A Valentine-less Valentine’s Day_by Nicole

I hope the title of this blog doesn’t come off as something super sad that alludes to a rom-com gone wrong. This week I just wanted to share what my Valentine’s Day in Madrid was like. Maybe it’s because I am in Madrid and everything feels better here, but this Valentine’s Day was the best one I have ever had. I should add, though, that I have never had an actual “valentine,” so perhaps my previous point is not as valid. This year, I did the cheesy thing single people do and made myself my own valentine. I detest this capitalist holiday, and from what I observed yesterday, it is not as celebrated in Madrid as I have seen it celebrated in the United States. Nonetheless, I needed an excuse to show myself immense amounts of love, and Valentine’s Day was exactly that. 

             I woke up early and began my Friday with a needed checkup. Since I was very close to the program center, I continued my day there doing some homework. I had probably only gone to the center once before on a Friday, but it will definitely become something I would like to incorporate more in my weekly routine. Initially, there were no other students there, and even when some students and mentors stopped by, it was very quiet and easy to concentrate on my work. The day before, I knew I would be sore from the roller-skating trip the mentors had organized from Thursday night, so I had made arrangements for a one-hour massage Friday afternoon. My reservation was at a spa close to the program center called “Wellness Boutique.” I had gotten a massage there before back in December.  To say that the massage was relaxing would be an understatement; I felt so disconnected from everything and completely soothed. Both times I have gone, the staff was so polite and very patient, never rushing me out and always offering me something to eat or drink. 

Despite practically falling asleep during my massage, once it was over, I grabbed a bite to eat at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Madrid (so far) and headed back to the program center to do some more work.  Once it reached 5pm and the center was about to close, I headed to my neighborhood to visit the two supermarkets I pass by daily. In these supermarkets, I bought milk and white chocolate, strawberries, and a couple of other miscellaneous things needed to make chocolate-covered strawberries. I was still on cloud nine from the massage I had had earlier in the day and figured there would be no better way to end off my Valentine’s Day. 

My host family was excited to say the least—especially my host mother wholoves chocolate.  I had made chocolate-covered strawberries once before with my sister, so going through the trail-and-error again was nostalgic and still entertaining. I love being in the kitchen, and melting chocolate while listening to some bolero gave me one of the best feelings I have had in a while. I knew I would be Valentine-less on Valentine’s Day (for the nineteenth time), but what I did not know was how fulfilling it would feel. I am super excited to see more of this same self-love carry me throughout my journey in Madrid, and I hope it will continue when I go back home, too. 

Nicole Richards (Nico), student blogger primavera 2020

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