Jumping to Conclusions

During the years that I lived in Spain I think many were the occasions that I jumped to conclusions. Jumping to conclusions, or assuming things, can certainly cause one's life to become both colourful and full of adventure.
When I first moved to the Province of Cadiz, Spain in 1972, at the ripe old age of 23, I assumed that I'd go back home after possibly one year. Although I didn't have a job to go to, I had been assured that something would turn up, especially at the local bilingual school. I guess at the back of my mind I had the vision of possibly spending a school year in Spain, but not longer. Regardless of how long I'd remain in Spain I did assume that at one point I'd go back to Scotland and continue teaching there.
How wrong was I?! I ended up staying for four years in Cadiz. Not only that, I married, had a child and moved to Virginia. I subsequently returned to Spain in 1980 where I lived for yet another 4 years.
I knew very little about the person who had offered to put me up when I first arrived in Spain. A colleague of mine had friends who knew this person. Since my colleague and her friends were all teachers, I simply assumed that the kind person who was willing to let me stay with her for a few days was also a teacher. It didn't occur to me to ask questions. I was actually too excited about moving to Spain to even consider that what I was doing was possibly just plain daft. I did get frowned upon a lot when I gave up my secure position as a Primary School Teacher. People even warned me about Franco, about gypsies, etcetera. Many things crossed my mind as I made my decision to leave Scotland and jazz off to Spain, but I simply didn't consider the possibility that the person with whom I was going to live was a prostitute. Ha ha. Surprise! I had  jumped to the conclusion that she would be a schoolteacher, however, everything did work out well. It was very kind of her to allow me, a complete stranger, to move in with her until I found other accommodation.
When I lived with two teachers from the bilingual school where I managed to get a position, I just assumed that I could leave a container of yogurt on the windowsill in the kitchen. That's what I had done in Scotland and there had never been a problem. Absolutely not. However, no wonder my roommate stared at me in disbelief. I think I appalled her completely. Nobody in their right mind would leave a yogurt on a windowsill in Southern Spain, certainly not when the temperatures are in the 80's. You can well imagine the stench that I caused.
Years later, when I was living in Miami Playa, Tarragona I assumed I had remembered correctly the Spanish word for chickenpox. I had recently looked it up in a huge, heavy dictionary with the tiniest of print. When I told the new neighbors that our son had chickenpox I used the word 'viruela'. They became so upset spluttering how terrible, how awful, then fled inside their house and closed their windows. Oh my! Surely chickenpox wasn't all that bad of a disease? I later discovered my error. Smarty pants me who prided herself in her good Spanish had got mixed up. The word for chickenpox is actually 'varicela'. And just what does 'viruela' mean? It means smallpox!  No wonder the neighbours were so perturbed.
From assuming the fire that was burning way far away over the other the side of the mountains couldn't possibly reach our house to assuming there would be running water after I lathered up in the shower, this jumping to conclusions had me jumping up and down so many times during the years that I lived in Spain.
Here I was living in Pittsburgh, and still jumping to conclusions. It's not right, I know, but, as you can see, there was a pattern already etched out.
I assumed when I went to the local supermarket to purchase bread that it would be an easy task. Not so. You'd think I had learned that there were so many choices of bread after having lived in Virginia. Nope. Somehow, I had forgotten about the vast array of breads that would be eagerly gazing at me. Where to begin? What exactly was Pumpernickel bread anyway?! I picked it up and stared at it, hoping it would talk, tell me what it tasted like. Replaced it. Picked up a different type of bread, squeezed it, just like what you do in Spain, and put it back down too. Oh dear. Just a nice crispy, crunchy bread is all I wanted. A French baguette is what I was looking for, but back in 1984, I didn't see any. In the end, I think it was Wonder bread that I bought, only because it looked like Pan Bimbo, the soft bread that you got in Spain.
I assumed when I enrolled in graduate classes that I would be taught. I really did. I also assumed that I would have to study, work hard, and complete all assignments on time. I was ready to do my part and I naively assumed that the professors would do theirs. Granted, not all the professors were lazy lumps who  thought  by quoting others that somehow this made them appear to be wise and oh so knowledgeable, superior, and God's gift to the University of Pittsburgh. God help those who have the wit to quote themselves, that they may reap the harvest of their ideas. 
Do feel free to quote me on that last sentence! After all, once you get quoted that means you have been ordained into the gathering of Truth and Fiction where surprise and disbelief are sketched into the collective memory.

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