Wow! I can’t believe I finally am finding the time and energy to sit down and write my first blog post! My blog is going to have a two purposes: to keep everyone in the know but first and foremost, to act as a journal so just keep that in mind.
So much has happened since I left home so I guess I should start from the very beginning of this journey then…
It began on Wednesday morning which feels like a lifetime ago (obvi an exaggeration but you get the point). I was a ball of nerves and so incredibly anxious about anything and everything Spanish. It felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster- one second I was so excited I wanted to scream and then the next I was on the verge of tears and talking myself out of going abroad all together which was just a waste– if only I knew that then. Mom and dad drove me to the airport and we said our goodbyes which was the thing that I was dreading most. Of course, there were tears but luckily, my good friend, Mallory was traveling with me so I didn’t have too much time to focus on my sadness about leaving mommy and daddy. Mallory and I’s first flight was from Houston to Charlotte, North Carolina. It flew by (ha- pun intended) and we spent the whole two and a half hours catching up and reminiscing about our summers. Once we landed, we had to kill time waiting for our next flight to Madrid (!!!) so naturally we spent our time eating; first, sandwiches and second, pinkberry because duh. When I saw that pinkberry was right next to our gate, I gave a huge sigh of relief. That was a great omen and I was now feeling good. My tummy was happy and so was I. The next stop was España!
On the plane, I sat next to a nice man named Rafael who went by Rafa. He had the aisle and I had the window- not a bad set up. He was a very nice 25-year-old from Mexico studying law and spending a semester in Madrid just like me. The best thing about Rafa was that he originally thought I was from Spain which felt great but then I realized it is probably because I was wearing a lot of black at the moment. We became friends and I couldn’t get him to stop talking so I finally just plugged in my headphones, popped a Benny (aka Benadryl), turned on Elf 🙂 and stopped answering his many questions. Over 7 hours later, we arrived in my new temporary home at 6:35 am and it was pitched black outside. This was the longest travel day of my life. By far. I literally skipped over night because I left America at 4:50 pm and landed here in the morning. My body was so confused and just truly miserable. We arrived to the dorms called Residencia Galdós and they are so incredibly nice! Mallory and I requested random roommates and were placed together which was a nice and comforting surprise. The whole first day was a blur of orientation lectures and lots of new faces due to jet lag but overall, I think I enjoyed it.
Friday was great! I was still incredibly jet lagged but that didn’t stop me. We started the morning off by walking to the university which left me feeling very excited and nervous. The weather was perfect outside- I’m talking 75 and sunny- and I enjoyed every minute of our walk. After seeing the gratified and very large campus, I decided to ditch the next orientation session (don’t worry mom- it was all about finding an apartment which I have already done so I am on top of it!) and instead went to a little restaurant and had a class of tinto de verano which was red wine with orange fanta. Delicious and I highly recommend it. The rest of the day went by rather quickly sitting in orientation lectures and before I knew it, it was dinner and then time to go out. Out of convenience, I ate at the dorm. The nightlife in Madrid is ridiculous and I am in love with it. Nothing fun starts until at least 12:30. So, we ventured out, rode the metro for the first time (adult-ing!!) and went into the city. This was really my first time seeing Madrid excluding the drive from the airport and the walk to the university. I was with the best group of people and we had a blast all night. Before we got on the metro, we stopped at a bar called Chupitos which translates to shots. I took a Harry Potter shot that they lit on fire and it was delicious. Our first stop after post metro ride was a restaurant called Ojalá. If you were to walk in, you would think that this is just like any other restaurant. But if you request the sand, they will escort you downstairs and seat you in the sand on cushions at very low tables. Everything about this restaurant was amazing from the atmosphere to the tapas to the music to the white wine sangria (we had 5 pitchers amongst us). 10 out of 10 would recommend and I have every intention of going back. Next we wondered into a little bar on our way to the discotec, Joy. Both the bar and the club were very fun but the highlight of my night was eating dinner in the sand for sure. In Madrid, everyone stays out until 6 am because the metro closes and then reopens at that time. So when in Spain, do as the Spanish do. Naturally, due to the late night before, I woke up at 2 pm which is apparently normal? and also in perfect time to go get lunch. I went to get a “quick” lunch near the dorms and had an amazing chicken sandwich with some friends. Nothing is really quick here- everything is much more relaxed and at a slower pace- it is really nice and refreshing. After lunch, I hopped on the metro and went to the bus station to go buy bus tickets to visit San Sebastián the following weekend. After the bus station, some friends and I explored the city. We walked through the famous Retiro Park, went to Sol, and ended up at el Mercado de San Miguel. Total we walked around 7 miles and let me tell you, it was the most exhausting but also so amazing. I am not sure what I loved the most but I was blown away by almost everything I saw. For waking up at 2 pm, it was an extremely productive day. We got back to the dorms around 8:30 and rested until it was time to go out again. Tonight we decided to go to the most talked about club in Madrid, el Kapitol. It is 7 stories and each floor plays different music and has completely different vibes. My favorite floor was obviously the Spanish music floor. It was insane and completely lived up to the hype but when 6 am rolled around, I was running out the door to get home.
Today, yet again, I slept in until 2 pm (I really hope this doesn’t become a habit), had a great lunch, rested, had a great dinner and now I am off to bed at a decent hour and I couldn’t be happier. I have a good feeling that I am really going to like it here 🙂 Sooner rather than later I will write again! But for now, hasta pronto ¡ciao!