I hadn’t realized how fast paced my mind worked and how quick my body moved in crowds of people until I landed in Spain. I remember the extreme nervousness I felt the day before my flight. I made sure to be 3 hours early the next morning just in case anything went horribly wrong. At the airport there were many people just like me who wanted to make the process of boarding as fast and efficient as possible by being very early. However, unknowingly the airport was the last place that I was ever gonna find this sense of urgency in a group of people for the next few months. The process of getting through TSA, checking in, and frantically finding my seat was my final proximity to the American lifestyle and spirit.
When I finally got to Madrid, I was met with a foreign feeling. I initially thought that I was going to feel slightly out of place and a little uneasy upon arrival since I was going to be somewhere I had never been before. Yet, those feelings were smoothed out and completely taken over by the energy in Madrid. It was calm. The city was in a state of tranquility. It was probably hilarious to the locals seeing me speed walk during my first day exploring the city. The speed at which I walked did not match the atmosphere of the city one bit. I soon realized that it was unnatural to walk at such a fast pace on a Saturday morning in a city like Madrid. Everyone around me walked with leisure. It made me reflect on how I got so accustomed to rush my life even when I had absolutely no need to do anything of importance. As soon as I realized this, it made the city so much more beautiful. I took my time seeing and examining each aspect of my neighborhood and historical landmarks.
My apartment is located in a neighborhood called Sol, essentially in an area really close to the heart of the city. One of the closest historical landmarks is “Plaza Mayor”, and the first important piece of the city that I explored during my journey of conforming to calmness. I was careful and stopped at each corner of the plaza to examine the tourists, restaurants, and locals. It amazed me that I was in the presence of something almost 400 years old that was commissioned by a King where people used to hold crowning ceremonies. Now, people were spending their time at the Plaza talking and eating for hours. I was used to people leaving restaurants shortly after they finished eating. However, at the Plaza calmness also followed and people in fact stayed even an hour after being done with their meal. Time is a currency in America and we live our lives around that philosophy. It felt eye opening to see that not every part of the world goes by this motto.
I hope that I learn more about this culture of calmness and integrate it into my daily life. There are many more adjustments I need to make, however I’m more than willing to learn from the amazing city and people of Madrid for the next 4 months.