3:53pm at Madrid Atocha Station
Talk about a roller coaster of emotion. Despite the times I absolutely love what I am doing and where I am, I often question why I decided to do this alone. I hate that I cannot understand what anyone around me is saying. I hate that no one is friendly. I hate that they talk to me like I am a complete incompetent person. I hate that no one is helpful despite my desperate pleas with broken French or Spanish. I hate the train systems and how it is not clear to any English speaker what to do or where to go or where to get off. I hate that I have no one to vent my frustrations to. I hate walking around with my heavy luggage. I hate that I am spending all this money to feel like absolute shit when things do not go well. I hate that I just spend 9 euros on a 3 course meal at a cafeteria because I am an idiot and ordered incorrectly. Now I have to force this gross food down my throat so I am not wasteful and so I won’t have to buy dinner when I get to Granada. I hate that the lady who I reserved my Eurail tickets with is giving me attitude when I ask essential questions like – where do I catch the train or how long is the journey from Seville to Barcelona, why is that a stupid question??? I hate that people glare at me when I try to store my little suitcase in the overhead compartment – everyone else is doing it! With even bigger suitcases! I hate that I get stared at wherever I go. I hate that no one smiles. I hate being a complete outsider. I hate being that foreigner that no one has patience for.
… 30 min later…
WOW. May I just say (without sounding like a complete crazy person), somebody or something is definitely watching over me.
I cannot believe what just happened.
So I am sitting here on the verge of tears writing about all the negative feelings I have (as you just read), and these two beautiful Spanish kids start peeping from the partition behind me. The girls are giggling and smiling at me. I turn around and I am at first annoyed, understandably with my current grumpy state of mind but I decide to say hola and smile back. The girl’s names are Maria, age 7 and Lucia, age 5 and they are with their grandparents who are having their meal a few tables away. They do not seem to be bothered that their girls are chatting a stranger up. They are intrigued about what I am writing and insist that I keep writing so they can watch. I can barely understand them and they can barely understand me, but the three of us laugh together at random things. I show them photos of Charlie. Maria can speak a little English so they are trying to teach + correct my Spanish, while they ask for me to do the same for them with their English. Their abuelos call for them, as it is time to catch their train. They say adios and give me the biggest smiles as they run off waving. I still feel like crying. A little because I am still frustrated and a little because of the glimmer of hope from these girls, to remind me of something that I have forgotten… that its really not that bad!