EMILY FRITZSON- If you can remember, I wrote a blog post a while back about the not-so-wonderful side of traveling. I had been out of Madrid every weekend for 7 weekends in a row; I was exhausted. So now it’s going to sound like I’m contradicting myself when I say that I think it’s actually really important to get out. Not necessarily out of Madrid, but out. I have been in Madrid the past two weekends, which has been great. But what I forgot about staying in Madrid on a weekend is that it’s three days of completely unstructured time to yourself. This can be a blessing or a curse.
For some reason, the majority of the program students happened to be traveling during my first weekend back in Madrid after that long stretch away. Coming off of so many weeks of crazy busyness to three days of absolutely no plans with few people around was actually really hard for me. That Saturday was cold and drizzly so I didn’t feel like venturing out into the city without a pre-determined destination. I know what you’re thinking: “How can you be bored in Madrid?” But after 14 weeks of exploring and hitting the town, it is quite possible to feel bored on a rainy day. So I began to feel down in the dumps. At the time, I had four and a half weeks left before going home, which I feel like is an awkward length of time because in one mindset it can seem like very little time and in another (the one I was experiencing at the time), it can feel like an eternity. So it can be a real bummer when you’re sitting in your room without any idea of what to do and who to do it with.
I have loved my time here, but I am honestly ready to go home. I want to see my friends and family. I want to cook my own food. I want to drive my car again. I want to snuggle with my dog. I want to wear more than the five sweaters I cycle through over and over. And I am by no means blaming any of these feelings on Spain itself. I always get a feeling of restlessness at this point in the semester, because I think it’s at this point that it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of routine, not to mention the stress of upcoming finals. I think these feelings are simply amplified by being so far from familiar and comforting people and places.
But since that weekend, I have learned how important it is to take advantage of what little time I have left here. Our program finishes in just two weeks and my mom arrives the day after my last final exam to visit before we go home together. So I really only have two weeks left of the full abroad experience before I go into vacation mode with my mom. With so little time left in Madrid, I’ve realized how important it is to make good use of my time to a) enjoy my last days and b) to avoid dwelling on the things from home that I can’t wait to have back in my life.
This past weekend I put my plan into action and made of list of things I wanted to do in Madrid, and I’m happy to report that it was a great success. All in one weekend, I went on a program trip to Ávila for the day, hit up a sangría bar, tried two new restaurants, attended an Atlético game, went on my first true shopping trip in Madrid, and saw a movie (admittedly in English) in the theaters, an activity I love at home but had yet to do on my own here. I kept busy with lots of fun things and cool people and as a result, the weekend flew by. And although I am satisfied with my experience here, I am going to try to stay busy and make the most of what little there is left of it.