Well it has been a little over two weeks that I have been in the colorful and lively country of Spain! I only know this because of Spotify… Apparently, free accounts expire if you're abroad for more than two weeks. I guess I didn't read the fine print closely enough… While slightly annoying, Spotify reminded me that time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, especially when studying abroad.
My last two weeks have been spent taking language classes, exploring Madrid, and getting lost. Seriously, it’s an outrageous amount of getting lost (check out some of the places I stumbled upon below)… But poco a poco (bit by bit) I am learning.
One person who is helping me catch on to life in Spain is my host mom, Candela. Kind, spunky, and funny, she has made my days here a little easier. While I was originally nervous about living with a host family, it's wonderful to feel like I actually have a home here. And even when I can't eloquently express myself in Spanish, Candela is always patient and willing to teach me new words or phrases. Plus, have I mentioned the amazing view of the city from the rooftop?
Of course, Candela isn't the only one I speak Spanish with… Madrid is home to over three million people, after all. From cafes to the metro, getting to know the people here has been an interesting experience. When I initially arrived, I very first thing I noticed was how put together the Spaniards are. Sweatpants and yoga pants are scare among the locals, a somewhat unimaginable sight on the MC Mall…
But having spent some more time in the city since then, I now know that it's not just the clothes that set the Spaniards apart. No, the thing I love the most is how open everyone is. The Spanish have a way of honestly expressing their hearts and minds, something I greatly admire.
Another notable feature? Personal space is more or less unimportant. When I visited El Prado, the elderly woman who served as the group's tour guide was practically glued to my side, enthusiastically tugging on my arms, patting my shoulder, or touching my hair the entire tour. Weird? To Americans, maybe a bit. But to Spaniards? Completely normal. Needless to say, every day here is a learning experience.
And while I may make mistakes (cultural faux pas, anyone?) the important thing is that I am genuinely trying to make the most of my time here. Until next time, friends.