iHola a todos!
I have officially hit my one month mark in Madrid! What an incredible month it has been! Through the initial struggles and homesickness to me somewhat confidently ordering and buying things in restaurants/stores, I have slowly adjusted to life as a Madrilenian (Madrileño/a in Spanish).
Even though I have gotten used to the lifestyle here, in the back of my mind, I am deeply afraid of falling into a routine and getting too comfortable with it. Initially we were encouraged by our advisors to develop a daily routine so we would feel more at home in Madrid. However, I cannot help but feel that I will become a victim to this comfortability.
Like my life in Las Vegas, my daily routine consists of going to school, studying in the library, grabbing lunch with friends, and spending my evenings at home. Recently, I have been trying to break away from this routine. Aside from school, I try to get out and explore Madrid as much as possible. Compared to a regular vacation, I have the advantage of localizing myself and getting to know my neighborhood, community, and city. This past Monday, I got the chance to visit Retiro Park again with my photojournalism class and it was by far the best afternoon I have ever spent. Growing up in the suburb of Las Vegas, I never knew what it was like to grow in a big city. In Las Vegas, it was rare for us to go to the park and spend our pastime outside. In Madrid, however, everyone is constantly going out. Simple actions like sitting on the bench and taking in all the opportunities I have been given since coming to Madrid is something that I will never forget.
“Americans are obsessed with being busy,” my Spanish teacher once said, “you guys take a lot of pride in having a busy schedule.” Even though she did not mean it in a negative connotation, I do agree that our culture places an emphasis on one’s busyness and compare it to our level of success in life. Being busy for us means that we are in demand and are maximizing our productivity. Now there is nothing wrong with this way of life because I personally love waking up and knowing that I have a purpose in my day. However, I think that we have overused the word “busy” and ingrained it in our mind that we must be doing something at all time. Therefore, one of my goals is to break away from this word. Since coming here, I have realized how addicted I was with being “busy”. Having all these free times feel very heavy and burdensome in a way I cannot describe and hope to change about myself.
On a lighter note, I will be spending the weekend in Paris, France! It has always been a dream of mine to visit the city of lights and love! This time around, however, I will not be bringing my computer because I felt that technology was the main distraction for me on my previous trip, therefore, I will update you all with adventures and pictures from France in next week’s post. Until then, here are the places I have visited this week:
- El Retiro Park is one of the largest parks in Madrid. It belonged to the Spanish monarchy until the late 19th century, when it became a public park.
- Plaza Mayor was once the center of Old Madrid. It is now considered a place for tourists to shop, eat, and enjoy the outdoors.
- Museo Nacional del Prado is the main Spanish national art museum. It is widely considered to have one of the world’s finest collections of European art. As a matter of a fact, the museum is so big that two hours would only allow me to go through at least 5-6 rooms!
- Taberna El Callejón del Gato is a MUST try because it has the best pizza I have ever eaten! As someone who has eaten plenty of pizza, this was something that was out of this world!
Song of the week: “Paris in the Rain” – Lauv