I went to a very creative seminar on how to be more creative. At the same time, my friend's daughter is blogging about her school program in Chile. Both of these made me think of that one time...
Writing about how beautiful everything was, how strange, how I really missed home, how I wish I had chosen a different roommate, how I was having a hard time adjusting to my host family and the language, how was I going to deal for a year, and how I was afraid I was going to be robbed by a gypsy at any moment.
A high school-aged Madrilena approached me. She just walked up to me to see what I was doing. I was a little freaked out...but she didn't look like a gypsy, so I relaxed.
I spoke in broken Spanish, I told her I was estudiando en la universidad and she asked me what I saw. What I saw? My mind was blown by everything I had seen so far. But I was scared to let go.
She said, in broken English, "You're here. Take a look. There is so much." She left me by the fountain.
I don't know why she made a beeline for me that day. Perhaps she had a future in the Spanish tourism field. Or it was meant to be. Because I remembered those words (obviously) and really looked around Madrid after that.
I started to let go. I put away my Reeboks with the straps and American jeans, and adopted some Madrileno fashion (at the time, short plaid or bubble or flouncy skirts and sheer black hose) that I found in little shops on my street and at Zara. I went to happy hours at bars with my classmates. I loosened up a little and the language started to flow. The art appreciation kicked in, and I ate anything that was put in front of me.
I recently made a remark to someone that I haven't been creative in ages. In fact, the most creative thing I've done recently was to make my standard to-do list, then do the things out of order. That's really tearin' it up, right?
I relished the mundane and routine for a while, but I'm ready to mix it up. Taking a look around is a good start.
Fear has kept me from looking around and getting to creative. Just like the fear I felt when I was new to Madrid. Shed the fear and the ability to create can come.
Salty D. just said this point-blank last night: "Write your blog."
"But..." I said, "but I should shut it down. What if someone reads it? A future employer? THE GOVERNMENT?"
"So what?" said D. "They're not going to care. Just write."
Caution to the wind.