Cities and countries are like relationships. Some you connect with instantly. Its energy clutches you in its grasp and you feel as though you could stay there forever. Other cities…not so much. Other cities are like that guy who seems appealing enough, so you give it a go. You go through the motions, try to enjoy yourself, find the good attributes, ignore the others, but seemingly no matter how hard you try you just don’t quite meld
*cough cough, Korea*.
Madrid was one of those places I instantly connected with, back in 2012; however, I didn’t fully appreciate it when I was here. I loved it, true. The energy. The people. The journey. But, my head and my heart were back in the states. I was here, but, I wasn’t always present. There was a pull. I needed to get back home. So, I left.
My rendezvous with Madrid was short and sweet, a mere month, but the impression it left on my heart was unmistakeable. I yearned for it. No matter where I was in the world, there was always the thought of Madrid. The thoughts of “what if…” plagued my mind. What if I’d stayed? What if I hadn’t followed my wayward heart? What if I’d cut the ties back home, so I could be free to be present? What if? What if? What if?
If “what ifs” were a fifth we’d all be drunk, right?
Four years in a drunken stupor
because what ifs and I’ve finally sobered up. I’ve made my way back to the city that captured my heart. No love has been lost. The novelty has not faded. The connection I felt the first time is just as present this time around. Madrid is still just as magical as ever.
So what am I doing here this time around?
Unlike last time, I’m not aimlessly wandering the streets day in and day out, with no real purpose. Well, I take that back, I do still wander the streets aimlessly, but I actually have somewhat of a life here now. I work as a Language & Cultural Assistant at a bilingual Catholic school (no, I’m not Catholic). What does that mean? Basically, I work along side Spanish teachers, teaching 3-7 year olds English. I absolutely love it. My precious
even when they’re not so precious, snot-nosed, temper-tantrum throwing, puking on themselves, babies are absolutely adorable, and everyday is an absolute adventure. True enough, they sometimes drive me mad when I’m at school, but I miss them when I’m away and can’t wait to get back to my tiny humans with their big embraces.
When I’m not at school, you can find me teaching private classes most evenings. When I’m not teaching private classes, you can find me taking salsa lessons. Super FUN by the way! When I’m not teaching or taking up salsa you can find me taking methodology courses for teaching. And, when I’m not doing any of the above you can find me nestled up with my laptop in a cozy cafe for hours on end (like now), or perusing the streets with my newfound friends checking out all that Madrid has to offer
basically engorging myself with food, tapas, and copious amounts of Tinto. So yeah, a pretty busy life here (hence the crickets on WOAW lately. Sorry. I’ll do better. Scouts’ honor 🙂 ).
How I’m living
Last time I was in Madrid I lived in a massive flat, shared with 10 other people. I know 10 people, wth?! But, it’s not as bad as it sounds. We all had our own rooms and I rarely saw more than 2 or 3 people at any given time. Also, there were a gazillion bathrooms so that was never really a big deal either. A housekeeper also came in weekly to keep the place clean, so it was a pretty good arrangement. However, this time around I couldn’t fathom living with so many people on a long-term basis. I actually prefer/preferred living alone, but the apartment hunt was a bee sting when I arrived, so things changed. After a week of Airbnb’ing it, and desperation to get settled started setting in, I pounced on an available room in a 4 bedroom flat in the heart of the city; nevermind said flat being inhabited by 3 males. Yep…3 males, and 1 female. Me. It has been interesting to say the least. I have to keep my OCD in major check but, for the most part, it works. There’s no drama, no cattiness, or super sensitive-ness (totes just made that up) that sometimes comes along with female counterparts. So, there’s that.
Overall, I’m loving every minute of my time here. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask, “Is this really life?”
It is and I’m loving it.
*cues McDonald’s theme music*
What is a city or country that captured your heart? Let me know in the comments below.