Kate Alyzon Ramil, Philippines: European Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies (GEMMA)
In Granada, there is a saying, “No pasa nada. No te preocupes.” Or “Nothing is happening. Don’t worry.” I believe there are places that call you; and for me, Granada is one of them.
It was not my first time in Granada. In fact, three years prior to GEMMA, I was at a Youth and Global Education Training for a week in Malaga, a 2-hour car ride away and south of Granada. I was enchanted by the mystical beauty of the south of Spain.
I first arrived in Granada around noon. My roomies would not arrive until three weeks to a month later. They were two Spanish and a Mexican, all fluent in Spanish. I was the only one worried about being unable to communicate in the local language. I understood some Spanish because, in the Philippines, we borrowed Spanish words. I almost cried during my first week. There was no gas in the house and no internet. Yes, there was electricity, thank God, but the heater only worked through gas because our flat was old. How could I shower at least once a day, with almost icy water? Filipinos bathe/shower twice: one before going out in the morning and the other one before going to bed. It was the end of October, the height of autumn. Taking a cold shower was not an option. Not showering even for a day was unthinkable.
I called my best friend in the Philippines and told her that I missed the UK and wanted to go back. She asked, “How many people got a chance to experience Spain in both its beauty and pain?” It knocked me into my senses. I told her, “You are right!” Straight after we spoke on the phone, I Googled the nearest Chinese shop in Granada. I knew that there would be something I could use. There was one about 100 meters away from our flat. I went there and bought a pail and a dipper, or tabo in Filipino. I boiled water using the electric kettle, which only had the capacity for a liter of water, and put it into the pail. It worked!
I believe there are places that call you; and for me, Granada is one of them.
The following morning, I heard someone shouting outside. I felt strange that at six in the morning a person was calling someone named Butano. I wondered which floor he lived on in our building. Later on, I found out from my flatmates that in order to have the heater on, I needed to buy butano (butane) from ambulant vendors. I could not stop laughing at myself. How would I know right? No pasa nada. No te preocupes.