Saturday, August 22, 2015

15 Things I'll Miss About Madrid

Tomorrow is my last day in Madrid, the end of best summer I've had yet. Knowing that it's almost over makes me think of all that I'm sad to say goodbye to. Here are 15 things I'll miss about Madrid.

1. The free time. I've read so much while I've been here and finally got around to starting Game of Thrones. And when you spend three hours a day sitting on or waiting for a bus or train you have free time to sit and think and reflect, which I hardly get to do during the school year. If I'm at my internship I think about work and otherwise I am constantly thinking about school or homework or my to-do list. It's nice being completely stress-free for a change.
2. The weather. The lack of humidity in Madrid is well worth the heat, especially for my hair. And the incredibly hot summers here are always better than winter. I love fall, but it doesn't make me happy to let this go.
3. The location. Madrid is in the center of Spain, so it's easy traveling to other cities or to Portugal, and the rest of Europe is a relatively short flight away. I visited thirteen cities in twelve weeks, and value this more than I can explain.
4. The people. Madrileños are known for being abiertos, open and welcoming. They are so friendly, especially when compared to the experiences I've had in many other European countries, and they're one of the biggest things I love about this city.
5. 100 Montaditos. I'll miss this chain of cheap eats. How am I going to get a jarra of cervesa and a mini sandwich for less than $3 at home?!
{la Reina Sofía}
6. La Reina Sofía. This museum is one of my favorite spots in the entire city and I've visited it nearly ten times in these past twelve weeks. It's absolutely beautiful and I'll miss escaping the heat for a couple hours in its endless halls.
{Picasso forever}
7. Speaking Spanish every day. I've practiced my Spanish so much here and I definitely think I've improved. And living in Madrid goes so much beyond what you can learn in a classroom; the lingo, the jokes, the cultureI learned all of that here and I'm sad I won't get the same level and type of knowledge back at school. 
{my life in Spain}
8. The streets. Madrid's architecture is absolutely gorgeous and often varies from one barrio to the next. There's beauty everywhere I go and I love it.
9. The balance between city and nature. Madrid has more trees than people and the mountains that surround the region provide a gorgeous escape. I'm not just looking at concrete all day and since I'm happier around nature, I've appreciated this so much. The summer also brings with it brilliant blue skies and I've loved watching clouds pass while just sitting in the park. Beyond this, Madrileños value plantlife more than Americans, and homes often have dozens and dozens of beautiful plants. And getting to see the stars here at night is nothing compared to what I can see at home. 
10. Cheek kisses. Here in Madrid, we greet each other with two cheek kisses and while this made me nervous when I first arrived (I was convinced I was going to do it wrong somehow!), I've come to love how sweet the gesture is. A friend and I were people watching a few weeks back and saw two groups greet each other. Every person in the group cheek-kissed every other in a group of maybe ten, and it was endearing to see them all take the effort out to personally great each other. 
{Plaza de España}
11. Having a pool. In a city this hot everyone has access to a pool in the summer, whether it be in their backyard or in a community. As someone who never had a pool as a kid, having access to one now has been so much fun, whether I'm spending hours playing with the kids or even just floating around and listening to music by myself.
12. The cost of living. Madrid is incredibly cheap when compared to Washington, D.C. or even my small town in New Jersey. I've been eating out, traveling, and shopping so much more than I can back in the States and am not completely thrilled about going back to being a broke college kid.
13. Learning something new every day. My weekly posts don't cover the full extent of how much Spain has taught me. I can't possibly write down every new word and phrase and cultural difference and similarity and moment that has made me grow, and this experience goes beyond what words can convey.
{la luz}
14. Not being obsessed with time and productivity. I know that the relaxed nature of my life this summer has been due in part to the au pair role and dynamic, but there's no denying the fact that Spaniards are better at looking at things such as time, schedules, leisure, and productivity. There's a greater emphasis on living a balanced lifestyle here, while my life in D.C. features the constant pressure of needing to be productive. If I'm not working or studying, you can bet I'm planning my to-do list in my head, trying to tackle all the things I feel like I absolutely have to get done. The only time that pushy little voice in my head shuts up is when I'm distracted by Netflix or a night out with friends. I'm going to miss this sense of leisurely fulfillment, when your days aren't packed completely to the point where you're constantly worried about fitting everything into the few hours you have in a day, but you still have enough to do so that you're not bored or unsatisfied or restless or unfulfilled.
{una de las cuatro torres}
15. My family. I have been so incredibly fortunate to find a host family that is as incredibly kind, welcoming, and considerate as mine. They are all so warm-hearted and I've felt completely at home here. I value my relationship with them so much and while it makes me incredibly sad to think that I won't get to see them every day anymore, I know I have a visit from them to look forward to.
Ultimately, I'm reminded how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so difficult. Hope you are enjoying the last days of summer as well!
~ V


  1. Awesome! thanks for sharing your experiences. Loved each and every one of your B&W photos. Truly exquisite! Keep taking photos and sharing...

  2. Virali, after reading your blog, kinda wanna go on vac to see madrid!