that your an American? “Oh, hi nice to meet you.” Then stick out your right hand.
I didn’t do it on purpose. I was just trying to be polite, and I was, just not following local custom. Everyone smiled, and said they knew where I was from. I’m still not completely used to the European ear-cheek kiss thing as a greeting.
Friday night was by far the best night I’ve had in Spain so far. I’ve been aching to really connect with some people here, and I did. Shortly before I left the states, I scoured google for some proof of a Christian student group at Carlos III. I ended up on the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship national website (I’m apart of IV at Wes), clicked on a link, and another link, dug a little bit, and found something called GBU that listed a contact person at my school here. Score.
I sent an email, was added to something on facebook, and invited to some welcoming meeting. I didn’t really have any idea what to expect. I knew no one going to it or what exactly was going to be happening. [fyi: For anyone worried about my safety here, I’d done enough research to know what I was going to was legit.]
I met someone at the metro station, so there would be no getting lost (this time at least!). There had to be something like 40 students in the room from universities all over the city. It was a little hard to understand everything because the acoustics weren’t the best, but I picked up enough to follow.
I met a bunch of Spaniards, which was amazing. So far, I’ve had classes where I didn’t really talk to anyone and conversations with other lost foreigners, but that’s about it. I’d never been a social setting with locals before. AMAZING.
Other amazing thing, the foreigners that were there. I’ve spent a lot time with folks in my program and some folks from Boston and the UC system, but it was really cool to hang out with other internationals with so many interests similar to mine.
The girl I mistakenly greeted with a handshake and I ended up talking a lot and grabbing dinner after the meeting. It was great, and equally hilarious. Some things you just can’t learn in grammar book, like how to tell when your waiter is hitting on you. We got that lesson now. It got a little awkward at the end as we were paying for our meal, but it was still funny.
Truly, the best night so far in Spain, and I think part of what made it so great was not just because I smiled more than I have in the last 4 weeks or laughed harder, I think it was so great because of what I know I have ahead of me because of it.