This past month flew by. The first week of October, the Medieval festival came to town. It was amazing for the first few days to see everyone dressed up, the music, the amazing food, the stands, the performances..but after a few days, the never-ending crowds got to me and I was happy when the week was over.
This same month I got a job teaching English, which made me realize that I could actually stay and live here. I also made Spanish friends and Russian friends as well:) At the same time, I got really sick, realized how much I miss home, and thus hit my lowest point on the trip. But it took some willpower, some travel, and a boy to change my mind.
I walked across a Roman bridge in Salamanca, watched a flamenco show in Granada, visited the Great Mosque in Córdoba, fell in love with Barcelona (and proved to myself that I can be bold), and fed doves in Sevilla.
I watched Don Juan outside a cathedral, visited countless museums and exhibits, took the ave for the first time, and finally braved talking on the phone in Spanish.
Finally I feel like I am here and I am living a life that I’ve always dreamed of. I don’t know if it was Spain that changed me or if it was simply the time apart from my life in the States. But regardless, this has been a once in a lifetime experience so far, and I’m looking forward and at the same time dreading the last month and a half left. My finally trips are taking me outside of Spain: Lisboa, Tangier, and Italy, which makes the time left here at home even shorter.
in response to an email saying that I bought tickets to Tangier:
“Hi, How long you will be in Morocco? Why do you go this place?”
it’s been hard to post anything without having a camera, because words just can’t capture the experience as well as a photo. but i’ll try to write a brief summary of my first month so as to have something to go back to.
the first thing i really noticed about spain is how warm and friendly people are. no matter if they are meeting you for the first time, or if they are your best friend, you feel like you are important to them. people are genuinely nice, willing to help, and actually interested in talking to you- without a phone in their hands, without texting in the middle of the conversation- when you are in a conversation, you are fully present.
mealtime is long, deadlines are flexible, and siesta time is law. i’ve definitely been frustrated with this type of lifestyle because i’m so used to constantly being busy and if i’m not, i feel lazy. i’ve had to adjust my walking speed many, many times…but i feel much more in control of my life, more present in the moment- i am not constantly worried about being late to a meeting. time is constant and “no pasa nada.”
also, spain is beautiful. madrid is definitely a metropolitan city, and i’m very happy to be close enough to it but at the same time, living far enough from it. alcalá de henares, on the other hand, is this old city with light brick buildings, church bells ringing every hour, and where tapas mean tapas. so far, we have also visited segovia, toledo, and san lorenzo del escorial. segovia and toledo are even smaller than alcalá, very hilly with cobblestones and narrow streets. so, so pretty. it’s amazing to be reading a 18th century play that takes place in toledo, and then be able to visit and actually see the setting.
i think one of the only big difficulties i’ve had has been the food, but i knew beforehand what i was getting myself into. when we eat outside of the house, being able to order a dish of vegetables has been a moment of celebration each and every time. most times, bread or potatoes are the only vegan options on the menu. but within a month, i’ve been able to find a few vegan-friendly options around town.
my lifestyle has changed for the better. people live their lives outside, which has been another adjustment for me. although it’s a novel idea, it has forced to do more. i’m excited for what’s to come in october: the weeklong festival in alcalá, andalucia, barcelona, and everything in between.
stayed up all night partying and hopping from bar to bar (and karaoke, and discos), then went looking for a chuperia, finally found one after following a drunk man, waited outside the said-chuperia until its opening, rewarded ourselves with chocolate con churros/porras, and arrived home at 7am. (advise to the wise: do not attempt in new heels)
now to be repeated in madrid.
(also, camera is broken so alas no pictures)