The Spanish cure
The fear came without warning. I woke up one morning and there it was, darting around like a squirrel in my head. How will my husband manage while I’m gone? Never mind that: how will *I* manage without him? When I get mugged in Brazil, will my attackers be carrying a knife or a gun? Fantasies that normally gave me an anticipatory thrill, like scoring a B&B on the fly or getting lost in a maze of Gothic streets, filled me with dread. Maybe I just didn’t have the heart for this anymore.
The next day was the same, and the day after that even worse. Deep breathing didn’t help. Meditation didn’t help. (Not that I gave it more than two minutes.) I tried to recapture the mounting excitement that had marked the previous weeks, but the squirrel wouldn’t leave.
I shouldn’t have been surprised. Until recently, this Brazil thing had been no more than a pleasant abstraction, a notion to toss around at summer barbecues. But then I started taking steps: getting my yellow fever vaccine, gathering documentation for my visa, settling on the city where I would live. This was no longer a barbecue topic. This was a leap into the unknown, into disruption, into chaos.
A week into the squirrel thing, I had to go to Barcelona for work. Determined to regain some confidence, I tacked on a couple of days of touring at the end of the trip. When I arrived in a nearby town called Girona, I resolved to speak only Spanish to the locals, even though my Spanish was more than rusty and everything I said came out as Spantuguese. As it turned out, I still knew enough of the language to fend off an old man (you know, someone in his sixties) who insisted on showing me “the great view” from his apartment.
Back in Barcelona, I spent the last night of the trip in a hostel, where I shared a room with four other people. “One of my roommates is snoring like a jack-hammer,” I texted my husband at 4 a.m. “Next time, your own room!” he texted back. At that moment I agreed with him, but I’ve since changed my mind. There’s nothing like staying in a hostel to make you feel young.
I’m happy to report that the squirrel is gone. Maybe it will come back, maybe it won’t. Either way, this trip to Spain has shown me that Brazil isn’t too big for me.
#Brazil #Spain #solotravel