The lifestyle here in Spain is amazing. It’s exactly how life should be and I am already very confident that I am going to struggle leaving this life. Everything and everyone moves so slowly and feels so relaxed. It really gives you time to stop and enjoy every little moment rather than running through life like we do at home in the states. Meals here take 2 hours, on average, and it is so nice to have time to enjoy each course, each tapa, each moment, each conservation. Also, the days last so much longer because siesta pushes everything back later into the night. Some days I have accidentally woken up at 1 pm (still struggling with jet lag) and I still have time to accomplish just as much as I would on a regular day at home. It is remarkable and so hard to believe, but it’s true! I promise. This place already holds such a special place in my heart and I am already getting sad that I have to leave in 4 months.
The people here- los madrileños – are also typically relaxed which is a direct result of their lifestyle. However, tonight at dinner, I had an awful, troubling interaction with two madrileñas who clearly were not very nonchalant. Everyone always hears that Americans are hated everywhere else in the world. I never doubted this but I had never personally experienced any intolerance until tonight. My friend and I went to an Indian restaurant (so delicious, easily one of the best meals I have had thus far) for dinner that was little bit more upscale than where we have been eating but nothing ridiculous. I am talking like maybe 5 euros more than what we are used to paying. We were dressed casually but definitely did not stand out amongst the crowd. When the hostess escorted us to our table, the table next to us automatically decided they had a mad on for us. It was two 50-year-old women and they were death glaring us. Like a scene from Mean Girls. They had their stank faces on and were talking sh•t. I felt HORRIBLE. We couldn’t speak to each other. We couldn’t look at each other. We were both just shrinking trying to become smaller and wanted to just disappear. They started speaking really fast while still maintaining their glare, just blatantly judging us. We had know idea what to do- all we could do was look down and quietly giggle. It was the definition of a nervous laugh. The only reason we think these women could’ve despised us so much is because we are American. They had no other reason. We didn’t speak a word so I have no idea how they knew, but they knew. It was unreal. I definitely shed my naiveté tonight and will never be so surprised if something like this happens again (hopefully it won’t- I am going to do everything in my power to avoid feeling this way for the rest of eternity).
This brings me to another point. I don’t feel as though I look that different than the madrileños. They have dark hair (TG I dyed my hair back to its original color before this trip), slightly darker skin which I clearly do not have, a great sense of fashion which I think I am doing a great job of faking and are so skinny (don’t fit that stereotype). But in general, walking down the street, I don’t feel as though I stand out. But I clearly do. Everywhere my friends and I go people look at us as though they know we are different regardless if we are speaking English or not. It is truly remarkable. I don’t know how everyone knows. I even bought a pair of their trendy ankle wrap shoes and they still know I am not from here! Such a bother. If only I knew what my give away was….