I moved back to Spain a few weeks ago, after living the last year and a half, back home in Huntington Beach, California. Now I’m back in Spain, where I had worked for 3 years, before coming back. I have a newsletter about the work that I do here.

So yesterday I planned to mail my newsletter, only thing is, I’m in Spain. Back in Riverside I could easily copy my newsletter on a thumb drive, drive 3 minutes to Office Depot, with it’s huge parking lot, and take it straight to the Post Office, here it’s taken me 2 straight days to do this!

Yesterday I went to my co-worker’s house to see if I could borrow a pen-drive, but my computer was going super slow and I hadn’t brought my power-chord, since I thought it would take 2 seconds to save my Word document onto the pen-drive. Well Frank was super helpful and after trying to help me save the document, which was slow to open, he decided we should run a Disk Scan and Defrag of my computer, which, since then is running better than yesterday, but, my battery was being spent and the window of time to drive into Sevilla before the Print Shop that I like, closes for Siesta. So after the disk scan the computer took a long time restarting, so we were waiting with baited breath to try to save the Word Document onto the Pen-drive. The computer, once it had restarted started going grey, saying “5% of Battery Remaining”. Well, before we could save it, the computer shut down, so I had to take the pen-drive and laptop back to my apartment, which meant driving through the traffic which was stopped for the big fair in town, when the Spaniard have fun smoking and drinking and parading horses around the fairground by the great River Guadalquivir. So I got home and the clock was ticking past 1:20pm, which meant charging my computer, saving the file and driving into Sevilla and finding parking and getting to the Print Shop before closing time at 2 pm was unlikely. So I had to wait until siesta was over, until 5pm. At 5pm I set out to enter into the chaos of Downtown Sevilla. I found the Avenue that I needed, but there was no parking at all, in fact, in many places people were double parked, which made it hard to navigate the streets, since I needed to be in the right lane to look for a parking spot, but it was easy to get stuck behind a car that would stop and park abruptly and illegally, and it would be hard to pull back out into traffic. I had to go down some side streets which were equally treacherous with Delivery trucks stopping two directions of traffic when they would park in narrow streets which were already comical with traffic trying to go both ways on a very narrow street, and then the enraged motorists were honking at the delivery trucks to move out of the street so they could get by. Finally I found my way to Plaza de Cuba, by the Triana Bridge, and I was able to get myself into the underground parking garage. It was worth the 95 cents to find a good parking place out of the hot Sevilla sun! From there I had to walk way down Avenida Republica Argentina, which is lined with stores and banks and even the big newspaper, “El Mundo”, has it’s offices there. So it was closer to 6pm when I got into the Print Shop, and I was sweating. At the CopyCentr, they were great as usual, printing my prayer letters in good quality and a great price for color. I was waiting 10 minutes after the printing was done, as 2 ladies were having trouble printing the invoice for me and other customers. When they finally brought me the bill, one lady was telling the other lady to apologize to me for the wait, and the other lady was like: “I don’t want to, you apologize to him” I heard them, maybe they thought that I don’t speak Spanish, but I laughed when the lady said that, and they laughed too, realizing that I heard and understood.

I spent the evening writing a little personal message on each prayer letter, then this morning I went to mail them. But, being that I’m in Spain, the post office was closed for the Fair. They close everything for any reason that they can make up. So I had to drive into the next city, Coria del Rio. It had been over a year and a half since I had tried to navigate the congested and narrow main streets of Coria. Coria has streets the size of our American suburbs, problem is, they have the volume of cars of Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles! So I wasn’t even sure where the post office was anymore, I had dropped my roommate there before, so I had to do guessing. I took a guess and turned east of the main street, and then a left onto the next main street, and there I found the post office at the top of the hill. I found a parking spot in front of an Aunto Shop, I asked if I could park where it was, and the Mechanic said: “How long will you be?” He was nice. I said “No mas diez minutes” and he said “Vale”, “Sure” he said. So I successfully found parking, which is a great achievement in Spain. In the post office there was a line going out the door, I asked where the line ended, since some women were sitting but keeping track of their place in line, and reminding people where they were in the line. There was one Muslim woman when I came in, and no one really would try asking her about the line, maybe since the Spanish men aren’t sure if they can talk to a Muslim woman with her head covered, or maybe they didn’t know if she spoke Spanish, but then a friend of hers, who was also a Muslim woman came in, and she got real loud, speaking Arabic excitedly to her friend. She was happy at that point, telling some story to her friend, but the rest of the post office fell silent, as it seemed the Spaniards were alienated by the speaking of Arabic in the echoing marble post office. Finally I got to the front of the line and I was suddenly scared that they might not accept Visa as payment. The total came to 29 Euros, and I had 30 Euros in my wallet. Thank you God, I appreciate it when you come through with the small details!


One thought on “Culture Shock: Back in Spain

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