The Bad Days: Stories You Didn’t Hear from Spain

Wow what a depressing title. Am I going through a goth phase? Stay tuned to find out…… Of course not, my sister did enough for the two of us (love you Sara).

No, I wanted to share some things with you. Life is hard, and strange, and also magnificent. I’m a story teller here, sharing my life and travels, and sometimes recipes (Sorry for that, I’m getting on it I cross my heart hope to die swear to you I’ll get some recipes up once I move into my apartment). I’ve shared a lot of my amazing experiences through my writing and instagram and whatever other social media. That’s the thing though, I shared the amazing, good stuff. I joked around about being stuck in the airport and all the misadventures, but life is obviously more than falling for a Mexican rugby player or finishing a book next to a palace in Spain. Don’t get me wrong; I’m so lucky and my life was dope when I was abroad. I’ll always remember my time in Spain fondly, but I can present myself to you all and to social media as if the bad days never happened.

So, here are some memories from Spain I thought maybe you’d like to hear. They’re sort of sad and funny and maybe will make you feel a little less envious, but also more aware of what traveling actually entails. It’s not all sunsets and sangria and shit.

  1.  I spent my first night in Salamanca in my room, not talking to my host family except for my “mom’s” grand daughter, Chloe. This little girl ordered me around and made me do weird exercises she must have learned in class. Chloe then proceeded to draw all over the only paper I had brought for class. COOL. I ended up crying that night in bed because I missed Madrid (not even missing home, sorry guys).
  2. *This is a bit more personal but get over it. You can handle it if you’re not a middle school boy* I ran out of tampons my first day of class in Salamanca.  SOOO I had to ask my host father to take me to the pharmacy without telling him what the hell I needed. I get in there, and in front of two grown men I had to try to explain what the fuck a tampon was because I didn’t know the word for tampon in Spanish. The two of them looked at me like I had two heads, until they finally realized what I needed. The guy at the pharmacy actually kept looking at me like a freak, as he was super offended and told me to go to a woman’s pharmacy. Super embarrassed, I was red all over and had to go to two other stores with my host father. P.S. just in case you ever need to know, the word for tampon in Spanish is “tampone” fml
  3. When I was in Granada in the south of Spain, I was walking down the street by myself and this old woman came up to me. She handed me a rosemary sprig and told me it was “un regalo” meaning “a gift.” I was like ok…. thanks and tried to leave. Before I could, she read my palm in Spanish while smiling at me with nearly no teeth. When she was done, I turned to leave and she grabbed my wrist and told me “pagame” , pay me! All I could think was “what the hell is going on, I’m a broke college student even in Spain.” She told me I owed her five euro. A car came down the road in between us. I saw my chance to break free. Just kidding! She proceeded to chase me down the street while screaming at me. Moral of the story everyone, don’t fucking take rosemary from old women in Spain.
  4. what is up with my face here what am I doing

    I went to Alhambra by myself and there were a ton of couples and groups of people. Me being me, I didn’t think much of it until I wanted to take pictures of myself in cool places. I  looked like the most miserable selfie taker in the world; perpetually single and taking terrible photos. If I was given the option to for the day, I would have rented a stand-in boyfriend despite the fact that I’m a strong independent woman. Even the guards asked me if I was by myself, and took pity on me when they found out I was just a little American girl wandering around in one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world. Still cool af though. Also, my phone died halfway through my time there, so I had to hide in the bathroom after I found an outlet to charge it. I pretended to do my mascara for a good twenty minutes so I could stay in there.

    super awkward girl
  5. This story is sort of scary and I highly recommend ladies that when you are in any foreign country, be careful. I was at my hostel in Madrid, not Sungate One of course, but another one. The guy who was sleeping in the bunk bed above me came down after I had gotten back from a bar crawl. He was also quite drunk, and tried to grab me and kiss me once he heard me speaking. I pushed him away firmly and told him to go the fuck to bed. He realized I was American and said to me “I’ve never been with an American” and all I could think so say was “Well you’re not fucking going to are you?” It was scary, and I should have told management, but I was drunk and there were others in the room so if I yelled for help I would have gotten it. The next morning he apologized, but it was probably the worst day I had in Spain because of him.
  6. I realize I haven’t yet written about Barcelona, but that’s probably because I didn’t do much there. I got to go on a few adventures. For the most part though, I was in my room writing papers. On the fourth of July, I literally spent the entire night reading for class the next day. I think the real kicker though was having the laundry machine break down while my clothes were in it. I paid two euro to use the washer, only for it to not drain OR rinse the soap out of my clothes. I had to rinse each article of clothing individually and hang them all up. A maid at the student housing unit told me the dryer actually worked, so I took all my lovely five hundred articles of clothing and stuffed them into a …. BROKEN DRYER only to take them out and hang them all up again. I hated Barcelona for a couple of days honestly after that.
  7. My final story, which I fully intend to write more about, happened in Tres Cantos. I went out with a group of guy friends, one of which I’m very close with (Javier). The club we went to cost fifteen euro, that was some bullshit, but whatever. I started dancing after getting a drink, and everything was going really well…. until I tried dancing with one of the guys. One thing to know about dancing with a guy in Spain is that it means you’re interested in JUST them. You don’t dance with someone unless you like them. My American ignorance was shining when the guy went in and tried to stick his tongue down my throat. I pulled away and nearly ran out of the club. He ended up sitting down for the rest of the night, super upset. Javier explained it all to me. “Don’t dance unless you WANT them.” Oh god, that’s so intense. I didn’t end up dancing again, or going out for the rest of my time in Spain.

There are definitely more stories to share, and more depressing or weird things I could share with you. I personally believe if you can’t take the good with the bad, don’t travel. This is life; it’s not like you can simply escape everything in a beautiful place. I learned that really quickly, but I would still go back, still continue seeing the world.

The pile of bad things I just shared take nothing away from my immense pile of good things I share with you and keep for myself.