Some of the best, but strangest insults I know are in Spanish. These insults tend to use one or more of their many weird obsessions which include, but are not limited to;
If you shit on it, it’s a bad thing, but if you are it, it’s a good thing. (“Me cago en la leche” vs. “esto es la leche”)
For me it really works out nicely. If this project goes well, I can say it is the milk, and if it goes badly, I can just shit on it and call it a day.
In any case, the idea for this blog is not new. Not essentially, anyway. When I first studied abroad in Seville in 2009, (see picture below, after five months of tapas and too much cerveza), blogging hadn’t really taken off yet but I was writing down my experiences in Word documents and sending them to my family and friends.
Hiiiiii no more pescaito frito for me please, thanksssss.
When I went back to Spain a year later to start teaching, I continued a very rudimentary Tumblr with my general ramblings about my latest trips to whichever country I had last visited. (It had a title with a John Mayer lyric and everything, so, it was legit.) My mom would later print it for my grandmother, who, as with all of my pieces of writing, (including Facebook posts), was convinced I needed to send it to the editor at her local paper. I enjoyed writing, but at some point, it turned into a task. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I needed to keep up a decent blog, and certainly not as much as my grandma thought I should. (This does not, however, stop her from giving me a new journal every Christmas and birthday. Ie, my bathroom mirror full of love notes better known as toilet reading material)
That’s a lot of journals, grandma.
Flash forward a few years a later. As soon as I drop my blog like a hot pizza roll, blogging is huge. All of the sudden everyone has tricked out sweet ass blogs and is making a fortune for being a “wanderluster”. God damnit. I think to myself. You should have done this years ago. You are the original wanderluster! Before it became a cliché for your entire generation. #millenials.
And it was true. I had missed out on writing travel tips and travel horror stories, (aka the best travel stories, really), for almost twenty different countries, six years of experiences living in a foreign country, and five in an intercultural relationship. It almost seemed pointless to start from zero. And then one day last week something happened. I didn’t just get inspired. My mind was on fire. The creative energy I was putting into making reading comprehension worksheets about Clifford for seconds graders was no longer enough. Out of nowhere, I didn’t just want to write, I needed it. I needed to finally learn how to use the Nikon, (much to the chagrin of my boyfriend who has been telling me for years that Automatic is not an acceptable setting), I needed to be creative, I needed to inspire, I needed to put it all somewhere. All of the sudden I was researching, planning, creating. My mind was bursting with ideas and it felt like I didn’t have enough time or space to write them all down. Every cell in my body was buzzing with artistic electricity.
Enter “the milk”. Aside from what it may mean in Spanish slang, in every language and every culture it is the essence and beginning of all of us. That substance which fills our blood with energy, with passion, with life. These last seven years I’ve been abroad can be defined by just that; milking every moment. Taking every last drop and turning it into a whole new glass. And believe me, there were a lot of moments that felt like it was the very. Last. Drop. But one of the biggest reasons I love Spain so much is because they are so goddamn good at milking it. That’s why their businesses close for siestas, why the month of August exists purely for the beach, why lunch with friends is five hours long, and why their nights out don’t end until you’re having breakfast the next day. They don’t take these things for granted. They are sacred. They are their lifeblood. This is why when something is “la leche”, it is pretty fucking great.
Milk comes in different forms for different people. For some, it could be landing your first real job with a decent salary. Maybe its putting the down payment on a house, looking your baby in the eyes, or deciding to leave everything behind and move somewhere new. None are better or worse than the other, the only thing that matters is that it keeps nourishing you, and keeps you thriving for more.
This life that I’ve created, however flawed, alternative, and frustrating it may be, is my milk.