July 1~31, 2008
~A year flies by quickly when distracted by a foreign culture, language and Spanish vino tinto! July 16th was the anniversary of my departure from Canada! But, don’t worry, I still say “Eh”, “for sure” and pronounce “about” correctly!
~Another first for me, straying for more than a year! A test of willpower, strength, endurance…how long can I withstand withdrawal from Mike’s Hard Lemonade, a bathtub, a clothes drier, my massage therapist…Canadian culture. I did cheat this year…accepted Canadians into my piso. Of 16 guests at Calle Del Barco, 9 (bajo), 7 of them were fellow Canadians, and 2 of them visited more than once! Helped me maintain my Canadian language skills!
~Aw, the joys of moving residence (culture…language!)! A new dot on the European map. It’s a bigger dot this time…about 250, 000 French men…I mean people. But as always, moving means packing up and saying goodbyes. Remember how I ventured away from Canada toting 2 cats and a backpack…well, I’ve added 6 boxes, a full wooden barrel (my coffee table), a laundry hamper, and a large duffle bag to my collection of worldly-need-‘em items. Goodbye psychotic, beeping, fucking-fridge! I won’t miss you! I always forget, strategically, else I mightn’t ever move again, discovering upon moving inspection, how dirty an oven can become (in only one year), or after I’ve packed the kitchen clock…how many times a day I continue to look for the time in that empty spot. Of course the cats have clued in to my intensions…Gas more slowly than Carb, and Carb is hating me in a vengeful kind of cat-pissy way!
~Post-packing and pre-moving, I took a 2 week reprieve from Spain’s perfectly beautiful sunny and hot climate and ventured to Finland!
~Saw…not much of Finland…actually felt more like visiting Latvia or Mexico, as I was teaching Latvian and Mexican students! Still haven’t figured out the “why part” of them travelling all that way to a non-English speaking country to learn English! They learned more about Canada than Finland I suspect.
~Lauren paid me back for my pay-back! I think she didn’t like collecting and cutting Canadian cans for me…I should have been suspicious when she offered to book my multiple cheap flights to Finland! Saving money cost me a couple of sleepless airport floor nights and way too many hours/D-A-Y-S of travel!
“OK, WE’RE EVEN NOW KID! TRUCE”
~The school is like a summer residential camp for international teens (and teachers)…teens being the same world wide…they just swear in different languages! We’re situated…well, actually I don’t really know where I am. Somewhere Finland, between Tampere and Turku, at 61 30’ north latitude. Santa lives somewhere close by! Really should have done the research, but I love surprises! Shoulda packed my parka! Shorts and sleeveless tops serve little purpose here except perhaps as thick underwear!
~Things I’ve figured out about Finland…
…it’s in the colder part of the northern hemisphere, there aren’t a lot of people around (5 millionish) but I’ve only met 6, Finnish is spelt with 2 “n’s”, their water tastes good, the light blue coloured carton of milk is NOT buttermilk, stuff is really expensive, they sell cooler-ishy type drinks, everyone has a sauna, saunas can double as a clothes drier, the vegetation looks like Canada, the air smells like Canada, (if you’re Belgian or Swiss, don’t read the next sentence…) Finnish chocolate surpasses Belgian and Swiss chocolate, the weather is ever-changing and only warm when the sun is shining…but the COOLEST thing about Finland is…it just never gets dark here (in July)! “Land of the Midnight Sun” in reality! I keep staying up really late, by mistake, ‘cause I just can’t judge the time of day by the amount of daylight in the sky!
~And they’re making me live with 3 men, 2 Scots and a Brit…two whom I would label as “special” and the 3rd who has become my sanity! Men are really slobbish, confirmation of remaining single! The best part of the whole adventure…there’s a sauna 20 steps down the hall from my bedroom! Yes, the best things in life start with the letter “S”! Siestas, sunshine, saunas and sex! 47 and I got ‘er all figured out! Thank God for the Roman alphabet and the letter “S”! Oh yeah, and the other good thing is I’m allowed to speak English here!
~’Twas a tough go adapting to the word “work” again…we were required to begin teaching at 10 AM and drinking at 3:15 PM, with 2 hours of lunch and breaks! As Punkalaidun’s Lansi-Suomen Opisto is far away from anything real, there was no choice but to drink a fair bit and enjoy a nightly sauna and our Finnish version of a Spanish terraza! Oh woe was me…NOT!
~Another experience to add to my collection! They’ve asked me to come back next summer…will see where the French wind has blown me a year from now!
~It’s probably a good thing I packed up the apartment before I left for Finland, as Lauren only informed me a day prior leaving Jaca that I would not be returning until the 30th of July! I have to be out of my apartment on the 31st!
So…thanks for sharing my learnings about Jaca, Spain, and elsewhere Europe/Africa/Asia for the year! Stay tuned for my France-Fuck-Ups in another month’s time! And thank you Jaca for providing me with a sense of home and friendships and comfort! A year’s paradise full of the freedom for which I was searching…and found!
Adios Jaca…you will always be a part of me, building more character into a soul that didn’t really require any additional building!
Muchos besos por siempre,
dana, carburador y gasolina