This post was contributed by Rachel Gallagher.
I’m sitting in my tiled sala (that’s Spanish for living room, everyone) this Thursday morning, munching on fresh eggplant ravioli that cost me just under $2.00. Yes, imported ravioli from Italy that cost under two mofo’n dollars. Drizzled in local honey that, again, was under $2.00. I can say without an ounce of doubt that miraculously, after years of reaching for it, I am living my absolute best life here in Valencia, Spain. In the middle of a pandemic.
Now, don’t get me wrong, quarantine was tough. In Spain we were stuck inside from mid March until mid June, only allowed out for semi regular trips to the shop for food (America, take notes, please). We couldn’t leave the house most days, there was no escape. No yard, no car, no park. I could’ve gone crazy, but instead I picked up embroidery, digital art, and tried my hand at going viral on Tik Tok. Yeah, we couldn’t go to the beach, wander around the charming alleyways in the old town nor stop to gaze up at the city’s elegant cathedrals (oh, Europe), but I did sit at home eating $0.80 fresh mozzarella balls and Valencian tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil. Oh yeah, Spanish olive oil. When it started to get hot, I bought gallon cartons of gazpacho, because yeah I can do that here.
When I did interact with the rare stranger, who was always a cashier at the shop, my tongue stumbled over Spanish words like I’d never spoken the language before! After years of studying Spanish, a few months of quarantine in my American head threw me for a loop. Sentences as simple as Quieres bolsa? (Do you want a bag?) left me frozen. I barely know how to talk to friends in English anymore, let alone Spanish… be gone, quarantine brain!
My tongue stumbled over Spanish words like I’d never spoken the language before!
I’m starting fresh after quarantine. Fresh pasta, fresh Spanish practice, fresh air coming in through the windows in my apartment. When the year started I’d never have expected a pandemic to hit while living abroad, but now that it has, boy oh boy am I grateful to be here. Cheap food, cheap rent, and now that the bars are opening back up again, cheap drinks on beautiful terrazas! No matter the situation, there’s always a silver lining. And living abroad, mine happens to be thicc!
Has anyone else experienced any unexpected silver linings during quarantine? Time at home with family? Or did you get stuck in an unexpected place? Let me know in the comments down below!