After having the smoothest of flights with the clearest of skies, I walked out of the airport and literally straight into a cloud of smoke. It hit me out of nowhere... oops... there weren´t any fires though... Instead just a group of maybe 50 youngsters, waiting for the bus and getting their nicotine fix after a long flight.
Then, the same bunch, also introduced me to the Sevillian way of speaking. Wow... Everyone speaks at a pace that makes me wonder if they´re actually Spanish at all! Initially I couldn´t recognize anything. The phrases I´d been studying in my ´oh so dependable´ little phrase book should´ve eventually come to my rescue...
Just goes to show, that only by hearing a lanuage and actually TRYING to conversate, can you find out what level you´re at. And well, as it stands, on my first day in Spain, my level is hovering around - not zero (on a scale of 1 to 10) - but maybe around 1.5!
I´m chuffed with that actually. I can already notice the progress I´ve made, since first arriving not even 24 hours ago! Because, even with my ´1.5´ I´ve been able to make myself understood a few times... Which is a fine thing, because the level of English isn´t high at all. And I´m not disheartened (not as I remember to have been, when I first landed in China; the shock of their non-existent comprehension of the English language took me quite a while to come to terms with!). In this situation however I´m actually LOVING that the majority doesn´t understand English. It gives me even more of an incentive to practise and to get over any self-confidence issues I may have, regarding my level of Spanish. I have understand, once again, that only by making mistakes, can I learn and communicate with this world around me.
After the bus journing to the city, I soon realized this is an easy city to get lost in. I guess that´s what happens, without little ´planning´and placing all of my trust in the world around me, to help me reach my destination. I´m delighted I took that approach, because I now know there´s no better way to get acquainted with a city. The amount of people I approached and tried to converse with, really gave me an insight into their mentality; they´re the kindest bunch you´ll find, even if they don´t speak English. They´ll happily ´speed´talk´at you in Spanish, pointing temperamentally in at least 3 different directions, just so as not to have to tell you that they don´t really know where the street is. But what can a visitor say, if they don´t speak the language... nothing much... only ´Gracias´... before walking back in the direction they just came from, only to SLOWLY loose any sense of intuition that may have been helping a person along.
I made it though. Just as I was about to check-in to another hostel, my initial hostel fell out of the sky!!! Yay! The night was saved and no smiles were lost. Not even when I looked at the map today and saw that the route I´d walked last night had taken me in several circles. The whole entire time I was only a stones-throw away from my actual hostel.... A quiet little giggle to myself :D
Next observation... Spain has rain too! Yes... A person should never convince themselves that a certain destination will have ONLY a certain climate. Because as ´predictable´as the weather is, it´s actually the most unpredictable thing. It´s lucky that I hadn´t convinced myself that I´d have a ´perfect´ blue sky and comfortable temperture. So this morning, as I was exploring Seville on foot, taking in the atmosphere, feeling the traveller awakening from within, I let my feet get drenched. Initially, I didn´t let that little discomfort hold me back, at least not for the first 3 hours of exploring. Only then did my feet start crying out for some dry heat.
That´s when I remembered what I´m actually here for! Wow... tomorrow - Thursday - I´m planning to do the Camino! My feet need all the support, warmth, softness and ease they deserve, if they´re going to take me a few ´steps´ beyond this wonderful city!
With so much happening, I honestly don´t feel I´m in the ´hiking´mode at all... This morning I sat in a coffeshop and all I wanted to do was sit and listen to people speaking Spanish. I was totally content, happy, inspired and in my zone. It was as if I´d found my reason for coming. Simply being in Seville was ENOUGH inspiration for now. I look at the world around me, and there´s learning EVERYWHERE.
I know I´ve always looked at the world through eyes eager to learn. That learning is always on a hidden level. Here however, it´s a level that´s visible to the eye. It´s a physical, tangilble level of learning. No matter where I look, I´m decoding. I´m speaking new words in my mind, I´m searching my memory for the meaning behind a language that I´ve loved for years. I´m in awe of the Spanish speakers... This is a totally different than the feeling I had, when I was first in China. Back then, I had to zone-out to the language. I had to become immune to it, because I wasn´t willing to go ´all the way´ and devote most of my time to learning that particular language. Here however, it´s different. It´s accessible and effortless, yet inspiring, fun and challenging at the same time.
I had dreams last night about their words... I found how AMAZING it would be, for such beautiful words to be part of a person´s daily vocab... just like magic. Actually, describing it like this, I guess this is learning that is ALSO taking place on a deeper, hidden level. If something is inspiring; the level is then always touching hidden feelings. A passion for something, and the inspiration that comes along, is always only experienced behind the facade of how we project ourselves out into the world.
Maybe this is just my first buzz... These are afterall my first impressions. I guess I feel I´ve opened up alot in these past 24 hours, simply by stepping out of my comfort-zone. Learning experiences, on every level, in all areas, are occurring. We progress as much as we allow and wish ourselves to, simply by being in these situations. So... I´ll explore Seville just that little bit more, I´ll start the walk before the weekend and I can trust that learning will always be happening - in all areas, on all levels. How grateful :)