El sexto día—un poquito de humilidad

It’s been a week since we boarded the first flight in our journey to Spain, and it feels like we’ve packed in a month of living. It’s exhilarating, and I’ve rushed to share my experiences here.

A couple of days ago I wrote about discovering that we are one among several families of English speakers, and I used a harsh word. Inside that word was my worry that I won’t have the discipline to develop a conversational level of Spanish, and my conflicted feelings about the global spread of the English language and of certain aspects of American culture—something I have contributed to as an English teacher and traveler, and from which I benefit every time I leave the U.S.

A conversation I had yesterday with the mother of a classmate of Louie helped me relax a little. This mother grew up in Korea, came to Granada to study Spanish literature, and then stayed in Spain. She and her husband moved back to Granada this summer because she loves the city and the Albaycín neighborhood in particular, which is home to a mix of nationalities and cultures. I’d like to adopt her positivity and think of Americans as just one part of that vibrant mix.

When so many people are risking everything to find safety in a new country, both Pete and I are humbled by the amazing opportunity we have to live and learn in Granada. It is our responsibility to respectfully make the most of that opportunity.

2 thoughts on “El sexto día—un poquito de humilidad

  1. Julian

    Nice entry, Ellen. I had to go back to see what “harsh word” you used. :^)

    It’s understandable if you sometimes find comfort in conversation in your mother tongue, but it’s really admirable that you’re trying hard to fit into Spanish culture instead of expecting to always have an American or English bubble available.

    1. ellentveit Post author

      My double standard (if you’re an immigrant with limited resources and need to work a job or take care of children or attend to a medical or mental health condition, take your time learning the new language, but if you’re privileged then put some real effort into integrating) only works because I’m able to rely so much on Pete’s ability to speak Spanish. Without him, I couldn’t get by without a lot more support from my fellow English speakers.

      No surprise, I think my insistence on gaining independence as quickly as possible is also very American, very “pick yourself up by your bootstraps.” If only it were that easy. ; )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s