What is VALE?

Realized that I should probably give a brief (yes, I’ll try to be BRIEF) description of why my blog is named what it is. First of all the Spanish world “vale” pronounced kinda like ball-ay (like the ay in hay) is something you will hear in basically any conversation in Spain. Not until my very last Spanish class while in college did I hear this word though because all of my professors were from Latin America. My very last professor was from Spain, and I was very grateful for this so I wouldn’t be entirely lost by the accent or different meanings of words here. Basically, “vale” means “okay.” There are other meanings, but in general it’s one of those filler words. Just as Americans say “yeah,” “okay,” and “sure,” Spaniards say “vale.” And I’ve been forcing myself to use it since I have a tendency to revert back to English words like “yeah” and “okay.” Why is it the title of my blog, well… why not?

I suppose the tagline and url of my blog have a more profound meaning. I came across this phrase “get comfortable being uncomfortable” a while back, and it stuck with me. I believe it is a motto of the Navy SEALs, a pretty inspirational group of people as it is. Deciding to come to Spain was certainly an uncomfortable decision for me. Obviously, it is an amazing opportunity but with its own challenges. I knew this trip would force me out of my comfort zone, but I think the more we force ourselves out of our comfort zone, the more we realize we’re capable of. Additionally, and this has been true so far, being uncomfortable makes you grateful for what you have and appreciate that people can live and find happiness in ways that you are unaccustomed to. Every day here I face some sort of uncomfortable situation, but the point isn’t to agonize over how uncomfortable it is but rather to think about why is it uncomfortable and what can I do to adjust my own perceptions and feelings to better my situation. On that note, I want to “get comfortable being uncomfortable” – to accept the unknown, go with the flow, value flexibility, and realize that I can’t control every aspect of my life. Spaniards have a different frame of mind, one that doesn’t stress being on time for everything or planning one’s whole day, so I guess I should adopt this disposition if I want to stay sane in Madrid for a year.

I promise my next post will include some actual information about my first weeks in Spain and some pictures!

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