I can’t believe that I have been living in Spain for two months already, and that I only have one more month here until I head back home to Iowa. (Speaking of Iowa, there’s a restaurant called ‘Iowa’ in Madrid! What a small, small world.) There have been a couple of times where I’ve felt homesick, but other than that I’ve been loving every moment here! I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that I will be going home so soon. Part of me is excited..to get back to the norm where everybody speaks English, I can drive my car instead of having to take public transportation, and I will be very, very close to my friends and family and my dog. But I’m also sad. This semester has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have grown so much, seen so much, learned so much, and have become so independent. There are things I will for sure miss about Spain and life abroad, like café con leche, cheap food, cheap clothes, how easy and cheap it is to travel here, and the amount of freedom and free time that I have. This has been the easiest semester of my life as far as school and work go because school has been relatively easy and I haven’t been working while I’m here. I’m not excited to go back to my busy life in Iowa, but I am excited to go back to the familiar. I’m also going to miss the friends that I’ve made here. I was so worried prior to coming to Spain that I wasn’t going to make any friends, but I was wrong and for once, I’m so glad I was.
As most of you know, my boyfriend Ryan came to visit me for 10 days and just left this weekend. I am so thankful for him and all that he does for me. I mean, the boy flew 4,500 miles across the world to come and see me! He was exactly what I needed too. He was the perfect little taste of home. I was sad to see him go back home because I had gotten very comfortable with having him here and sharing my daily life in Spain with him..but he was the perfect refresher. I now know that I only have a short time left here before I will be home and close to him for the rest of the summer before going back to Dubuque for school in the fall. It was so amazing having him here, but life is back to normal now that he is back home and returns to work tomorrow and I go to school, with travel plans set for London this weekend and Amsterdam the next.
I still had school while he was here because I don’t get a Spring Break. So, my professors were nice enough to let him come and sit in my classes with me. He didn’t really participate, which was fine. And it was nice for me because I got to show him off a little bit and through my Introduction to Spain class, he got to learn a little bit more about Spain than he would have if he wouldn’t have come to class with me. We even went on two field trips while he was here and he was able to join us for both of those. One was to the “mercadillo” which was the local flea market in Alcalá, and to get churros con chocolate.
Overall, I think he enjoyed Spain! I got him to like coffee and espresso via café con leche, we spent a couple days going around Alcalá, and a day in Madrid. Our day in Madrid was really fun! It was super nice outside, so we decided to do outdoors things. We went to Buen Retiro park which is this huge park in Madrid, where we had a picnic lunch under the blooming almond trees. I unfortunately ripped my pants when going to stand up..so I had to tie my blanket scarf that we were using as our picnic blanket around my waist until we could make it to a store where I could buy some new jeans. After our picnic we went and rented a rowboat for 6€ and rowed around the little pond for about a half hour.
Then, we headed for the more urban area of Madrid. I took him to Puerta del Sol which is the “Times Square of Spain” and through Plaza Mayor. We ended up at El Mercado de San Miguel which is the local market for some beer. I figured he drinks coffee for me so the least I can do is drink beer for him. After that, we headed for Gran Via to find me some new pants and get some dinner before heading back to Alcalá. I found some new jeans at H&M for 10€!
We also went to Madrid the next night for dinner. We got dressed up and went to a fancy dinner. I wore my dress I bought in Madrid for 6€ and heels and he wore dress pants and a nice shirt and a tie. We looked AMAZING if I do say so myself. Dinner was really delicious also. We both had asparagus as our appetizer and then steak, potatoes, and grilled red pepper for dinner, and chocolate cake for dessert. There aren’t words that can describe how he made me feel that night..so loved and beautiful. I mean, he always makes me feel that way but it was extra that night.
The weather has been really nice here the last couple of weeks, some days hitting in the upper 70s. On Friday, I was sad about Ryan leaving and so Jordan and I went for a walk because it was very nice outside. Yesterday, we hiked 12 miles to the top of a mountain and back down. Of course, being the daredevil I am, had to go out on the farthest ledge I could so that I could get an adrenaline rush. It was really fun! We could see over all of Alcalá from where we were.
I have 24 days left in Europe before it’s back to the United States. I’m excited to see what these next 3.5 weeks will hold!