RACHEL ALLEN- I have been in Spain for almost a full month. I am writing this currently sleep deprived and sick because of it. However, even though I will probably spend most of my day in my house, I can’t feel sorry for the fact that I had fun instead of sleeping.
Last Wednesday, my friend Nicole and I went all the way to Alcalá de Henares to meet up with the students living there. Every Wednesday is karaoke night at the local pub, and it was a lot of fun. People were singing off key and offbeat, but no one seemed to care. The song choices ranged from “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Sk8r Boi” to “Twist and Shout”. Nicole and I took the night bus home to Madrid. **Side note: public transport is phenomenal here. I have yet to be lost, which is a true testament to Madrid. Also the buses have WiFi.** I am fortunate to have the opportunity to explore different cities and have fun with different people. Now, the Alcalá students come into Madrid all the time for school, fun, food and more. Unfortunately, some Madrid kids might not go to Alcalá, which is a shame. Alcalá has a lot to offer.
Even though last Wednesday was the most fun I’ve had in a while, I had my second day of my internship the next day at 9am. I will let you in on a little secret – I love to sleep. If I could sleep for ten hours every day, I would be very happy. If I get under 7 hours of sleep, I wouldn’t call myself a “functional human being”. That being said, I did not get a full night’s sleep that night, and spent my Thursday very sleep deprived. I could feel myself thinking slower than usual, and started counting down the hours until I got the chance to go home and sleep for 15 hours. Whenever I would feel myself crash, I would be reminded I was sleepy because I had a great time with great people the night before. When I thought this, I would smile to myself and carry on with the rest of my day.
But there needs to be a balance. Sometimes, I just want to go to bed early, but then I feel guilty for not making the most of my time here in Spain. It’s been a complicated process, but I learned that taking care of myself should be my first priority. Our bodies are still adjusting, as many students I’ve talked to on the program have felt sick at some point. It’s hard to be patient with your body when you want to take advantage of this incredible opportunity of living in a different country. Then, sometimes I see other students who look very healthy and are having a blast and I think, “shouldn’t I be having as much fun as them?” Comparing yourself to others is a very slippery slope that will lead you nowhere positive. Instead, you should always take care of yourself. As time goes on, I will learn how to better balance play and self-care.