A closer look, my initial reaction by Annamarie Montecalvo

At Ohio University, it isn’t uncommon to see many students walking with their heads down. One may ask why they are walking with their heads down, and sadly, the answer is simple. The eyes and hands of these students are glued to their cell phones as if what they are reading is more important than their surroundings. Sadly, I am one of these students. I can’t deny that I often care more about my cell phone than I do about my surroundings. We as American students lack the ability to marvel at something. Some say it is our era, and I could not agree more.

Since I’ve been in Spain I have had no use of a cell phone, and barely have had the opportunity to pick up a WiFi connection to indulge in  the sweet treat we have come to know as Facebook. Am I freaking out, going crazy? No. In fact, I have had the exact opposite reaction. I have noticed that everything seems to be more quiet and the petty problems that consume my day in America as I receive the newest gossip to my phone seem of the most unimportant nature. I know this may be absurd to say, but my initial reaction as I landed in the Madrid Barajas airport was peace of mind. I knew I had to call my parents and let them know I landed safely, but I was not rushed to do so. My cell phone didn’t even pick up service.

As I got into the transportation with my friend who is also staying in Toledo and headed for our hotel in Madrid, we both began to just look at our surroundings. We were now in place where no one knew us and were about to be blessed with the opportunity to submerge ourselves in a culture that was not our own, allowing us to better appreciate the one we do come from. It’s ironic that when we come to a place in which no one knows our name, our reputation or story, we tend to allow ourselves to be complete selves. We discover our capabilities as individuals through trial and error. We aren’t afraid to sing in front of others, make a fool of ourselves or take a walk just because the sun is shining because we are only here for a short amount of time and most likely will not see half the people we meet again.

I am not fluent in Spanish. I had to ask questions to complete strangers who can barely understand me and this is a blessing in disguise. It has inspired me to let my fears of entering a new place take me places I would have never dreamt possible of going. So, my initial reaction was just this. I am only here for a little over two months and I can either let the fear of striking out a million times keep me from playing my game, or I can let this fear take me on incredible journey that will change my life in the most positive of ways. I think it’s safe to say that I will let fear become my new best friend.


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