In 2003, I lived in Zaragoza, Spain. It was an unforgettable experience that will stay with me for life. I wish I could talk about everything I loved so much about the people and the culture, but that would be for a book, not a blog. So for today, I’ll talk about just two of the things that left an impression…
The “guapa” phenomenon: Everyday in Spain is a good self-esteem day. Whether you are a super-model or the homeliest thing on two legs, a woman walks into a room full of friends and is greeted with, “Hola, guapa!” (“Hello, good-lookin’!”). How can that not put you in a good mood? The best part is that it wouldn’t always stop there. Women friends would dote on each other, complimenting, talking about the things they like about one another (quite sincerely). Spanish people just love to share the spotlight! Their emotional generosity, in that respect, shed a lot of light on that dark place in my heart that simply isn't accustomed to the degree of humility that it takes to regularly get over myself long enough to look a friend square in the face and tell her how valuable she is. Thanks for the lesson, mis chicas!
The “tranquila” effect: “Tranquila” quickly became my favorite Spanish word. Living overseas, trying to function in a culture that isn’t yours, and speaking a language that is, well…foreign, can make for some pretty stressful moments. Sometimes those moments came more often than others, but any time I got my knickers in a twist, there was inevitably a kind-hearted Spaniard there to say, “Tracy, ¡tranquila!” (“Be tranquil,Tracy!). It was never said in a condescending tone…not at all. It always felt like someone offering me a tall, cool glass of lemonade and inviting me to recline on a chaise lounge. Ahhhh.
Guapa. Tranquila. Now, imagine those two words used in one sentence together, spoken to you on a regular basis. I’m feeling better, already! No wonder Spain is known for it relaxed vibe and good times!
Guapas, I hope your weekend is muy tranquila!