It’s funny the things you don’t realize you’ve forgotten about a place upon returning to it. What catches me even more surprise is what actually surprises me, what – in the midst of a mindset that expects to be stretched and grown and challenged in nearly all ways – actually gets at me in the first days of overwhelming transition. The things that strike me, which are the things I have forgotten about, say something about me. I’m just not sure what they say…yet.
1. I realize now here that I forgot what it feels like to go hours upon hours without checking your phone. Further still, to genuinely not even know where it is. I had forgotten what it was to not associate dread with a small chirp or chime or buzz.
2. I forgot just how quiet the first few days are. The days that lack community; the days that pass with not a sole social companion to check in on; the days that are completely and entirely at my leisure, not because I’m on holiday, but because I am utterly unknown to the world that surrounds me.
3. I forgot how the older generations of Spaniards stare. They don’t do it with malice (generally). It’s just a thing. Call it a cultural thing – I don’t know. But they do it, everyday, without fail. It’s especially bad if you’re in a park or worse still if you’re in one of the few places in the city center with a collection of park benches. Strolling though they may be, I have often wondered if their strolling is a result of an unwelcome inhabitant of “their” bench. I could ask… or I could just be a passerby who hopes I don’t cause too grave an inconvenience.
Of course the list goes on and on, but these are the forgettings that have most strongly captured my thoughts. I hope to decipher an implication sooner than later, and vainly a positive one at that.