I knew I'd be out of my comfort zone and in a new, sometimes strange environment. But I didn't expect to be at this hotel for as long as I have been. Living in a hotel seems like a really fun thing to do until you actually try it. After the first week, it's a really dispiriting existence. You come back to your room which is designed to be a comfortable place. It's not designed to feel like home, and none of the stuff there is yours. The situation is made all the worse by the fact that I'm unsure of exactly how long I'm going to be here. If I'd known right off the bat that it would be a four week stint, I may have approached things differently. Nice though it may be, this is not a home:
The entire staff now gives me a knowing smile, but we don't really chat. Hotel life is not something I look forward to repeating. Even worse, because I forgot to extend the reservation, I was nearly kicked out on the street yesterday. Thankfully they either had a cancellation or otherwise found a way to keep me on. So I remain the longest tenured guest at the Hotel Regal Pacific. It's the same breakfast spread every day which always, always consists of no less than two medialunes con jamon y queso (ham and cheese croissants - they're really freaking good). I have no scale here, so I don't know how much weight I've gained, but I reckon I'm eating healthier than I did last September, though that's really not saying much.
Work has been the most positive thing to this point. I have this kickass view...
...from my actual office with a door that closes and everything. Eat your heart out, Les Nessman. The team is doing great so far, way ahead of schedule in many respects and they're a lot of fun to be around. My Spanish remains kind of sucky, but it's improving sucky which means I'll continue to integrate better as time goes along.
There's a dramatic cultural difference in the way one starts the work day. It doesn't really begin until 9 AM, and even then, there is a greeting / social interaction portion of the day. I'm the weird guy who goes straight to his e-mails. It probably doesn't help that everyone's speaking Spanish. It's always harder in the mornings because I'm out of practice from a night of sleeping. Maybe if I could force myself to dream en español... One thing I've gotten the hang of is how people greet one another. With women, it's almost always a kiss on the right cheek and a hand on the left shoulder. Greeting men, a handshake until you get to know them better. Then it's the same kissing procedure. Being American, I found the practice uncomfortable. But after a week or so, I not only got used to it, I think it's a far more human way to interract, even for guys. Maybe if I return to the states, it's something I can bring back with me. Kisses for everyone! Just on the cheek - no biggie. A quick side note: to any former girlfriends who may be reading this, I apologize for all those days I didn't shave. I now understand.
Everyone here is bundled up in parkas and scarves. I trek the three blocks to work every day sans jacket and people look at me like I'm a freak. Summer will be a different story. I fear it greatly.
More updates to come - ¡muy pronto!
The Top Ten Songs that Own the Movie - *This feature is double-posted over at the always excellent **Scene Stealers where there is likely to be more conversation, so pop over there if you have...