I have spent these past few weekends in Madrid, and I plan to spend the next couple of weekends here too, without complaints. I love to travel, and it is nice to get around Spain or even outside Spain. However, I learned that I am not the biggest fan of short travels, like the two-day trip I took to Portugal a few months ago. I prefer going to one place—Madrid, in this case—and getting as acquainted to it as I can. I think that is what makes a foreign place feel the most like home.
I realized last weekend just how much. I stick to my comfort zones. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I let myself wander much more. When I am leaving the program center, I meander every which way until I am tired and then head to the nearest train station to figure out how I will get home. Since the program is based in the center of Madrid, a lot of times it is easy to get home on foot, and it may take just as long as it would take on the train.
The other day, I walked from Cuatro Caminos to the program center, then headed to Lavapiés, went to a gym nearby, and walked home at night from there. I found that walking home from the gym is faster than taking the train, and it is a fairly easy walk. All last semester, I spent my time learning the metro system here. I would take the train everywhere, learning all the stops. With the temperature rising, I am noticing the different type of beauty that is above the intricate subway system below me. Just today, while walking around my neighborhood in Delicias, I came across a Latino minimart called “El Huerto.”
My friends and I went in, and to my surprise, I found a type of salami I had been looking for since I got here in September. I know how little this may sound, but this was a huge deal to me.The market was the first thing I saw when I arrived to Spain in September. I took a taxi home, and on the way to my host home, the driver passed by the minimart. Although I had arrived at a place that was foreign to me, I felt so safe seeing nothing but Goya signs posted outside a supermarket. I am glad I took the time out to finally go to this small market. With the semester coming to an end, time seems to be picking up the pace. My friends and I are booking more weekend trips, and I use my weekdays to explore Madrid.
Some of the classes in the program organize class trips to see plays together, and I had the pleasure of accompanying my professor and her Transatlantic Literature class to the play “La Casa de Bernarda Alba”. I have loved the play since middle school, and this play was just one example of the tons of things I can do around Madrid, with help from the program’s reimbursement system !
Nicole Richards (Nico), student blogger primavera 2020