Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nostalgia for Brilliance Realized

This is where the name blue streak becomes evident to anyone who had any doubt. I am here to bitch about Spain. For anyone that knows me that is reading this, you will know that I am in love with Spain while at the same time critical of it, usually in a half-joking way, but sometimes I am deeply frustrated by it. We have a highly complex relationship, Spain and I.

Having gone through a spell of nostalgia and homesickness, I began to seek out information on people I had long lost track of, and Google and other networking websites aided this process. I did not need to search to know that my two best friends from college, an Art major and an English major had long since been on a successful career track. The former working as a high-profile artist in Seattle whose breathtaking paintings, posters of which are mass sold, I seem to find everywhere I look and the latter working as an editor and a writer (I suppose, any English majors´dream job). But upon my searches I became aware of news on three friends I used to party with in college who were your typical hemp-wearing hippy-types that were majoring in Communications. The first works in the film industry in New York City, the second manages a well-known Jazz band in New Orleans and the third has been nominated for two Emmy Awards for his production work with the NBA and Sacramento Kings. Over the holidays I caught up with my old roommate from my study abroad semester, a Marketing major at the time, who is now living it large in Manhattan working for the Wall Street Journal in advertisement.

Was everyone I used to know just brilliant??? Is it possible that for a small cross-section of my life I happened to cross paths with abnormally diligent, success-driven, and talented people (disguised at the time as prototypical pot-heads)? Or are these people from my past just quintessential Americans, and I have somehow gotten away from that essence, having given it up for the pretty plazas with the cervecitas and the puentes? Am I in a place where brilliant people have less success at realization? Is it this place? Or is it the people and the stereotype of lazy Spaniards has some truth to it? This is, after all, the land of the funcionarios and aspiring funcionarios (civil servants).

Maybe people would think of my life and this would arouse similar romantic notions. Que bonito, I came to Spain on a whim followed my heart and here I am, living life to the fullest. But there is something dreadful in my suspicion that America really is the land of opportunity that I have left behind – not because it just exists as such but because the people make things happen there in ways I do not seem to see here, despite everyone around me be being some type of doctor or expert or architect or engineer. And what is my excuse for not making something grand of myself (aside from the obvious lack of brilliance)? Is it the inspiration that is lacking?

Maybe for an expat like me (and I consider myself to be a fairly average, usually happy human) it takes up so much of my persona just to accomodate this thing called culture that it almost feels like there is no room for anything else.

But that is bullshit.

So here´s to being something other than just bicultural. I have to find what it is. Hey, I said I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and I was not kidding.


alexis said...

A bitch session comeback.
Today your blog really hit home. Now when I arrived here 5 years ago I was a well adjusted person (or so I thought) with hopes and dreams about sharing the pleasures of compost with Andalusia. I entered in a company to do so and have been here ever since trying to convince what the rest of the world already knows as a good thing. Today to top it off my boss told me to, in a way, go behind the company president's back because he and his boss were doing a secret project. Around 11 he told me to prepare yet again the same document I have handed in 3 times on projects for composting. (Three years counting that none of them have been even started)I just went ape shit on his ass.
Seville (I cant speak for the rest of Spain) seems to like to keep everything going in circles so that it never truly accomplishes anything and never has to be accountable for anything. It is frustrating for goal oriented people like us who want to see results, feel productive and intelegent and know our time is well spent. Ok so this is the kicker. After I went ape shit, they told me this is what I was paid for, to do nothing and rewrite reports. A coworker said, just do what the boss says..and made a typing jesture. I could earn as much in the States serving burgers and feel more productive. Ok so some would say that I am a bit nuts so what do nutty people do? They go to the shrink. She says I need to better define myself. However, when everyone is shooting you down trying to mold you into one of them (those who like feria, tapas and beer)and don't understand why you'd want to be any other way, it is hard to maintain who you are, what you stand for and feel good about it. To make all worth while, when confronted the other day by a stranger who was mocking America saying that our cocktails were expensive, I just turned to him and said, yeh well at least we have good beer. Thank you for those who have read this far. I feel a whole lot better.

Sarita said...

I love you both and your neurotism! Some day my bitterness will come out just like yours. In the meantime I will sit back and nod my head in agreement because that is what I do best. Hey, at least I recognize that I am pathetic and weak....

((HUGS)) to my favorite Americanitas and welcome back to blogging!

Anonymous said...

the grass looks pretty green in spain from here :-)