A Love Letter to Madrid


Dear Madrid,

When I first met you I thought you were the nicer, less smelly cousin to New York. If it wasn’t for your signs in Spanish I might have thought I was still in the US. I compared you to Philadelphia because you’re small and quaint for a big city. I compared to you San Francisco because you’re chic and well dressed. I compared you to Seattle because you’re mellow and relaxed. That was eight weeks ago and it was easy for me to compare you to the US because I still missed home but now that we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit better I have something to confess.

I think I’m falling for you.

Something about the way the sun beats down on your asphalt vias or the way your inhabitants crawl out of bed so much later than I’m used to is wonderful. You’re laid back and relaxed and always down for a drink. And when I want to go out you are lively and loud and adventurous. You’ve welcomed me with open arms and besitos to spare and for that I love you.

I’m enchanted by your love of simple things. The fact that you’re okay with two hour lunches with friends or an hour long sobremesa where everyone passively sips on a caña of Mahou, I find your patience astounding. I don’t love your culinary culture though. Something about stewing everything down and drowning it in tomatoes and salt doesn’t appeal to me, but every once in a while you pull it off by combining very basic ingredients and simple techniques e.g. empanadas. I like crazy spices and weird flavors and you like simple, traditional cooking but we’ve made it work so far.

My dearest Madrid, it’s taken me weeks and weeks to get comfortable with you but I’m glad I met you. When I first arrived I tried to run away because I was out of my comfort zone. I felt stupid for not being able to communicate basic ideas with you so I retreated. I curled up in bed wasting hours and hours missing home instead of opening up to you and that time has come and gone. I have seven weeks left with you and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing. Almost like a Autumn fling, I’ve fallen for you and I know that our time together is going to come to an end. So I’ll set aside our differences and cherish the precious moments I have left with you. There’s an old Winnie the Pooh quote that goes like this, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Well for now I won’t think about our goodbye, I’ll just focus on all the adventures that are still to come.

Nathaniel Tran, student blogger.

Nathaniel Tran, student blogger.

As I walk along your streets, the juxtaposition of centuries old and modern minimalist is always breathtaking. I welcome the opportunity to lose myself within your city limits and for that I will always love you.

All my love,

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