Phew. I feel safe around graffiti now.

So this is a thing now: It’s my 1 month anniversary since I left the United States! And tomorrow will be my 1 month anniversary since arriving in Madrid! If you remember my previous posts, I had a stressful beginning while I tried to settle into a life here. But after the initial chaos of piso hunting, and endless errands (which are still not  fully done), I am currently enjoying every meal, every class, every walk, every bus ride. Let’s celebrate the occasion with a list of things that have felt very different from my life in Plantation, Florida.

  1. Automatic doors are much slower to open, so there is an awkward second where you could potentially smash yourself against them.
  2. Some streets have no clear distinction between car lane and sidewalk. Stick to the walls as much as you can. Or walk right in the middle until a car shows up behind you!
  3. Beds are dressed differently than in the U.S. They have the sheet that covers the mattress, and no sheet to cover yourself. There is a completely separate cover/blanket thing for that. I had a rough time in IKEA trying to figure this out.
  4. Public bathroom doors are actual doors, and there are actual walls. I have not been to a public restroom with stalls.
  5. Some bathrooms may not have toilet paper. Always carry tissues with you!
  6. “What’s up with the napkins?” said every American here. They are super thin and small. But it is good to save paper!
  7. People holding my wrist when they want to show me something or explain something to me.
  8. Coins matter. I would rather have coins in my wallet than bills. They simplify life everywhere.
  9. Unemployment is really a thing here, and it makes me grateful to be working a job I love. Hang on Spain!
  10. The sun rises suuuuupeeer late. Like after 8 am late. Not exciting when you have to wake up at 6:00am, but it makes up for it with a beautiful commute. I pretty much arrive to work with the sun ❤
  11. When you are feeling hipster, having dinner with friends at a bar Friday night, around 10:00pm…and in comes a crowd of children, dragging chairs and joining tables to have dinner too. Excuse you, it is past your bedtime in America.
  12. But maybe number 10 explains why people say “seven in the afternoon” or “eight in the afternoon.” (There’s no evening! The day goes straight to night).
  13. Cheap food. 12 eggs for 1, and 1 fresh baguette for 0,25 cents. That’s the cheapest breakfast I’ve ever had!
  14. Wanna talk about the 1 white wine I bought last week? And that was not even the cheapest.
  15. It is normal to have a drink during lunch. Chill out, have a beer, savor your delicious cheap meal, and then go back to your life. That “eating-on-the-go” thing doesn’t fly here. (p.s. I have yet to see a to-go box).
  16. When you go to the market, and no one puts your groceries into bags, and then you see the bags cost money. So I join efforts to save the planet, and put all my stuff in my hiking backpack 🙂
  17. When you are still getting used to the double-cheek-kissing, and you awkwardly mess it up…
  18. Not coming from a big city, the mere sight of graffiti made me feel I was walking in a “rough neighborhood.” Not to worry! My friends that have traveled Europe way more than me tell me it is quite the thing here! Phew. I feel safe around graffiti now.
  19. I mentioned this on my last post, but…can we please talk about how often I see elderly couples holding hands?! This place gets me thinking about love too much, and it makes me never want to leave!
  20. Students are super loud, and wild. Yet they fill up my heart with their daily hugs, and the sweet smiles. Let’s not forget that first grader I was after because she would not stay seated the whole class, then she turns around and gives me an intense, “TE QUIERO MUCHO!” There goes all my strictness…
It is still too soon to know if I’ll want to stay here, or return to the United States after the school year…A Spanish man at a bar asked me what my “career expectation” is, and for the first time in my life I said, “I don’t know.” The girl who’s carried an agenda since 4th grade finds herself in the present, and *gasp* without a plan. Of course I still have goals and dreams for my life! But…it felt…good, saying it out loud. So I will put it in writing, and see if it feels the same: I don’t know.
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