I forgot my Mom's birthday. What's worse is that while it was her birthday, I was thousands of kilometres away celebrating my neighbours' birthdays. Three weeks later, I finally sent her a card and a video greeting.
In school, students asked about the welfare of my family in the Philippines. My response: “...uh, what typhoon?” You see, I don't watch the news. I can't understand the rapid Spanish anyway. And because no one in my immediate family was affected, I never received a message from my parents.
When I was living in Canada, I was obsessed with keeping up with the latest fashion and beauty trends. Here, I feel dressed up on days when I'm NOT wearing my running shoes. I had forgotten about my appearance until I arrived at the bar one evening, and a Madrid friend asked “Uh, you're going to change before we go out to the pub, right?” Even after he said that, for a few minutes I thought there was nothing wrong with my hand-me-down knitted cardigan, wrinkled shirt, messy hair, and – you guessed it – running shoes.
|I'm pretty sure my Canadian friends want to kill me right now.|
In my pueblo, it's easy for me to forget the outside world that is revolving at dizzying speed, while here I amble slowly to work, only use the internet when I'm near Wi-Fi, refuse to mark papers while I enjoy a three-course lunch, and follow the stores' siesta time when they all close at 2 p.m. for a few hours. I stop while I walk to work to marvel at the way the sun's setting light is shadowing the Sierra's crevices. I feel at peace as I walk home alone at night, pausing to admire stars that I could never see in the city.
Sometimes I feel like I'm not living in reality, like I'm on a perma-vacation. There still exists a pressure inside of me to climb the corporate ladder, keep up with trends, hurry up and get a boyfriend, move fast, fast, fast. At times, this voice yells LOUDLY inside of me. But 99% of the time, it's non-existent. Moving to the pueblo quieted the internal critic.