When I got accepted into the Spain study abroad, I can’t help but imagine God chuckling to himself and saying, “Boy am I going to grow her there.” I am probably one of the most type A people you’ll ever meet. My schedules have schedules. My lists have lists. I literally have lists of things I need to make lists of. I love fitting as much into a day as possible.
When I packed my bags and sat my type A self down on that plane, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew that the Spanish culture was relaxed, but this? Inconceivable. Trying to register has been quite the mess. I’d go to the office, only to be told it was closed. I’d return the next day to find out the person I would need wasn’t there. Then I’d return the next day and to find out that I had missed a step and needed to go somewhere else first. Repeat 50 times more and that’s Spain for you. It’s a scavenger hunt with a pat on the back as a consolation prize.
It's also difficult to be patient when time is held so loosely here. When you say 7 p.m., that really means 7:15-7:30 in Spanish time. In the United States, 7 p.m. means 6:50-and-don’t-you-dare-arrive-at-7-or-else. However, I learned the lesson of waiting time after time as Spaniards I met here continued to show up late.
Before Spain, I was never troubled by my impatience. In fact, I glorified it. In the United States, it’s common—expected even—to be impatient. We like things quick and fast. We don’t like meals that go on for hours or people who arrive more than two minutes past the expected time. We loathe long lines and we hate to walk due to its inefficiency. It’s ‘cool’ to be impatient.
However, here, it just doesn’t fly. Waiting is inevitable here, and impatience only leads to unnecessary anger (which is displeasing to the Lord). I’ve learned to wait and stay calm. I learned that patience IS a virtue, contrary to American thought. The real challenge is to make sure I can keep this virtue up when I return to the USA. With God, though, all things are possible.