Thursday, October 10, 2013

{life} day in the life of an expat in madrid

Since I blog so sporadically, I typically just post about really exciting things happening in my life. Trips, special occasions, a realllly good recipe that I just have to share, etc. I realized that I don't often post about day-to-day things. This needs to change.

I so often walk around this beautiful city with my heart practically bursting with happiness. Is there anything special happening on these days? Nope. I am just constantly falling more and more in love with Madrid simply by walking around and taking advantage of all the things it has to offer.

On a typical work day, I wake up between 7 and 8:30, depending on what time I have to go to work. I make some breakfast, and coffee if I have time, and then head out the door. I walk to the bus station and then take the bus to the secondary school I work for. I have yet to actually participate in any classes at my new school, but last year I would get to school, chat with the English teachers for a bit, and then head off to class. Once in class, we would usually chat a bit to get into that English groove, and then start with the lesson of the day. I repeat this for 4-5 class periods, and then it is off to commute back home, between 12:30 and 2:30 This is where the fun begins.

On a beautiful day, you will find me wandering the streets right after work. Now that I have a pretty good sense of direction in Madrid, I allow myself to wander down streets I've never been before. One thing I've noticed about Madrid, is that it is not realllly a big tourist attraction. Most of my friends from home hit up the usual suspects while traveling in Europe; Paris, Rome, London, Florence, Athens, etc. Madrid might not have the Eiffel Tower, Coliseum, or Big Ben, but it is one of the most wonderful places I've ever been to just get lost and wander. This text photo says it best --

"Because Madrid in reality is nothing special. It doesn't have a great river. Nor does it have many skyscrapers. Or canals or lakes. Or glorious ruins. Or the sea. Madrid lacks a lot of things. But it has people in the streets. The unexpected street corners. The variety. Constant busyness. And its customs. It is worth getting up early, just once, to live the Madrid life."

I swear I see something new pop up in Madrid every week. Whether it is a cute new cafe, tempting restaurant, fashionable boutique, or cool vintage store, it is always something. My roommate and I constantly walk around and write down names and addresses for places we have to try ASAP! And the people. People are everywhere, always. I love people watching here! What's really cool about Madrid is how laid back everyone is, especially since we all live in a huge city. People are always dressed (no tennis shoes and huge workout clothes in the streets here), but it is casual chic. Give me skinny jeans, flats, a soft fitted tee, and a pretty scarf, and I fit right in with the Spaniards.

Enjoying a chocolate croissant and some fresh air at Parque del Oeste after work.

Metro life, typically fast and efficient.

One of my favorite things to do while walking in the city is to look up and drink in the beautiful blue sky and gorgeous architecture.

Window seats are the best.

I will never get tired of this view in Parque del Retiro.

It is a well-known fact that drinking a tinto de verano at a rooftop bar solves all problems. ;)

I love the little fruterias here. All of this for under 3 euros. Get with it, America.

Now, don't get me wrong. Not every day is filled with sunshine and butterflies and smiles. Sometimes, I show up to work at 8:30, and am not needed until 12:30. Sometimes, I have an off-day with my Spanish and can't communicate what I need. Sometimes, I have to deal with a Spanish bank, or the Spanish government (Extranjeros office.. I'm looking at you.) Sometimes, the metro workers are on strike and it takes foreverrrrr to get somewhere, and on top of it, I am forced to be a sardine. Sometimes, I really miss home; the food, my friends, family, boyfriend, the culture. Sometimes, the internet in my piso threatens to ruin my sanity. Sometimes, I just want to tailgate and watch FSU play in person, instead of on a little laptop screen. Sometimes, I feel like I don't have enough money to do much of anything at all. Sometimes, things seem really hard in Spain.

Sardine life on the metro.

My job - lots of pros, but lotsssss of cons, too.

But just as easily as you can get sucked into homesickness, you get out of the house and realize things are actually a-okay. Whether it is a picnic in the park, a cold cerveza or glass of wine on a patio with friends, a cafe con leche in a window seat, participating in an intercambio (language exchange) with a super awesome Spaniard, a delicious menu del dia for 10 euros, or discovering a really cool temporary art exhibit down the street from your piso, living in Madrid is nothing short of wonderful.

I need to always remember the following:

Here's to you, Madrid. I'll love ya forever.

xx, Jen

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