“Why can’t I be just like that when I’m at home?” I wondered over my cup of tea.
It was Saturday evening. I just arrived from my day trip to the Sierra Nevada National Park where I had a wonderful day hiking and enjoying the view of Granada in the far back and of the snow peek of Pico Veleta ahead of me.
I’ve just realised how happy I was, happy as I’ve never been actually. I spent the day smiling from ear to ear, feeling
stress-free the least anxious I’ve ever felt.
That same morning, my boyfriend and I woke up at 7:00 am, ate our breakfast and headed to the bus station which was a 50 minutes walk from our hostel. As always, we had planned to arrive 45 minutes before our bus was supposed to leave to have plenty of time in case something goes wrong.
Which obviously happened.
When we arrived at what was supposed to be the bus station according to google map, we had no idea where to go next as our bus was definitely not there. There were bus stops, but it wasn’t a bus station and it wasn’t where we were supposed to be. Fortunately for us, we still had 40 minutes ahead of us to resolve that problem and to get in time.
But we didn’t have Internet, the bus station wasn’t obvious on the cellphone’s map, and there were no one to ask directions to. Too early I guess. Simon looked quickly at his emails, eyeing our seat reservations and realised that two different directions were given, one on the email he received as a confirmation and another on our tickets. You bet they weren’t the same.
While I remained really calm, trying to figure out where to go on a map pinned on a bus stop, my boyfriend started pacing, trying to get Internet from nowhere to fix this situation.
“Are you stressed?” I asked him. I’ve never seen him like this before. As the time passed by, he started to sigh louder and louder in discouragement.
“Of course, I’m stressed-out” he rushed. “We’re about to miss our bus and I can’t get Internet, plus the directions on both the email I received and on our tickets aren’t the same. For what I know, we could be kilometers from our destination.”
And then it hit me. I was totally aware that we might miss our bus and that we might not go on that day trip that I was planning to do since we first decided to go to Granada. Still, I didn’t feel a little bit anxious about that possibility. I would have been sad of course, but I just didn’t see the point of being stressed about that, knowing that the worst that could happen was that we wouldn’t go hiking in the National Park, but that we could still do it next time we would be traveling in Spain.
See, I’ve always been the anxious one in our couple. I am the one who can’t even answer the door when a pizza is delivered, the one who doesn’t drive because I’m too afraid of what could happen if I hit someone – which is unlikely to happen, I know -, the one who dropped her bachelor for one class that I couldn’t do because I am too afraid to speak in front of people, the one who struggles to pick up the phone if it is not from my closest family member, the one who glances side-ways wherever I go because I feel I’m too weird to be in here, the one who acts like I have schizophrenia or something, and the list goes on and on.
But at that precise moment, searching for the bus station, I was feeling a lot of things except anxiety.
Can you realise how relieved I was?
While drinking my cup of tea, I lost myself in thoughts, wondering why I couldn’t be as stress-free when I am at home as I was feeling now.
I picked up my cup to my lips, half hiding my smile behind it, the one who was overflown by all of the achievements I realised since I landed in Europe 5 weeks ago.
Since my arrival, I’ve spoken to perfect strangers who were at the same hostel as me; I’ve tried new dishes such as tapas – which I had no idea what it was – and lots of new restaurants; I have spoken in spanish even if mine is far from good – I understand it but my vocabulary has been forgotten over the years; I’ve tried blablacar which was promising me silences filled with tension and awkwardness as my social skills aren’t what I usually bet on; and I’ve understood Spain’s and UK’s bus network.
This might not feel like a big deal to you, but all of these little achievements are the reason why I feel so happy and content of myself right now. Like I could fill my purse of courage and achieve a lot of things that would normally stress me out at home.
The best part is knowing that I have a month and a half left in Europe again. A month and a half in which I know I will accomplish even more not-so-anxious moments. A month and a half to build up my self-confidence. A month and a half to be as happy as I am right now.
And I can tell you: it feels really good.