The more comical side to my life these days is definitely my dating life.
Navigating the dating scene in another culture/country can be extremely eye-opening.
When I lived in Boston, New York, Washington, DC….dating was one of the most frustrating things. You meet people all the time and sometimes get the opportunity to get to know them better. The most frustrating part at the time was the “getting to know them” part, deciding whether or not you both liked each other enough to date.
Living in Bilbao brought a whole new set of challenges. Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s because I’m not a native Spanish speaker, but actually MEETING people (the part that happens waaaaaaay before getting to know someone!) is the frustration.
I remember one of my first few days here. Walking into a bar, just like I would back in the States, trying to strike up conversation with the person standing next to me about which beer to try. This was just basic conversation, not a marriage proposal. He could have probably qualified for the Boston Marathon with how fast he ran in the other direction!
As an outsider looking in, I’ve had to do what feels like months of observation. How do people talk to each other, what are the norms of going out with friends in mixed (guys/girls) groups, what does a first date look like (have you known each other for months, years, etc.?), how do people get to know each other one-on-one without the entire world thinking they’re steps away from walking down the aisle.
These are all things we take for granted in the culture where we grew up. It’s not until you step outside of your comfort zone that you actually see your life from a different perspective. Things that seemed so hard in the past, don’t seem as difficult now. And challenges you never thought you’d encounter, actually become challenges in real life.
And as for dating advice…any that I’m given I put to use. If it works, great, if not, oh well, it was worth the try. Puts me a step further in the right direction and also improves my communication skills. (I’m really trying to see the lesson here!!! haha)