Lanzarote, Canary Islands: Challenging Assumptions

 

Optimized-Casual dinnersLanzarote – such a tiny island with such a huge impact on my life. I came there with no expectations. All I wanted was to work and learn Spanish, but…

From the first moment I came there, felt different because I didn’t speak the local language. I had some basics, but expected that this will take a lot of time to manage the language. Was I rejected because of that? On the contrary, people talked to me slower, explaining all the words, repeating If needed and NEVER laughed at me or showed dissatisfaction. Step by step they helped me to master the new language and adapt cultural differences, which was the basic what I needed in order to integrate. No more weird moments!

Parties – inseparable part of the island’s life. You attend them sometimes more often than planned. I was asked not only go together to the clubs, restaurants, but also – house parties. I felt truly privileged to be a part of their groups. As a vegetarian, didn’t want to come to the barbecue parties, because for me  it sounded too problematic. Have they thought this is problematic? Not at all. They’ve asked me in, baked vegetables and told me never think that I might be a problem for someone. So, the next thing I’m very grateful for is accepting me for who I am. This had such a big influence, because now, no matter where I go, tell everybody that I’m vegetarian and I’m proud of It.

Another thing that fascinated me that much was that I was treated like a real woman there. I am from eastern Europe and men there are really spoiled, they don’t even try to do something for a woman. In Lanzarote, it was totally different. They paid for the meals, took me to the most beautiful places and didn’t expect anything back. All they wanted was to make you happy and just to be with you. Now I know what It’s like to be treated like a queen and this attention is not like in Turkey, Egypt or other similar countries. This is a sincere fascination.

I’m very thankful to this culture for teaching me relaxation. No, I’m talking not about relaxing while meditating or enjoying SPA procedures. This is a more relaxed attitude. Before coming there I was so stressed. Every single rush seemed the most important and If something happened not according to the plan – I simply freaked out. In the beginning, It was hard to adapt that calmness. It seemed too much delaying. I asked them to fill in documents and they promised to do it next day, week, month. I thought that they are so reckless. However, what I’ve noticed later is that world doesn’t fall apart if you come 5 minutes later or if you send documents 2 days later. This isn’t disrespectful as we might think, this is flexibility. Basically it could be called – more thinking about yourself, but not selfishness. Here’s a thin line between these two, but once there, you know how to separate them. Trust me, this new attitude helps me save some extra energy, which would be wasted while stressing out because of things you cannot change.

Last, but not least is romantic awareness. Now I know what’s a true love. No, I’m not talking about serenades (though that would be nice) or crying lover begging for love on his knees. It is not what we saw in soap operas! I had a chance to feel a real love there. Nowadays, romantic people are equaled to boring. These who want to become friends first – time wasters. In the 21st century we have no time for that, right? However, true relationship is so important. Me and my boyfriend started from being just good friends who came to the movies or picnics, were strolling on the beach every evening and did all other “old fashioned” stuff. Later, I let him hold my hand, even later he dared to kiss me…It all evolved into something deep and very special. These people back there know how to love, that’s what I know for sure.

To sum up, despite work and language I’ve learned essential lessons. My opinion about Spanish people is mistaken. No, they’re not slackers celebrating fiestas and drinking Sangria 24/7! I’m talking about those lovely islanders who taught me to believe in myself, who showed what the true friendship and love is. I will always appreciate that, because it totally changed my life.

About the Author: Egle Kudriavcevaite: I used to write travel articles for some time. Now I write about anything what inspires me. The most inspirational are different cultures, people and breathtaking views.

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