Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Before arriving, I talked to innumerable people about Spain: the culture, the people, the nightlife, the food, and the list goes on. I've made a little list of my own. Here goes...

Things I heard about Spain that haven't proved true:

  • Shorts are unacceptable here. This is fiction - every Spaniard and their mother wears shorts. It's hot as Hades, so the Daisy Dukes are on parade.
  • They don't wear high heels. Wrong! Despite the cobblestone, many ladies rock the pumps on the way to a discoteca.
  • Spaniards are fascinated with blonds. Hah! Has not been the case with this blond. Plus, I've seen a lot of blond Spanish people.
Things that I heard about Spain that are certainly true:
  • HAM! On, with, and in everything.
  • Many Spanish men are short. I feel a bit like a WNBA player.
  • They are in love with California. I just hope I get serenaded with "California Girls" one of these days. Sounds like my kind of night.
Hasta luego!

Monday, September 17, 2012

A strange sleeping pattern

My eyes don't shut when I want them to.

It's currently 1:16 a.m. in Madrid and I can't sleep. Naturally, I flip my computer open to see what's going on in the world of my American loved ones. Here I am, scanning the ever-superficial Facebook newsfeed, struggling to intake segment of life in los Estados Unidos.

Every time I do this, however, I ask myself, Why? I'm in a completely different country in another corner of the world. Why am I resorting to Facebook to pacify my homesickness? It doesn't do anything other than blind me to what I have right here in this culturally rich city.

Reading updates about family and friends at home is instant gratification, but it can't fill the void that moving away from home leaves. In order to soften the homesick feeling, I should focus on creating a life and identity here, in the moment. Instead of looking upon the past and smiling at memories, I need to embrace the right now with courage in my step.

Maybe my eyes don't shut when I want them to because I need to keep them open. Perhaps it's necessary that I keep my eyes peeled in order to identify any opportunity that presents itself.

I suppose I should sleep with one eye open just in case a once-in-a-lifetime experience threatens to pass me by.

Artwork at El Museo de la Reina SofĂ­a

Sunday, September 2, 2012

El primer fin de semana

Code switching from English to Spanish is fairly disorienting, similar to the feeling I get when I leave a movie theater and the daylight pierces my eyes as they adjust. My mind also must adapt and I feel like I literally have to change a language setting in my brain in order to communicate with Spanish people. My goal for this year is to be able to transition seamlessly between the two languages without flipping the on and off switch. I'm hoping that'll happen in time, but for now, I'm embracing this language barrier as a step outside of my comfort zone.

Today I had the pleasure of exploring the downtown area (La puerta del sol) by myself because I had an appointment to check out an apartment in a barrio nearby. This solo trip allowed me to really get to know the city that I will be calling home for the next 10 months. Everything about it feels perfectly novel; the people, the food, the customs all seem beautiful in all their newness. My heart is full with the prospect of complete immersion in this culture.

I visited the apartment and met a young Spanish man wearing faux crocs that was very patient as I explained my situation in painfully broken Spanish. I definitely made some silly errors; I was trying to say "If you want me to move in" but I ended up saying "If you love me..." (Si me quieres...). Talk about awkward.

Long story short, I'm going to put the deposit down tomorrow after classes. Here is the neighborhood and surrounding areas of the piso: