Let’s talk about the unbelievable fact that I’ve been here for three months. Don’t believe it? Yeah, me either.
With month three comes a rather paramount reality…. I have reached the point where I generally and mostly understand what’s going on around me. I don’t want to oversell myself because there are moments where I find myself as lost as I was on day one. I am still learning words I feel I should have known long ago. But for the most part, I get it. The world of noise that previously was just the harmonics of my own head has now added a symphony of passerby conversations and accounts of daily happening of schoolchildren and hurried cellphone chatters.
Such a privilege entails the ability to attend and garner valued insight from lectures and the sort. An example…you say? The FriendsOfTalent (English) lecture at Fundación Telefónica. Do you have any idea how lovely it is to be able to attend a lecture and understand what’s going on? And not only what’s going on, but get some of the truly profound knowledge being offered? Let me tell you: It. Is. Awesome.
The aforementioned lecture was an unexpected one. I was meeting a friend for an intercambio and we decided to hit a new photography exhibit that recently open. The gallery that hosts the exhibit happened to also be holding a lecture featuring biomedical researcher Teresa Gonzalo and actress Leticia Dolera. The women spoke at length regarding their opinions on Spain, the economic crisis, overcoming setbacks and femininity in the 21st century.
I was amazed by their commitment to Spain in spite of the dire and tragic conditions the county and its unemployed currently face. If I, as an American and as one who currently possesses a job, was inspired, I cannot imagine the impact their statements provided for my Spanish counterparts.
“La crisis nos está enseñando que tenemos que formarnos para salir fuera y decir aquí estoy yo.” –@teresagonzalo
The crisis is teaching us that we have to prepare ourselves as much as we can and then leave. Instead I’ve said, “No. I’m staying here.”
“Seguimos esperando a que nos llamen para trabajar. Hazlo tú. Crea tu trabajo.”–@teresagonzalo
We keep waiting for them to call us for work. Stop. Do it yourself. Create your job.
“En España hay mucho talento, el problema es que no nos lo creemos.”–@teresagonzalo
It’s not that there’s a lack of talent in Spain-on the contrary, there’s a ton. The problem is that we don’t believe it.
Pretty cool, no? If you have a few more minutes and want to check it out, here’s the link to the YouTube video of part of the lecture.
Let me take a minute and attempt to convey how bold these statements are… Spain is in bad shape, like really bad. Remember 14N? Remember all those protests I’ve been mentioning? What if I told you for every protest I mention there’s at least ten I do not. The sort of general, unspoken consensus is that people do as well in school as they possibly can- which hugely includes mastering English- and then get a job outside the country. It’s a simple as that. There are no jobs here, and if someone is lucky enough to land one, there’s limited opportunity for growth. So people leave. And if they haven’t left yet, they’re trying to. So, imagine coming into a lecture with all of this forming the last two years of your personal and professional existence and then listening to the women speak so strongly about staying in Spain vying for professional success. Imagine the strength these two women (specifically Teresa Gonzalo as the quotes above are hers) must have had to make such statements. Their talks exceeded sentiments; they spoke out of conviction. Their opinions stemmed from principle and challenge. To speak against so boldly against common consensus, it had to. Make more sense now?
I walked out of that lecture happy. Whether or not my opinions coincide with those expressed, I was pleased to feel a part of an intellectual discussion. Much like this was, tonight was a benchmark of acquisition for me… and I feel good about it.