30 January 2013

Resident. Resident in Spain.

I got a Spanish social security number today.

It was the least painful bit of paperwork I've done so far (the only complicated part is finding a job because 25% of Spain is currently unemployed). You just have to bring your ID and job contract to the social security office. Ten minutes and some small talk later, you have a SSN.

Here a SSN means you have health care. When the friendly lady at the office told me that, I was like 'I have healthcare in another country.'

And I have an apartment. And a job. And a school. And a printing press.

It's a weird feeling, folks. Right now, there aren't that many things I can do in the US that I can't do here (vote is the only one I can think of off the top of my head). I am a resident.

It's been really interesting to meet American expats who have lived here for a long time. Because, on paper it looks like I have moved across the world in a pretty big way, like I'm one of them! And I'm more documented than a lot of people I've met who plan to stay here permanently.

But I definitely don't want to be an expat -- I am American and I want to live mostly in ammerrica. And also I really like Spain and right now I am here.

What is inspiring to me is to see Catalan people move so seamlessly between cultures. Nothing about daily life being bilingual seems to faze them.

On the other hand, the newly trilingual nature of my daily life means that I have yet to have a day in three months where I don't spend a few hours feeling overwhelmed or confused about what's going on.

Today, for example, I taught an English grammar class (in Spanish). Later I hung out with an American friend (in English!!!). Then I went to my bookbinding class (in Catalan). Then I came home to an apartment full of Peruvian people who speak Spanish SO FAST. And it's Peruvian.

So I am just packing the languages and experiences in good and tight, and trying to enjoy the more crowded version of my brain. I don't think it's wrong to analyze and compare culture, but for me, now is the time to just be grateful to be in this city and try and soak it all in.

No comments:

Post a Comment