For years I have wanted to visit Granada. I’ve read various books that happened to be set in the city and from the pictures they painted it would be difficult to not be curious about the winding maze of the Albaicín and the lure of the Alhambra. When I arrived however, I wondered what on earth I was really doing. This thought disappeared pretty quickly. In the past 10 days, as my time started to wind down, I’ve been filled with a mixture of gratitude and sadness.
Today I left Spain and I cried the entire way to the airport and a bit more on the plane. I also cried in front of a fair number of students and teachers at my school yesterday. I know that the emotions are from all sorts of things going on in my life but when I read the leaving note from one of my teacher’s, I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold it together for much longer. I’m in London for a few days and have made sure to fill my time with seeing good friends and family. I know that there are all sorts of emotions at play but I really feel as though I haven’t had enough time in Granada and can’t help but wonder if I will find myself back there at some point. I met some fantastic people and the city itself is bewitching. Luckily for me I don’t fall in love with every new place that I travel to otherwise I would have the problem of not enough time to return to all of them. The labyrinth of the city, outside of its main roads, continued to elude me but I loved finding myself on a tiny, cobbled calle I had been to before and realising that I actually vaguely knew where I was and might possibly know how to find my way out. Thank goodness for google maps but it’s a fantastic feeling when you don’t actually need the app and you are able to take the more unknown road con certeza. I won’t deny that when faced with the number of irregular verbs in the pretérito indefinido all I wanted to do was hide under a duvet and ignore it all but I am really happy with how my Spanish has progressed. It was a given that I would speak English with my classmates – I started at the most basic level so the idea that I would speak to them in Spanish was ludicrous – but I did actually have some conversations with classmates in Spanish and the most of all, I was not afraid to make a fool of myself and just try.
The enchanting lure of the city aside, I think this is what Granada has taught me. It’s important to try. Mistakes are part of the process and poco a poco we get there. And my god I have made some blunders but at least the result is laughter, if nothing else. I am a firm believer in being able to laugh at oneself. But truthfully there’s something very freeing about being in a place where no one really knows you and you can be open to all possibilities. The flat that I have been living in, while although fine, is not a place that I particularly needed to spend a lot of time in and so whether it was for tapas or the hammam, going for a walk above or within this extremely hilly city, I found myself saying yes to pretty much everything. I was also absolutely delighted in being able to introduce my pals to the cards I played so much of in Puglia. Truth be told it was pretty exhausting sometimes; I took private classes on top of my regular classes, I drank far more wine than I should have, and the late nights have definitely taken a toll on my health but my days were full and although of course I continue to have my moments of doubt I now also know with certainty that Europe is a place that I need to spend more time in. I can’t say that I know which country in Europe but at least I haven’t switched continents! The feeling of guilt that I have regarding St. Kitts and my business there is dissipating. I don’t know if this is because I have been quite out of touch with it since leaving in August or if it’s just because I now know with more certainty that as much as I have loved this chapter of my life, it’s time to move onto a new one. Instead of looking at wanting to leave as a failure (which I think I have definitely done), I think I can now accept that things aren’t always meant to be permanent and it’s okay to want to try something else. Now I just need to hang onto this feeling when I go home next week. There’s a lot to be done and I know I can easily get sucked back into life there but perhaps the magic of Granada will bring me back. Entonces gracias Granada. Ahora estás en mi corazón.