When I was younger, I would go to the chiropractor with my mom every week. She would get her back cracked and so did I. We’d go see Dr. K and he would straighten us out. It was from him I learned the importance of “adjusting”; for my crooked spine and just to life. I learned the general benefits his adjustments had on my overall health – less back pain, improved mental faculties, fewer headaches – and the general benefit my ability to adjust would have on my overall quality of life – less pain, improved personal faculties, fewer headaches. I stopped seeing Dr. K when I went away to college and stopped getting adjustments all together. I’d try to crack my own back, but it wasn’t the same.
When I lived at home this summer, I started seeing Dr. K again and could feel the difference in my body on the weeks I didn’t go. I was tenser. My back hurt. I had lower overall energy; the list goes on. I moved to Spain two months ago and find myself again without Dr. K, but still in need of adjustments. Maybe to my back, but really just to life here on the other side of the world. I find myself trying to figure out how to be here. Intellectualizing and interrogating something I didn’t expect to stir up so much in me. Moving somewhere, especially abroad, is so much deeper than what they tell you on Instagram.
I have to carry cash here because few places take card. Small bills and coins though- shops won’t always have change. Things happen slowly, like my DSL line taking two months to arrive. Dinner isn’t until eight or nine o’clock in the evening. Bedtime is even later. Restaurants don’t serve a lot of vegetables beside salad, so I’m extra mindful to incorporate them into my meals at home. Bureaucracy is slow and I can’t just throw money at a problem. Directions are confusing. Administrative workers often give seemingly contrary instructions making figuring out what to actually do a hot mess. Nothing is straightforward. There’s all this stuff I can’t do because it’s simply out of my hands.
I apparently speak Latin American, not peninsular Spanish, and believe me when I tell you there are differences. Where can I find hair products for my type 4 kinks? There are different shops for everything. Groceries get their own store. Hardware has its own too. No Walmarts, Targets or other mass production. Everything is local, fresh. I have a Spanish SIM in my phone, but it’s pay-as-you-go because my work contract isn’t long enough for me to get a phone contract. I probably spent $60+ on phone data in a month.
There’s this feeling of outside pressure to document everything because people will have questions. When really, I just want to fall off the face of the earth. Journey on in silence. How do I explain how Spain is to someone who’s never done something like move all the way across the world? I’m not even sure I fully know how Spain is yet. It’s good. It’s in process. It’s beautiful. It’s deeply frustrating. I’m becoming someone here, but I can’t tell you who or how or why. I’ve never been good at documenting the process as it happens. I’ll need the benefit of hindsight to get perspective. I’m taking notes and I’m keeping track, but I have no clue what it is I’m supposed to do with all that.
I can’t go see Dr. K for an adjustment. I have to do the work myself this time. Work of reminding myself I don’t have to learn how to be here; I just have to be here. Giving way to the changes as they come – adjusting inside, and out.