The last 6 months have been a blur. After my trip to Thailand, I surrendered myself to new work, to the point where I was physically and emotionally drained.
So, nothing like a long trip to get energized.
I decided to finally go to Spain. As a teenager growing up, I was told I looked latina, and I figured, why not finally visit a country whose weather I admire, whose people I may look like, whose language I should just finally take lessons in, whose people may have the secret to living a passionate life that I am so obsessed to connecting with.
While walking in Sevilla one day, (my fave city), I came across a tiny little old man, who …. was trying to talk to me, or make some moves on me. I can’t tell. He followed me for a bit. My friend who was with me, was making fun of me… claiming at least he was the same height! haha
Now, usually, I love talking to the locals. ANY locals in a foreign country that would give me the time of day. In Spain, I was dying to do this.
But the day before, in Granada, we had an experience where we were swindled by a gypsy for some cash. So, I was a little on Defcon 2 when I came across LittleOldSevillaMan.
Also, when I went to Turkey, while talking to a couple of octogenerarians, I had some touchy issues that I did not appreciate. Lets just say they were a little perverted!
Ok, so maybe I was more like Defcon 4 when LittleOldSevillaMan followed me. I remebered the gypsy and Turkey incident.
Lo and behold, the next day, in Town Square, LittleOldSevillaMan is there again, and I realized much later that he was walking behind me, and he was trying to talk to me.
My spanish is like pre-natal, but I could make out a few sentences.. he saw my camera, and he was saying stuff like “photografia” and pointing to a bridge that I was walking towards.
I just smiled, nodded, and tried to get him off my tail.. I kept on thinking, I don’t know him, he looked so sweet, and he couldnt harm a fly, but I just didnt want a repeat of the past experiences.
I stop at the bridge, take some photos, he comes towards me, and in Spanish, points out the bridge, cites the name, and says in Spanish that I DID understand, “thats this bridge.. this is what its called.. and I don’t want any money”.
I guess he thought I was ignoring him because I may have thought that he was after my money????
I felt like shit.
Of course he didn’t want any money, thats not what I was worried about… but he was at least 80 years old, probably goes to the town centre everyday for his walk, to see people, to talk, runs across photographers every day, he was.. he was just being nice.
And I was trying to ignore him.
I didn’t want to talk to a little old man, because someone made fun of him with me.
How did I forget to trust people? When did this happen?
Meanwhile, he must have been a treasure trove of history. Of life and times gone by. He could have talked in spanish all day, and I could have just pretended that I understood. I could have met his friends. His family. if he had any. Been invited to spend time with them. Spent the day checking out the city through his eyes. Known a city beyond the tourist traps, the architecture, the usual suspects.
I spent the next day looking for him.. I went to the town centre, the bridge, the route he took, but I couldn’t find him anywhere. I just wanted to apologize. Maybe listen to his stories if he had any.
Golden moments lost. If I have one regret during my Spanish trip, it is that.
I realized from that day, that I need to reset my views a little more often. Yes, you can taste the food, talk to the people, explore the country, but you also need to open your eyes and your mind. Completely forget stereotypes, break tradition, and stop being comfortable.
When I planned the Spanish trip, it was to embrace reality (and contemplating a move there). Breaking tradition. Accepting the now. I’m reaching a stage in my life where I am coming to terms with the fact that I may not find someone who will want to be with me for a long time. I may never have children. I may never have someone who will accept me for my quirks and my passion. I may love everyday, but I may never meet someone who’s ready to accept it. Everything that I was taught growing up – settle down, find someone, get married, have children, have a home to come back to, take long family vacations with your kids, have a stable job, be a mother, be a grandmother – I may have none of that.
My Spanish trip was a little life-long lesson and preparation – how to embrace something that you can control – doing things alone, going on trips by yourself, and making sure you have fun while you’re at it. Forget what you’ve learnt, open up. Change. Get used to it, get over it. Its not so bad, there’s a world waiting for you out there. I forgot all of those somewhat during my trip, until I came across LittleOldSevillaMan.
Here’s to breaking traditions and making new stories.