Summer in Spain
Hola de España! So far I’ve only been in Madrid for three weeks but I’ve already fallen in love with Spain. Sometimes I forget I’m in a different country until I stumble upon Puerta de Alcalá or walk through Plaza Mayor, monuments that are centuries old. And every time I go to Buen Retiro Park near the piso I’m living in, I always find something new like a crystal palace, a lake with rowboats, a beautiful rose garden, or a hot spot for rollerblading, which is apparently still a big thing here.
I can now say I have stood so close to a Goya I was able to smell and see the strokes of the paint. I have seen the legends of Real Madrid play fútbol, have walked the hills of Segovia, can map all 17 autonomous communities of Spain and have danced salsa with the locals.
But although the city has so much to offer I have to say the best part of my trip is my host family. If I hadn’t stayed with a family it would have been easy to weasel my way out of actually speaking Spanish, considering most people in Madrid know at least basic English. Thanks to my host family, my classes and my desire to meet my Spanish husband, I have been practicing Spanish so much that I have been forgetting English words.
My mamá is very sweet, doesn’t speak any English and seems to have made a hobby of overfeeding us. She talks to my roommate and me about everything from politics to the best places to go in the city. Our papá is a huge Real Madrid soccer fan from Peru. And Charley is their little dog, who they refer to as their son, who loves mustard and watching TV when he’s home alone.
Every day I am here I have a new story to tell, whether it’s about an overly persistent Spaniard at a bar, getting pickpocketed or randomly meeting a 72-year-old man who has taught himself four languages and gives you your corny but touching lesson of the day saying, “anything is possible when you put your mind to it.”
This weekend I’m going to the Festival of Sant Joan in Barcelona. The whole city comes out and parties all night with traditions like people jumping over fire for good luck and writing anything bad that’s happened to them in the past year on a piece of paper and throwing it in the flames. I’ll be staying in a hostel for the first time and for the actual night of the festival didn’t even book a hostel or hotel, knowing that I wanted to stay up with the Spaniards and just catch my flight the next morning.
Overall I’ve learned Spain is filled with culture and I’ve only experienced a handful of cities in the entire country.