Finding Balance in the Whirlwind that is Granada
From the moment I set foot in Granada, it has been a whirlwind of activity. After collecting the keys to my room and following a map to the dormitory, I was greeted by two of my new roommates, Noha, and Egyptian girl, and Marketa, a German girl. They showed me to my room and offered to take me to the market.
After grabbing as many fruits and vegetables as I could, we sat down at the neighboring cafe. To my surprise, a trio of musicians began to play Flamenco music. The joy and passion of the music overwhelmed me. I felt like getting up to dance. I had to restrain myself. My head was spinning with all of the colors and sounds.
And Granada has been like that ever since. So many things calling, enticing. The shops are filled with exotic, artesan-made goods, the food is flavorful and cheap… there are shows to see, places to visit… It seems that everyone is running from one passion to the next.
Everything now revolves around dance class or practicing…
Tapas with a random German guy. Why not?
Can you guess what this is?
Spain is a mountainous country and Granada is no exception. Everywhere you go, you are walking up and down hills. So, it feels like going to the gym 4-5 times a day for 15-30 minutes at a time. My body has had to adjust to a change in diet, exhaustion, pain from walking on cobble stones constantly, and dehydration. It was only when I tried to work that I noticed that it was difficult to focus and concentrate. I didn’t panic. I just started thinking about what could be contributing to it. I wasn’t drinking enough water. So, I started boiling water and saving it in a container. I wasn’t eating enough, so I started cooking food in advance so I could eat more regularly.
It was really nice that people included me in activities. But, I also found it very easy to fall into other people’s agendas. There came a point where I just had to say “Enough!” I took a day to just relax and regroup. My word for the day was “slow.” Since then I have been checking in with my body and my own priorities before getting involved in anything. I remind myself that I can here to learn Flamenco, which means my feet need to be rested. I need sufficient food, energy, and sleep.
Which is not to say that I’m not having any fun. I’m just pacing myself. I’m going to see things alone sometimes, when it fits my schedule. Yesterday, I went on a walk to the Sacromonte, a neighborhood with an amazing view of the city. As I walked toward the top of the mountain, I passed huge cactuses growing wild. All along the way I passed ramshackle homes made out of all kinds of materials. Some seemed very random and wild looking. On the opposite side of the mountain, there were cave homes built right into the mountain. I wondered if I had stumbled into a gypsy encampment…
Everything now revolves around dance class or practicing. Last night I hung out with my housemates on the roof, people from all different countries, and listened to the guitar students and a master guitar player create the most amazing Spanish guitar melodies. When everyone got ready to leave at 10 pm for a concert, I excused myself and went to bed so that I would be ready to practice dancing the next day. And that’s the life of a Flamenco student and writer in Granada.