When the Homesickness Strikes. Again

I honestly want to know how this scientifically works. Because I’ve been fine. For a really long time I haven’t been homesick and then BAM. It strikes. And it feels crippling. All the drive, the passion, the motivation just sinks out of you when you’re homesick. Because for me all I can think about is lattes at the kitchen table on Sunday morning while dad makes a classic American breakfast and mom runs around getting ready for work. Eating Chipotle and Chick-fil-a. Running into Wal-Mart and getting everything I need in one wholesome trip.

I crave my people, activities, and food you can only get in America.

It’s a bit melodramatic. This I realize. There is nothing horrible occurring here in Spain to bring on a full-fledged complaint. In fact, I feel so terribly blessed with all the good that’s been happening. This post isn’t about complaining about Spain, or saying it’s bad. Spain is good. My work is good. It’s just the other side to it.

So here’s to the things that make me miss home and continuously entertain me in Spain:

1. Working with kids can really suck.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to yell. Full fledged, lungs just demanding attention. And after yelling, I’ve been ignored. There’s a hard and fast line here and when the kids don’t feel like learning they make your classes miserable. They don’t care that you have something to say, or that you moved half away across the world to say it. And these kids specifically seem to be horrible at paying attention and staying in their seats. I’ve never seen anything like it before.

2. Walking and busing everywhere.

I’m lucky because there is a great bus system here and I have two feet that get me along quite well. But this morning, standing at the bus stop in the freezing wind and incoming rain, waiting for the bus that is always fifteen minutes late, it sucked. Who on earth wants to spend their entire lives depending on a transport system and the kind graces of friends with cars? But there are many people here who have never owned a car and don’t want to. I, for one, miss my car pretty much every day. You don’t know what a blessing it is to put groceries in a trunk instead of hauling them across town, or cutting your commute in half by not stopping in every small town between here and where you work. Madre mía.

3. The lines (queues).

They seem to exist everywhere. And there are times when they are far worst. Take for example grocery shopping. If you go anywhere after siesta (5-9) there are going to be an excess of people shopping and waiting to check out. A three-minute shopping trip can take you fifteen minutes. Setting up a bank account? Same deal. Picking up a package? Hello line. Buying bus tickets in Logrono? Always, always a line in that station. You do get used to it, but there is no such thing as speed in small-town Spain.

4. The always using cash.

I understand that many can argue this is the better way to live life, but I’m used to swiping my card and that being the end of it. Here, they pretty much use cash for everything, even if it’s a two hundred euro purchase. The card is frowned up, especially for small purchases. Pretty much the only place I get away with a card swipe is the grocery store, and even then I’m slowing the line down by using it. Another complicated bit about using cards is going out to eat and drink together. They don’t do split bills here. And you don’t ask for them because they will stare at you like you’re crazy. They hand you the whole thing for six people and you better have exact change on you or the whole process becomes a nightmare of IOU’s.

5. No toilet paper.

Sometimes this happens in the States. The odd bar will have no toilet paper, tissue paper, or paper to speak of to wipe your bum. Here, it’s pretty much everywhere. Walking into a bar or restaurant bathroom with toilet paper is cause for celebration. Walking into one with toilet paper and paper towels is a miracle. I don’t know if it’s just the restaurants budgeting or just pure lack of attention to such a thing, but I never go to the bathroom without my purse, which has a giant wad of tissues in it at all times.

6. The bane of my existence that is WiFi.

And lastly, I’ve never had so many problems as I have here with the WiFi. #Firstworldproblems. But I depend on it for a lot, as do most people. Talking with people from back home. Sharing pictures with friends. Researching my future. Booking travel. Planning lessons. WiFi is pretty much necessary, especially when I only have one gig of data on my phone.

The WiFi gods struck again, only this time they took the WiFi away. We have been without it for now 22 days and the process of getting it back has been horrible. It all started with one company ending our contract (which was really someone else’s contract) and us trying to start a new one. Turns out the people who lived in the apartment three years ago didn’t pay their last bill. So now the address has an outstanding bill giant red X next to it. Our roommate sent in a bunch of documents proving she was a different person, but the company kept saying it would take at least twenty days to verify it.

Add to the fact that they also kept insisting they had never received the documents and that each new person we spoke to told us the same thing again and again, and we were done. So we canceled that subscription and went with another company. They came last Friday to install it. Two hours later they informed us that something was wrong with our connection, and that they would be back at a later day to fix it. So basically, just learning to live on the edge with no WiFi. As of Tuesday, yesterday, we had WiFi.

The blinking blue light of happiness.

Today is the day for a little complaining. Tomorrow I’ll be thankful, as it’s thanksgiving back home. Happy early Thanksgiving all.