Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Week 7: Six Things I Learned This Week in Spain

As usual, when you learn to let go and stop forcing things to work a certain way, everything sort of falls into place. This week I decided to let things happen without planning too much, and the results were pretty great. I went to my first flamenco show and had a great night out with some girls, I spent a day being productive and working on internship applications at a cute cafe in the city, and I started a language exchange with Javier, a man here in Madrid trying to improve his English. It's sometimes nice to see where things take you rather than planning your days down to the minute, which is what I usually do. Here's what I learned this week:
{Dolce Vita}
1. NARS' Dolce Vita is amazing. (I'm kind of cheating here, since this has nothing to do with Spain, but when an airline loses your luggage and all your (new) makeup inside it, you justify going shopping.) One of my favorite writers/bloggers/instagram accounts is Ella Ceron, a self-proclaimed kale and cookie equal opportunist. She's incredibly bold and inspiring, not only in her professional work and expertise regarding all things Kanye, Kardashian, and Drake, but also in her personal posts on body image, life with disordered eating, being a woman, etc. She wrote a post a few months ago about lipstick that kind of stuck with me (read it, it's fantastic) and inspired my recent purchase. I've worn this shade every day since I bought it and am definitely incorporating it into my makeup routine. 
{la Reina SofĂ­a}
2. What homesickness feels like. For the first time in these past seven weeks, I felt homesick. I was feeling kind of blehh, which is the exact word I used to describe my mindset to a friend, and really needed someone to talk to. I couldn't help but think that if I was back home, I could just drive over to Alana's house and pick her up and drive around and get ice cream. Instead, I had to settle for instant messages and time zones and scheduled Skype sessions. While I wouldn't consider leaving early for even a second, it's nice to remember that I have a home and a family and friends who I consider family, all who will make leaving Spain in just five short weeks so much easier.
{garlic naan & paneer masala}
3. Indian food in Madrid is a joke. I took myself out to dinner on Sunday, desperately craving paneer and in need of a little bit of #treatyoself. I did my research on Yelp beforehand trying to find the best Indian restaurant in the area, but the most highly rated place also happened to be the worst Indian food I've had in my entire life. Ever. Needless to say, I'll be waiting until I'm back on American soil to try any Indian food again.
{flamenco dancer}
4. Flamenco is totally underrated and inspiring. Word to the wise: if you're ever feeling jaded in Spain go to your first flamenco show. Remind yourself what it is to feel small and insignificant and inexperienced and incapable and inferior in the best way possible. Think about how much you're going to miss Spain when you leave. How much it has become a part of you. How much its identity had aligned with your own, just as you knew it would and then in some unexpected ways as well. Remind yourself what it is to feel something and remind yourself how silly it is that you ever forgot. 
{gorgeous library}
5. It's the little things in life. This week, I had one of the best days I've had yet. The weather wasn't stiflingly hot (for once), all my favorite Drake songs played even though my iPod was on shuffle, I had my favorite breakfast, I wore my favorite t shirt dress and Birkentocks, I had new lipstick to complement my stellar hair day, I had my first language exchange, and best of allI didn't miss my bus. This may sound trivial but this is the first time I've made my bus without planning well ahead of time. I made my metro in between transferring lines and didn't have to wait 9 minutes for the next train and the doors closed right as I got on and when I got off I was right in front of the escalators to exit and had exactly 4 minutes to get my bus so I didn't have to rush or wait too long AND HOW GREAT IS THAT. From the outside looking in, all of this probably sounds trivial and unexciting, but my grin on the metro when I realized I was going to make my bus is proof enough that the simple joys in life are worth appreciating, too.
{card & cat}
6. The joy of receiving a letter in the mail. When I was younger, my cousin in Georgia and I would send letters to each other after she moved from New Jersey in the fourth grade. But with cell phones and Facebook, all of that stopped, so it had been years since I received real mail. My roommate is studying abroad in Japan during this upcoming school year (and is going to have an amazing time), and wrote goodbye letters to the rest of us in the room, and I just received mine in the mail this morning. With the amount of time that had passed since she mailed the letter, we both assumed it had gotten lost in the mail, so when I woke up this morning and found a white envelope with my name on it, I actually screamed from excitement. I read the card with the kind of giddy excitement you get over birthday presents when you’re nine or when you receive surprise flowers from someone you really care about. It’s amazing how a simple piece of paper can make you so happy, but there I was, standing in the entryway reading this card over and over and laughing at the jokes and doodles and crying not only at how much I’m going to miss my roommate, but also at how happy I was to have her in my life, to have someone who valued our friendship as much as I did, and cared enough to send a card and cat photo 3,781 miles away. It’s cliche at this point to lament the fact that we no longer send each other handwritten letters, especially considering that I’m part of the generation that hardly did that anyway. But I’ve decided to start sending my friends mail; if you can make someone so happy, so easily, then why wouldn’t you? 

I'm looking forward to this week and hope you enjoy yours!
~ V
Read also: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5, Week 6

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