Diving into Discomfort

Penn does a pretty good job of hitting the ground running. The past two years, I’ve gotten to the first day of classes and there’s no time for shopping for classes. Instead, there’s a syllabus, a list of textbooks that I will hunt around for to find the lowest price (i.e. bargain with friends or test the limits of my computer by going to semi-sketchy websites [often in russian] that say they have the book for free download), and a date in bold that tell you the first mid-term date…and suddenly I feel like I’m home. Spain is no exception. To say we had to hit the ground running might be an understatement. I feel like Dorothy waking up in Oz and realizing..well I’m definitely not in [Philadelphia] anymore. And while there is no Billie Burke or Lena Horne to be my Glinda here, I’m strangely okay with that because after all I signed up to do this to dive into discomfort.

Spanish for me has been a challenge not because I don’t know the language, although you’ve probably heard me say that I don’t many times over, but because I’m all too aware of the fact that I’m not a native speaker. The great part about hitting the ground running is I had exactly 13 hours to get over this before I signed a promise to use Spanish (basically all the time). Moreover, of those 13 hours most were spent trying to figure out if my luggage was ever going to make it to Seville [Update: it did, just 20 hours after I did]. Now it’s not like in the past 48 hours all my worries of speaking are gone, but I have come to the fact that unless I want to be silent for the next 4 months (and let’s face it, I would barely last 4 days) I have to use Spanish, and within that realization I have found great comfort in discomfort.

Like many of my friends who are not going abroad and are holding down the Work Hard, Play Hard school that I love (even when it’s 3am in February and you leave Huntsman with slightly less of your soul) the work has already begun. If you don’t believe me, I’ve had 3 “quizzes” and 3 interviews already along with homework every night. I will say, where Spain definitely wins is every restaurant has it’s own sangria and I have yet to be disappointed. So even if Glinda showed up with my ruby red slippers — promising a quick trip home [read: direct with luggage arriving at the same time] I wouldn’t take it. I plan on being better at Spanish by the time that I do return back home, and if that just running with it — then I’ll fake it ’til I make it. It helps when sangria is always waiting at the end of the day 🙂

Happy first (second) day of classes!

-Victoria

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