Lately, I've been writing a series of poems and titling them each "Metamorphosis", happily constricted in the idea that this part of my life is exactly that: a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means. (Thank you dictionary.com.)
It's a beautiful, healthy process.
I've joined a gym. A+ for mental and physical health! But! I also frequent buñuelos...so balance. Balance is key. I'm writing often and vigorously and passionately and I'm loving every minute of it. And I've noticed lately, between writing in my journal and just walking through life, that my studying abroad experience is becoming exactly what I need it and want it to be.
I don't often allow myself the space for the things I want, and instead sacrifice them over some made up need in the future. Yet, here I'm taking No Pasa Nada like daily vitamins, trying to integrate the concept into my bloodstream and get it coursing to my heart, through my body.
1. Not very many people rush in Granada. Coming from a country, and a school even, where the work culture shoots itself through the roof to infinity and beyond, it's hard to understand that (if you're running behind on time and you're going to be a little late, no amount of shin splints or sore thighs will change that) so default to: "No Pasa Nada". The work culture in the U.S. can often be one that demands you are always working, working, and working some more. And unfortunately, at times, it can negate the importance of physical/mental health for the sake of...more work. In some ways, it can even feel like you're working for your ability/right to live, and for some it is just this. But here, in Granada, work is important, yes. Claro que si. But it seems No pasa nada is even more important. Crying over an assignment that's 30 minutes late? No. No pasa nada. It literally will be okay. Do not worry. As my mother always says, "Life is too short. Don't sweat the small stuff."
Whoo! Brief break for a S/O to my Momma because I miss her dearly!
On November 20, 1995, I was born to a seventeen-year-old Warrior and you have now instilled 20 years of resiliency into my bone marrow. Oftentimes, I find myself wondering what a dichotomy of pain and happiness my mother must be in to see her child so nourished and grown, yet so far away from her. And I can only imagine and put myself in your shoes. Every time I do I send a message to say I love you. So here's yet another:
Thank you for loving me and nurturing me and investing so much time and energy into my potential. We're not a perfect pair but there are so many beautiful things in our imperfections. I love you, Ma. Thank you for teaching me to be as amazing as you are. Thank you for giving me the foundation and opportunity to be great. Thank you for all of it.
...That was not brief at all but who cares my mother deserves this entire Universe (She wouldn't want it though. She'd much rather settle for a bag of sunflower seeds and a bushel of crabs.)
Okay here we go, España!
2. Because no one is stressing like crazy over everything, I have noticed I'm often more tranquil and serene here. Things don't bother me as much as they once used to and I'm looking to carry this new approach to life back home to my family, and covet it within myself forever.
One of my faults -- I have quite a few. Not perfect. Just human. -- is that I have no patience for anything ever. Seriously zero patience! I'm quick to point out the stupidity of a given situation and do so while searching for a solution. Yet, I also realize I can't always do this. (Though some say my honesty is appreciated...as my mom also always says, "Ashley, shut up.")
So patience. I'm learning a lot of patience. I'm learning a lot of calm down, relax, breathe. It's okay. These lessons of patience cross over into not only things with the outside world, but patience with myself too. With understanding that I must be gentle with myself and my own processes. Allow myself space for both wants and needs.
It seems that time here is going to keep dancing by, quick and hard and as passionate as the Flamenco.
Yet, if I hadn't said it enough before, this is really a period of transformation for me. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with quick and passionate because this is just a part of my life. As I've seen from watching the beautiful Flamenco performers, it's something that stays with you forever and inspires your art even more.
There is so much in store here that I can't even see yet. And I am so excited to uncover everything that awaits. This is the Metamorphosis.
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Ashley is the 2015-16 IES Abroad Blogger of the Year! A Junior at Brandeis University, Ashley studies English, Creative Writing, Film, Television, and Interactive Media, as well as Creativity, The Arts and Social Transformation. On campus Ashley is an English Undergraduate Departmental Representative. Originally from Washington D.C., she enjoys cooking, reading, playing the piano, playing video games, and being with her family and friends.