What a sunny 3 months can teach you

When I look back over the past few years, I try to think of the fonder memories rather than the more unpleasant ones. My mind always wanders to my first summer away from home -summer of 2009 when I did my first internship in Marbella Spain.

Although I could only stay for 3 months as a non EU national, I would not hesitate to call them the best 3 months of my life to date. I spend carefree days working (the job was relatively easy), time in the sun, sightseeing and going to bars and nightclubs. I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of experience I was getting, and by how much I was learning. I found that Spanish people are amongst the warmest people I have ever met. Even though there is a quite a strong language barrier, I realized how different their lifestyle is t ours here in North America. The “fastpaced-always in a hurry – no time to breathe” does not exist there. Once, I was twenty minutes late for work, and I ran in all apologetic and ready to be yelled at. The reply I got when I offered to work later was “Don’t worry, nobody noticed”

cobblestone streets in TarifaGoing out with the Spanish is completely different from going out for drinks in North America. They genuinely do it for social purposes – to have a chat and a laugh, and to a enjoy. Now that was a lifestyle that I got used to. Not having a ton of stress from work and leading a laid back life. Someone recently asked me “If they are more relaxed there, do you think they suffer less from high blood pressure?” I laughed at first, but when I thought about it, I figured maybe they do. When I left Marbella, I felt like I had a sumer holiday with only a bit of work to keep me occupied.

If we take the time to travel, and observe when we do, what we can learn from foreign cultures is infinate. You then start to question you own lifestyle. Am I living the right way? Do I pay too much attention to issues that are less important? Do I treat those around me the way I should? Oprah always says “Live your best life.” Learning more from others who are different from you is one of the best ways to achieve “your best life.”

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