Fish Out of Water

By: Sammy Johnson

When I reflect over my first week in Alicante, I connect with the concept of “fish out of water” very closely. The language barrier drastically challenges things. I find myself practicing what I will say to my host family before I walk up to them and try invoking conversation. My mind is filled with so many simple questions. However, putting them into words, particularly Spanish words, proves to be daunting for me. My Spanish dictionary is now my best friend. Thankfully my sisters here help teach my Spanish. As I teach them English, they practice Spanish with me. Day by day I learn more and more. Learning more Spanish allows me to learn more about the Alicante culture. Although most Spaniards in Alicante wear slippers in their home, my host family told me how they did not conform with this tradition. As their children get older, they are trying to integrate this habit of wearing slippers or shores in the house. I notice so far that the children still do not do so. I have also learned that most people here use olive oil with everything, from toast to potatoes to broccoli. I remind myself over and over that their habits and culture is not strange, it is different. Not good-different or bad-different, just different.

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