Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Restriction turns to Freedom!

Today I am going to discuss something that I feel that many Americans will not be able to relate to.  It is how the restriction of something can turn into a freedom that you never expected.  This topic revolves around two categories for me here in Spain: Transportation and Technology
Transportation: As most of you know, like most Spaniards I have been using mass transportation and my own two legs to get around Spain.  Although I must admit that sometimes there is nothing better than getting behind the wheel of a car and going for a long drive, I have found myself not missing the convenience of self transportation at all!  I ride the bus every single day I work to get to La Gangosa (two towns away) but other than that, I literally walk everywhere in Almería.  I will say that relying on mass transportation and walking is restricting in my ways.  I have to plan my work days according to the bus schedule, which many times means I have to do a lot of waiting.  Walking is restricting because I have to plan 3 or 4 times more travel time than it would normally take to get somewhere.  Even though to most people these two restrictions may seem like a nuisance, I have found them both to be very freeing.  When you are driving yourself somewhere, it is necessary to constantly be aware of traffic signs, other cars, directions, etc.  When I take the bus ride to school, I get time to observe everything else: the people we pass, the beautiful scenery, etc.  I feel like I have observed many things about Spanish culture simply by looking out the bus window everyday.  Walking holds the same benefits; you can take any walkway you'd like which may lead you to alleyways, bridges and sidestreets you can not reach by car.  Also, I never have to worry about parking!  I just get to walk exactly where I need to be.  Walking also gives me the freedom to move at my own pace, which means if I want to stop and check something out, I can.

Technology:  Yes, I did buy an iPhone before I came to Spain, but I'm using it surprisingly little (although I am still please to have it in those moments when I reeeally need a smartphone).  I have chosen to be on a 25-euro-a-month phone plan, which lets me use internet and calling until my 25 euros runs out.  In Spain, that doesn't go a long way, but I'm not willing to pay for the unlimited plan.  Because I am restricted to only use so many minutes a month, I use my phone only when completely necessary.  This has given me the freedom to detach myself from constantly talking, texting, instragraming, and tweeting my friends, and makes me more aware of my surroundings!  I use this freedom to reflecting on my own thoughts, emotions, and views about my day, which I think is really helping me grow as an individual here.
Kite surfing is very popular here and they're very fun to watch!

That's it for my theme-related post.  In other news, here are the brief highlights of my past week!
Chipirones (mini-squids)

  • Experiencing my first true night out with the Spanish night life (I got in a 7am... which is normal here)
  • Trying two new types of seafood this week: prawns and chipirones (which are mini squids).  I loved them both!
  • Finding a tub of peanut butter in Spain!  It can only be found at international stores, so it was an exciting moment for me.  I was very excited for my roommates to try it... and they both ended up hating it.  I didn't know ANYONE could hate peanut butter!
  • Spending six hours on the beach Sunday napping, reading, watching kite surfers and hanging out with my UK friends!

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