Why women really do rock
I had a really nice experience today at school that made me both very happy and extremely sad. I work as an English language assistant in a bilingual high school in Madrid and I've been lucky to be able to have genuine small group conversations with the students in english and I have learned a lot of differences between boys and girls. First, after interviewing many of these students, I've learned that Spanish teenage girls take as many as 30 selfies a day, while boys take as many as 3 a day, if any. No one could explain to me why there was this stark difference, it just was. But what was most interesting today happened during a discussion with 2 Spanish boys who are 12 years old. They both had the international symbol of women drawn all over their arms, hands, and necks. I told them how cool I thought that was that they were supporting women so openly. They shrugged and smiled, not realizing how powerful I found this small gesture to be. Even though they were 12, I pressed them with a difficult question: do you see women as equal to men? They took a long time to answer and they separately answered that they wish that women and men were equal - and and that they believed they should be - but that in reality they just weren't. They did not know why this was but they said they saw it on a daily basis - with what they watched on television, witnessed it in sports and even at home. This was what young Spanish teenagers could see in a major metropolitan city and it made me profoundly sad. I thanked them for their honestly and quickly changed the subject.
This makes me so sad because of the strength that I've witnessed in women over and over again. There are far more women in my teaching abroad program than men. Whenever I travel I find many more women traveling alone than men. Whenever I attend a meetup group, I meet far more women than men. Women do so much to better themselves and live the most of their lives and still 12 year olds can point out out that we are not equal.
I will not be sad about this because I am lucky to know and meet so many awesome fellow female travelers. What I've learned - never be afraid to reach out to them - you just never know. For example, a few weeks ago I was able to find 37€ round trip tickets to Mallorca and didn't even think twice about going. And yes, I travel alone often. Sometimes I even prefer it because of the freedom that it brings. I often stay at hostels and use Tinder and Bumble to bring me new adventures. Friday in Mallorca was spent with a hot Spaniard named Javi (courtesy of Tinder) who showed me around the capital, Palma. A definite success. I started Saturday at a coffee shop (I'm now addicted to Cafe con leche) near my hostel and kept noticing a girl who looked around my age and possibly American (the Fitbit around her wrist gave her away) sitting alone at a table near mine. I decided I may as well reach out and asked her if she spoke English and thank goodness she did (and was American per my prediction)! It turned out that we had a lot in common and and that she was also teaching English in Madrid and traveled alone to Mallorca too. After a lengthy discussion we made plans to meet that night for dinner and drinks. Plans were made within 1 hour! We met later that evening and became fast friends. She even shared that she had been exploring her sexuality and that this was an an adventurous time in her life. You really never know who you will meet. One of the many reasons that I love traveling is that it forces me (and others) to be more open and forward - I would've never reached out to another girl like that in the US and it makes me want to celebrate and enjoy women even more for being so cool and open. We really do rock!
Happy International Women's day!