Lo que me preocupa

A little over a month remains before I leave.

Like I mentioned in my last entry, I’m trying to obtain everything I need as early as I can, lest it’s not available at the last minute or I forget it. With the exception of the water filter and cheap mp3 player to sleep with, nothing I bought is something that I wouldn’t have bought eventually, it’s just that buying it all at once is costly.

As I spend more and start to fill my suitcase, this whole experience is becoming more and more real. Part of me is excited, but I’m also nervous too. Some things I’m concerned about are Spain-specific and others are moreso just due to my own fears and experiences. While I think I’ll have a great time, I don’t want to romanticize Spain either, and I think it’s good to at least be aware of potential challenges.

-I’m a little worried about the racism in southern Spain.
I’m aware of how Black women are often portrayed in Andalusia. Honestly, as a Black woman living in the Chicagoland area (predominantly Black) who once lived in central Illinois (practically no Blacks), I feel like people have implied/said things about me and it was nothing I couldn’t handle. It was worse, to me, than implying that I’m a prostitute, or an illegal African immigrant, but do I worry I’ll have more to deal in Seville with than a simple déjeme ya or soy estadounidense will fix. I always hear mixed reports of Spaniards from Blacks, either the Spanish were extremely pleasant and hospitable, or they had to deal with various comments and behaviors towards them.

-I’m a little concerned about how forward the men will be.
This ties into the above, but it’s moreso related to what I hear about Sevillanos in general. It’s probably not too much that I haven’t already dealt with, I’m just wondering about the frequency that I’ll have to deal with it in Spain.

-I’m worried that I won’t make friends.
In America, I don’t really have any friendships, not anymore. They’re distant at best and nonexistent at worst. I’ve talked to a couple people and we’ve all said that there’s something particularly challenging about making friends as a adult. Honestly, I don’t expect not one person I meet to want to continue talking to me once I leave Spain, but will people like me enough to at least keep me company while I’m there? Will they want to befriend a foreigner? A Black foreigner…who is American and female? Will the locals be patient with my Spanish, and I patient with their quick speech and particular accent? Will my fellow students enjoy my company?

Is money ever not a stress? Groceries, cell phone, student loan payments, entertainment, travel and internet, if I can even afford the last three. Part of the reason I’m living with a roommate (and need to prepare my own meals) rather than a family (where meals are provided) is because it’s thousands of dollars cheaper. I think in general I’d be more at ease if I had at least several hundred more dollars in my bank account, but who wouldn’t be?

-Culture shock.
This is obviously inevitable if you ever wish to live abroad, or really, to simply move to an area much different than where you grew up (for example, I didn’t enjoy my time whatsoever living in central Illinois at a small college in a place with a relatively small population, growing up in/near Chicago). Some things may be excitingly Spanish. But I imagine it’ll get to the point where it’s less of a novelty and more of a pain in the ass, and I’ll end up missing and yearning for the country and culture I was so excited to leave.

I know everything I’ve listed is fairly minor. Some of the reasons I chose Spain versus various places in Latin America is to avoid bigger concerns, such as general safety, violence against foreigners, etc. Also, I don’t think anything I’ve listed will prevent me from enjoying myself overall. My concerns with the locals are things that, being Black and female, I’d probably have to endure everywhere on the planet to some extent. While it’ll be sad if I can’t find halfway decent friends, I’d still rather be in Spain, learning Spanish, pursuing my dream and working towards my career, then friendless at home. Money will always be a concern.

I know what I need to look out for. I don’t think that’ll ruin my time there. I have a feeling this will be one of the best experiences of my life, and without a doubt the best experience thus far.

Can’t wait.

~ by Revé on July 27, 2011.

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