Friends in Madrid


Last week, I had the privilege of showing my friends from the United States and my home University around the city of Madrid for their spring break. It was such an enriching experience because like myself, they are first generation college students. One of my goals that I noted to myself before my study abroad journey was to be able to help future students or people from underrepresented backgrounds be able to travel with ease. I was able to get a taste of that during their time here and now they are more than qualified to give tips themselves!

When they arrived, jetlag was something that was something hard for them to fight off but it was won over by the eagerness of being in a different country. It was a little difficult being able to take them around because I still had class, but in a way it was good since it gave them a chance to try to navigate and learn how to discover new territories without a guide. While I was in class they were discovering the complexity of the metro in Europe. However, before my class started I emphasized that they should always make sure to check for someone to ask in their vicinity! I was happy to hear later that afternoon that it was the first thing they did when they got to the metro and it made the journey around Madrid much less scary and stressful. The first place I took them to was to Chocalateria San Gines which is one of the oldest places to have sold churros in Madrid. It was exciting taking them there because it was a shock to them that churros came from Spain ! Many Mexican Americans, like myself, are under the impression that churros are Mexican and it is for this reason that they realized what I meant about how important it is to travel. A lot of our own perceptions and realities are more narrow minded than we think. We must go to different places to learn beyond the history taught to us.

One of my other favorite memories that I made with my friends while they were in Madrid was eating dinner at the Sobrino de Botin. Sobrino de Botin is named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest continually running restaurant. Like I have mentioned before in a previous blog, it is really uncommon to see such historical sites and landmarks like that in the United States. Compared to Spain, the United States is a baby nation and its lands are barely discovered. It was really exciting that I got to experience that meal at the Botin with my friends. I also loved sharing with my friends that Sobrino de Botin was just an 8 minute walk from my apartment, it absolutely blew their minds. However, something really special and unforgettable happened while we were mid way through our meal. Addison Rae, a really popular American social media influencer, walked into the restaurant very casually and no one around us noticed except us. We discussed and concluded that it’s most likely because although we may think she’s important she might not be anyone to the Spanish people.

Before she left, we asked for a quick picture and she very graciously agreed. It was a movie moment for my friends and I. I was starstruck in one of my favorite places on earth. My friends were also very happy about that little interaction and could not stop talking about the next opportunity to travel. It made my heart full and I hope that I can make more people feel like that with the stories I tell when I come back to the states.