Name: Laura Gaylord
CIEE Alicante Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Fall 2015
Home School: Boulder University
The town I grew up in doesn’t have a single stoplight. So, when I found myself waiting for the pedestrian sign to turn green one night after walking home from having a late night “café” with some friends on the bulevar I had to laugh at myself for waiting to cross when there wasn’t a soul in the street. It was funny to me that the lights would continue to change even though they had no one to change for.
I told myself when I first got to Spain that I would do something new everyday— try a new food, find a new street to walk home on, get to know a new place in the city. In fact, this was the reason I left the comfort of my house to meet my friends at a new bar.
Some days this promise to myself is easier to fulfill than others. Most of the time I do something new here without even meaning to—getting lost and stumbling upon a beautiful plaza, my mom cooking bolas del mar for dinner, meeting Spanish friends and trying new customs to fit in. But after a while, like in any place, I found myself falling into a routine. I know the fastest way to walk home from el mercado, my favorite playa San Juan tram stop and where to get the cheapest cañas. I have to push myself a little further to be uncomfortable again in an environment that was once so foreign— a comforting notion in itself. After a full two months of something new everyday I have still managed to make myself feel like I belong in a world I used to know nothing about.
Not only has doing something new everyday given me some of the best sunsets I have ever seen from the top of Serra Grossa or helped build unforgettable friendships but it has given me a new perspective through which I see the world around me. Things that were once so new have become normal and things I used to know as normal I see in a new way.
These days as I walk home on a deserted street I still find myself stopping to watch the lights change. Only now, it is to admire how they go on changing even though no one is giving them cause. I realize that my experience in Alicante has continued to change me whether myself or anyone around was noticing.