Granada, I've spent this past week getting to know you a little, strolling along the river Darro, climbing the streets of the Albaicin and smelling the flowers of the gardens of the Alhambra. I’ve fallen asleep under the Andalusian sun with only an orange tree for shade and I’ve watched your people go by while sipping on summer wine. I’ve also tripped on your cobblestones. Like, twice in day, in fact.
This experience has been a real gift, not only for the opportunity to spend time in beautiful places but also for a chance to really reflect and gain some perspective. One thing I didn’t appreciate enough before I embarked on this project was what a solitary experience it would be. It’s especially true now that I’m holding down an apartment all by myself in a quiet neighborhood, cooking, doing the dishes … cleaning? But it was also true of my time in Morocco though hostels meant a very social lifestyle. Rather than keeping me content with company, I found it frustrating how I felt like I was meeting great people all the time but they were always headed to Barcelona when I was staying on in Marrakech, or I was moving to Madrid when they had to go to Marseille. The transience of these relationships made me only more lonesome. The amount of time I’ve had to myself and to my thoughts is not something I anticipated but it has been such a rewarding experience to get some distance from my life and really interrogate myself a little. I’m finding things out about myself I didn’t expect to discover… (Talk to me later about specifics; I’m not about to get all emotional over a blog). It’s weird: being alone is kind of like being locked in a room with someone you’ve been a little uncomfortable with for a long time, with nowhere to run. All you can do is talk things out with them and iron out all the beef.
On a lighter, less confessional note: a movie festival is going on around town and I got to catch a screening of the Bollywood movie ‘Kurbaan’ out on Plaza de Pasiegas with the screen dropping down in front of the imposing façade of Granada’s main cathedral. What a disorienting experience. And what an awful movie.
Also, another thing I didn’t anticipate: how my very rusty Spanish, learned with a typical
Madrileño accent, is floundering in face of people talking at me in rapid-fire Andalusian Spanish where consonants seem to have all but disappeared. Most often, I’m just standing there, going like “What the…?” And then I just say, “Con chocolate” because usually I just want something with chocolate in it.