Loss of the Eyes of a Stranger

Haley Stewart
December 23, 2013

A few weeks ago walking home from class, tired and hungry as usual right before lunch, I realized I was walking with my eyes cast downward.  There are practical reasons to watch the patch of street right before you: to avoid the water that collects between the cobblestones, the leaves that can be threateningly slippery, and the usual detritus that collects on city floors.  But there’s another reason one fixedly watches the street instead of the panoramas breathing and moving around them: after losing their ‘eyes of a stranger.’

I’ve thought a lot about the ‘eyes of a stranger.’  After my fellowship trip this summer, I wrote a write-up about how the experience of ‘estrangement’ can be particularly productive for writers.  Whether exploring a new place for the first time or returning to a place that’s no longer familiar, being a stranger privileges you with a fresh perspective.  You see what’s unusual, exciting and new.

I’d lost those eyes.  That day, looking up, I noticed the Cathedral’s spire against the sky. I realized I’d almost forgotten the Cathedral was even there. I realized I hadn’t yet been inside.  When I went home, I made a date with a friend from my Colegio Mayor to visit it that weekend.

In certain ways, losing these stranger’s eyes, developing the gaze and attitude of someone used to Granada, was a success.  It implied a certain degree of integration.  It meant that Granada had become familiar.

At the same time, it was a reminder to re-animate my vision, and see as much of Granada as possible in the time left.

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Haley Stewart

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Haley Stewart was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and is currently a Comparative Literature Major at Williams College in Massachusetts. She was lucky enough to be in a Spanish Immersion program from preschool thru high school, an experience which left her a fluent Spanish-speaker, a lover of Latin-American literature and an avid traveler. She&#39;s used her Spanish in many ways since, from teaching computer classes in Oaxaca, Mexico, to volunteering at an organization for low-paid farm workers in Oregon, to her classes on Spanish literature and history at Williams. Haley&#39;s most recent travel experience, a month and a half long trip to England on a travel fellowship from Williams, hiking alone through the beautiful Lake District in the footsteps of the Romantic poet Wordsworth, has left her even more excited to explore Granada. A lover of Federico Garcia Lorca for many years, Haley looks forward to not only walking, but living, in a city full of such poetry, music and magic.</span></p>

2013 Fall
Home University:
Williams College
Comparative Literature
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