that you conclude yourself about your own experiences. They become little wisdoms that make sense to you and it's another lesson learned, hopefully amounting to you becoming a wise grandparent with little but precious advise to give. So here goes.
Every new adventure you embark on, has three phases. The first one, would be that of expectations. Simple, it's what you do before you actually start. Dreams and hopes and plans and imagination all flow into a picture you make of the future. The second phase, the one that hurts, is of course that of Adjustment. Not everything worked out as your imagined, and little by little you compromise the plans you had for what the present conditions actually have to offer. The harder you built expectations, the longer it will take to adjust to the new reality, and it's as long as you'll suffer. Until you let go of your illusions, look at what's really there, and decide to make the best out of it. I don't know what to call that phase yet cuz I'm right there in the middle of it and that might explain why I'm finally back to writing a blog entry.
I'll spare you the details but I thought the erasmus experience would be one big frenzy of possibilities, picking any oh so interesting elective course I wanted, develop in all directions, meet new people, learn a new language, meet locals, find an internship, get into arts, teach myself all sorts of stuff and whatnot. In a way, my goals haven't changed. Things just didn't all magically appeared for me to just pick out of. It took me a while to accept that, and though fighting to get accepted into this one graphic design course paid off, it's been a long journey. If you think being an Erasmus is all about having the freedom of being 'outside of the system', of choosing any class that fancies your interest, well it's not. Being an outcast to the system means you get fucked on multiple levels of the administrative labyrinth. The spanish people have an interesting way of being completely disorganized and relaxed about the whole immatriculation stuff, and even your coordinator back home will say 'don't worry, everything works out once you're there'. Well, it turns out, for all their relaxedness, it turns out at some point they've had enough and close off everything. Like the flick of a switch, suddenly, everything goes from 'it will all work out' to 'you were supposed to have subscribed for this weeks ago'. Never mind yesterday everything was still chilled and open. Today, you're too late. They're very sorry, but it's impossible. Classes are full, waiting lists won't have you, besides, you're from another faculty and the priority goes 'spanish students from the fine arts faculty, then erasmus students from fine arts students, then spanish students from other faculties, then exchange students from the spanish network, and then, at last, you, the erasmus from another faculty. So down the chain that the coordinator won't even talk to you. They're so very sorry, but it's so very impossible to help you now. Now is too late. Yesterday was too early to worry. Come back tomorrow.
So, having swum through the choas, I think I'm finally getting into a rhythm. My housemates who originally seemed to live parallel lives to mine, we're starting to connect. It's not too hard, especially since my trick is to just sit down and join them watching tv. Never mind I don't really get most of what's being said on the telly. And then, lately, they start asking me before they order last minute Kentucky Fried Chicken. And ask me, one minute before leaving, if I want to join to the cinema. I would love to, but by the time they ask, I made plans so as not to stay alone at home. But hey, it's a start. We're working on it. I might even start telling them about my couchsurfing hosting.
I've had already two couchsurfers over the last weeks. I don't know how long I can keep passing them off as friends, without my housemates getting suspicious. Couchsurfing, put simply, is about either hosting or sleeping on people's couches while travelling. It might be time to ask my housemates if they're ok with me hosting, instead of pretending all my friends are currently visiting. But it's been great fun and the people I met were very interesting and it makes me go to the old town again and play tourist and get to know Valencia. It's a good thing, especially when you spend your days in between home and faculty. I wonder when I'll have the joy of couchsurfing myself. Time to move around a bit. Actually this sunday there's a meeting organized, called Tour de Turia, where we all bike around the river/parc that surrounds the old town. It's a river that once flooded the city or so, and the citizens decided it was best to drain the water, and now it's a sinuous long parc that 'flows' around town. Awesome.
Last week I went to a concert with Micha and his friends. It was a welcome concert for the students of valencia and they brought three bands for us. The first, supposedly crap, we skipped. The second, called La Mala Rodriguez, is supposedly this famous spanish woman rapper. Although I enjoy the occasional yelling at me of a woman, I must say her music didn't really rock my boat too long. But the atmosphere in the crowd was awesome. Everyone seemed into this shouting chick, and it rained on and off, making things even more hard-core :) And then, out of nowhere, came the revelation of the night. A band called Muchachito Bombo Infierno. Kind of guitar gypsy-ish music. By then, everyone was dancing on the benches of the arena and in the middle grounds. The location was the Arena de Torres, where they usually hold bullfights. But that night, the crowd went wild for their music. At some point, the best song of the evening was sung and it sounded so familiar I just had to know the title and downloaded it the same night. You'd recognize it if you heard it too. Titled 'siempre que quieras' but known everywhere for the lyrics 'Ojala que no te hubiera conocido nunca'. Trust me, you'd know. In fact, I'm gonna put it on right now. And the moment I went absolutely crazy was when this same band started covering Mano Negra's - Mala Vida. Right there and then, I knew what I was doing here in Valencia, and I knew things would work out.
Oh well, that will do for tonight.
All pieces are starting to fall together.
One year from now I'll tell people this was the best experience of my life.
Right now, I'm busy making it so.