Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Week 6: the One Thing I Learned This Week in Spain and Italy

{Rome at sunset}
I’m halfway there, you guys. And not halfway there in the way that you are in a marathon or a math class, when you’re counting down the miles or minutes until freedom, but halfway there as you are with a really good meal, when you look down at your food, willing it with your eyes to last longer. (It never does.)

I’m six weeks in and at this point, I have six left to go. It’s weird, being at this crossroads. I know what I want to do differently, but I don’t know how. I know I’m looking forward to seeing about four more cities, celebrating my twentieth birthday, and hopefully starting some new books. But beyond that, I’m not sure what to make of the time that has passed and the time I have left.
{sunlight through stained glass}
I know I’ve learned a lot. These weekly posts have forced me to reflect upon and then consequently chronicle just that. And I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my own as well, in the safety of my on head or journal or private conversations with friends. When I started, I thought by now, at this halfway point, time would have flown, and it did. But the weird thing is, I simultaneously feel like I’ve done so much that there’s nothing left to do, and yet, that I have so much left to do and not enough time.

And as weird as it is to admit on such a public space, it feels like I’m missing something. I was sitting in Plaza Mayor one evening with a friend and some American tourists walked in and the mom looked around and said, “That’s it?” It was funny then, and still is now, because that’s such an accurate representation of how I’ve been feeling. This is it? Instead of posting my usual weekly bulleted list, I’m just going to say this, that my life isn’t as glorious as it looks on Instagram or on this blog or whatever, wherever. Nobody’s is. I’m hot and sweaty and complaining half the time, and I’m not trying to pretend that it’s any other way. Don’t get me wrong, I know how incredibly cool it is to be here where I am right now, to have these opportunities to do what I’m doing. And I’m grateful for that, truly. But I think halfway through is a good time to focus on reality, to take off those rose-tinted tourist glasses and just stop and take Madrid for what it is: another city, another home.
For the remainder of my time, I'm going to look at Madrid as this home instead of just another new place to explore before crossing off some imaginary bucket list. I'm going to appreciate the food and the places and the people, just like I do in D.C., and I'm going to take advantage of what's offered to me as best as I can. I'm going to enjoy the last few weeks of summer and freedom and appreciate it all. After all, I've only got six weeks left.

~ V
{peacock in Madrid}
Read also: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4, Week 5

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