Oh hello there,
It's around midnight in good ole Madrid. So much has happened in the last 10 days. I had a day off today! (#YayNationalDay). I was a busy bee and didn't get much rest, but I know I need to crank out this blog. Because....Next week I have midterms, so I want to get all of my thoughts down before the madness begins.
I LOVE making lists, so I'm going to list some recent highlights. I also have an 8:30 am class tomorrow *sigh* so this just makes it easier. OK? Ok.
With the rents:
- Went to El Rastro for the first time, the most popular open air flea market in Madrid. Took place in La Latina, so close to my homestay! Inundated with people. Bought a cute scarf and bartered with the seller to get it for 5 euros instead of 6.
- Observed some neat flowers and plants at Royal Botanic Gardens
- Ate delicious food at some amazing restaurants (Kuoco 360 in Chueca, Ten Con Ten in Salamanca, Meson del Champinones)
- Took a spontaneous trip to Alcalá de Henares and walked in on the oldest medieval festival in all of Spain. We didn't even know it was happening. Qué suerte! (How lucky)
- Introduced my real parents to my host parents and Mimo. Rachida made a phenomenal paella dinner and served fresh fruits like figs, sapote (tastes like chocolate), pomegranate, grapes, etc. This was probably the most special experience I've had here yet. Hames knows English, and we both helped translate conversations into English for Rachida and Spanish for my parents. Our dinner lasted from 9pm-12am and I learned so much about everyone within those 3 hours. We all have similar values and ways of thinking, which was nice to discover. Such a great experience as well as Spanish practice. I am so glad all of my parents got to meet each other.
- People watched on Calle Mayor from our Airbnb balcony
- Bought authentic ham from Museo del Jamón and cooked breakfast in our Airbnb kitchen (eggs, ham, cheese, bread, tomatoes and spinach as well as chocolate pastries)
- Watched the sunset in front of Palacio Real
Some other fun stuff:
- Ate delicious tacos at Takos al Pastor with Cary and Matt after Theatre class. This is our regular thing now. One of my favorite places in Madrid. I call it my happy place :)
- Bonded with my professors. All of my classes are around 20-30 people. At Tulane, you'd have to make the effort for the professor to get to know you in this kind of class size. Here, all of my professors are so much more eager. They all know my name even though I am pretty shy in class. My Prado prof saw me in a restaurant window and waved to me from outside. My Lit prof took the same bus as me once and talked to me the whole way home about the class and our lives. I love love love it.
- Played with CATS at a CAT CAFE!!! Give me coffee and kittens and I will be the happiest girl on earth. They were so cuteeeeeeee!! Might need to study here during midterms..
- (Today) Hiked in the mountains in Cercadilla with some friends! Great views and great people. It was hard, but still very manageable. Ate lunch on some big rocks. Took a 40 minute train to the trail and back with awesome views of the mountains. The most exercise since I've gotten here...definitely needed after all of the food I ate this week with my parents.
I am so thankful that my parents were able to visit me and stay for such a long time. My dad almost didn't come because he broke his foot. But he was such a great sport. Luckily for his boot, he could walk everywhere. He walked miles and miles each day with no problems. Go Dad!
Spain has it all. I live in a city of just over 3 million people. Nevertheless, I was able to find some zen on a peaceful hike today. Can't complain.