2 Months Later...
"It's funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different"
El Palacio Real
I cannot believe I have been living in Madrid for a little over 2 months now. While I am pretty settled and am starting to feel like a local at this point, there are still days when I wake up and have to constantly ask myself, wow am I really living here? In this city? Have I really managed to “live on my own” for the last two months? I don’t know about you, but it’s such an empowering feeling. Having never moved away for college, it is such a big difference from living at home (even though I’m rarely actually at home—catch me at Lied Library, haha). But living abroad does not even come close to living in a dorm or in an apartment (or so from what I have heard). You wake up everyday in a city that was so foreign to you not too long ago and you are responsible not only for the things you normally have to do but for so much more. You are responsible for integrating yourself into this new culture, this new language and new people. It is a foreign place with so many foreign sounds and some days you’ll be exhausted but you make it work. You learn to feel comfortable in this once unfamiliar place and make it your home.
The last 2 months have meant so much to me in terms of experiences and personal growth. I saw this quote somewhere saying “day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different” and it’s true. The days have passed by so quick (which makes me so sad, I wish I could study abroad forever) and it seems like nothing major is changing but when I look back I am definitely not the same person I was 2 months ago. Here’s a couple reasons why:
- I am more okay with uncertainty than I ever have been in my life.
Anyone that knows me knows how much of a Type A person I am. If you cannot tell by the Lilly Pulitzer agenda that basically dictates my life, you can see it in the number of lists I am always making or the plans that I always must know ahead of time. While in recent months I have been learning to appreciate spontaneity more, I still found myself always needing to have a plan (A, B, C, etc.), being the one who made the plans so I knew everything would go exactly the way I want it to and was that annoying person that always had to know every detail of everything before anyone even decided on anything. But lately, I’ve been okay with not knowing and accepting uncertainty. We spend too much time planning out every detail of our lives we forget to actually live in the moment and enjoy the journey. I’ve been on trips to cities where I planned nothing and instead let someone else make the plans, or some days I don’t have every minute accounted for in my floral adorned, monogrammed planner. Hey I don’t even know when I’m leaving Madrid to go on my backpacking trip for Europe (let alone have I booked my ticket back to the US) and surprisingly I’m okay with that. In fact, no rush here. Maybe I’ll never buy a ticket back.
Meeting with my Intercambio Laura!
- You are never too busy for anything
Even though people always say this back home, I’ve always been guilty of always using the “I’m too busy” excuse to get myself out of doing things or to not make myself feel so bad when I use it as an excuse when others try to make plans with me and I’d rather not go. But since getting here, I’ve learned to start saying yes. Saying yes to a random last minute trip to another city, saying yes to going to a café after class instead of going home or saying yes to going out on a weeknight because why not? I’ve learned to say YES to life. Some of the best memories I’ve had so far are the ones that were random last minute plans. No matter how busy the week may bet I’ve learned that if I really wanted to, you’re never really too busy for anything. Unless you have a midterm the next day and go to the oldest restaurant in the world instead of studying, oops.
Dinner at the Oldest Restaurant in the world
Afternoons in Madrid's Upper East Side
- Human beings are not inherently evil
This is something that I have progressively started learning ever since I started traveling on my own but in the time I’ve been here I’ve learned to not be so paranoid about everything. Sorry Dad. Being raised in an island and by parents who always were a bit paranoid about danger, I always thought everything and everyone around me was dangerous. But there’s something about having to walk home alone at 5 in the morning or traveling to a whole new country by yourself that teaches you that people are not out to get you. Just mind your own business, always be aware of your surroundings, and use some common sense.
Sunday spent at El Rastro--Madrid's Flea Market
- Things will go wrong but it will be okay
This is perhaps one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since moving here. There have been so many things that went wrong since I got here (like having to run around the city and to 4 different western unions so that I can pay for rent or missing a flight because I had no idea gates here close 45 minutes before your plane leaves) but I’ve learned to not let it dictate how I feel because a situation is what you make out of it. Now, any mishaps because just another thing to laugh at and another funny story to tell.
People watching at a cafe
Found a ramen restaurant!
- I have learned to stop “saving it for later”
This is something I was so guilty of before coming here and for a awhile I was even guilty of it here and you shouldn’t “save it for later”. Living in Madrid, for the first few weeks I kept telling myself that I can just see those sights later since I live here and I can just do it when I get the time, (which got me nowhere). Stop living your life on the bet that you can do something later or that you will have time for it later because chances are you will not. If you want to do something, DO IT NOW.
Intercambio Mixer hosted by Paul
I can never say no to Chocolate con Churros
So here’s to 2 months Madrid, you’ve been my greatest adventure yet.
Hasta la proxima vez,