Haz el bien, y no mires a quién. -Spanish Proverb



I’m sure that many of you reading this have heard of, and those of you that know me well know that it’s one of my favorite sites. The blog has a collection of everyday “fails” ( I know “failures” is better grammar, but that is what they’re called) such as this:

Anyway, I feel like I’ve had a lot of “fails” lately too, so I thought I would share them with you for your entertainment. Some of these fails have been all my own, and some have been caused by circumstances beyond my control. First there is the obvious example: missing a flight due to delays and having your luggage lost. But those things happen all the time. The real fun fails come from being in a place where you don’t know where anything is, don’t know the customs and norms,  and you’re not able to fluently, or sometimes even just effectively, communicate with anyone around you. They are the times when you want to crawl into a hole, but they make some of the best memories. I’m hoping the number of fails will progressively decrease as I figure more things out, but here’s a few that have happened in my first few days:

  • I needed some cash, so I went to an ATM booth around the corner. The booth had 2 ATMS in it, and you had to swipe your credit card to walk in. I swiped my card, walked in, and the machine wouldn’t take my credit card. I figured it was broken and turned around to walk over to the other ATM, and SMASH!! Face first into the glass that separated the two machines. Not sure if anyone saw, but I hope I made someone’s day. That was some really, really clean glass. Fail.
  • My first trip to the grocery store was an overall fail due to my shock at how different they are here. Clearly, Spanish people never buy groceries in bulk, and clearly they are not lazy cooks like us. I couldn’t find anything ‘easy to make’, not even a simple can of beans (all were dry and had to be prepared from scratch.) On my first trip I settled for some fruit, ham, cheese and bread, and a frozen pizza. When I got up to the cashier, she said something I didn’t understand about my fruit. Then I realized I was supposed to weigh the fruit myself and get a printout. Another worker took my fruit and did it for me. When she returned, the two workers had a conversation about me in Spanish and I caught, “She doesn’t understand anything. We need to explain this to her.” To their suprise, I responded and said that I did understand, I just wasn’t used to having to weigh my own produce. So I guess that part was kind of a win for me, but overall grocery experience: fail.
  • Last night I had plans to meet up with some friends down at the marina. Roberto, one of the other students, and I decided we’d meet at the metro stop in our neighborhood and head there together. It was pouring rain, and neither of us had an umbrella. No big deal though, we were just going to hop on the metro and go right over to the marina. I thought I knew where it was in relation to where we were getting off, but my mental map was WAY off. We got off two metro stops too late and ended up walking along the water for almost an hour to reach our destination. We arrived last in the group looking like drowned rats. Fail.
  • My final and greatest fails so far have been getting to school. I will say one thing to my credit, and that is that the bus system in my town really is confusing. The times listed for each route are the times the bus leaves its “first” stop, so unless you have extensive knowledge of the town’s layout you have no way of knowing how long it will take the bus to reach your stop. The first day of school, I missed my bus, ran in my dress clothes to another stop several blocks away, missed that bus, and then ended up spending 15 euros on a taxi to get to school only to find out my earliest class had been rescheduled for the afternoon. The second day of school (today) was a fail turned fun. I left the house bright and early and headed to my stop. There was no way I was missing the bus AGAIN. I left the apartment and immediately had my balance thrown off by a 50mph+ gust of wind. It was raining too, and the wind gave the rain equal force to a Super Soaker. I walked through the treacherous storm as quickly as I could physically muster, vowing to fight back against the elements. But it was bad…really bad. At one point, my North Dakotan self thought, “Is this a hurricane? What if I get sucked away into the sky?” I rounded a corner and had my balance thrown off by another enormous gust, this time knocking me over into a puddle. Oh fail. I picked myself up and continued on, determined not to miss my bus. I saw a woman pushing a stroller trying to keep the stroller from tipping over with the wind. I reached out to give her a hand, and that’s when my umbrella broke. Flipped inside out, then back again, ripping and ripping until it was beyond saving. That was it. I ducked into a store and realized I was so frazzled I didn’t even know where I was. Once I gathered my bearings, I asked the cashier where the bus stop was and continued on, sans umbrella, being Super-Soaked by the almost-horizontal rain with every step. When I got to the bus stop, I saw my bus leaving, its passengers inside warm and dry. I wanted to sit down in a puddle and cry. Instead, I called the office at school to tell them I’d be late since the next bus didn’t come for 30 minutes. When I got off the phone, a Spanish student at the stop asked if I was going to UPV because she had missed the bus too, and her boyfriend was on the way to pick her up. Thank God for her. Her boyfriend came less than a minute later. The outside of his van seemed pretty standard, but the inside was like a mini surf shop. I counted 7 boards, 4 wetsuits and several registration tags from surfing competitions all around Spain. Maria and her boyfriend Rafa talked to me all the way to school. Maria studies pharmacy at UPV and Rafa lives on a boat in the harbor and surfs semi-professionally. They gave me lots of surfing tips, and dropped me off, for free, right outside my building. Some fails have happy endings 🙂

If at first you fail, laugh about it!

More pictures and entries coming soon….