Fading without Fireworks

It has been a long while since I have posted anything. Lately, my life has flashed back and forth from nothing and and everything, skipping the in-between, and the in-between was what I meant to write about in this blog. The average things in life, like my plants, and my running and my cultural run-ins. Perhaps at the 7th month mark of being here things just started to seem normal again. Even the language frustrations follow a new pattern these days. If I’m not understood, or don’t understand the first time, I can simply ask for a repeat or explain again, with different words or structure or conjugation. I get it right eventually, me and the native smile congenially, and get on with our way. Yet at the very moment when things begin to have a feel of normalcy, the school year ends. My work slows down, the pace of the city changes from hectic student life to confused tourist life. The sun decides to show its face and warm the chilly stones of this tan and gray town.

Summer still feels far away, although we’ve bumped into June. It doesn’t feel like the end of anything yet, like a drawn out movie with no climax. The credits roll and you sit awkwardly waiting for the punchline. But my watch reads: 6-03, 10:04:55. I’m on vacation because I get a week long vacation at the end of the school year. I took my Spanish exam last week and stopped having class. We had a banquet to celebrate the end of the year and say farewell to students who are leaving. The facts add up to tell me 8 months have passed since I stepped off the plane in Madrid. I speak conversational Spanish. My friends are taking exams. Time has passed. I have changed, in ways I didn’t expect at all. The end of this year is a fading without fireworks. After all the ups and downs of a year in a new country, all the ruckus and fuss, this end feels eerily silent. So I will gather my things and walk out of the cinema, into the sun for the summer, and start again in the fall, all over again.

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