Dos besos y dos semanas

After two weeks in Spain and one week of work done, I have really started to gain my footing in Madrid. I have started to get a feel for where everything is and how to get from place to place. One of my favorite things to do is take the metro somewhere and wander until I find another metro and then get back home. I did this yesterday and found a beautiful public park with running and biking trails. As well, I also found a free art museum that I wandered around for a bit before finding a metro and heading home. One of the absolute strangest things is that the hottest part of the day is around 6 or 7 pm as opposed to 12. This was a problem for me yesterday because I ended up out in the sun for the hottest part of the day and the park was not well shaded.

Parque Retiro

The absolute crazy thing that happened in Madrid this weekend though was the champions league final. 63,000 people attended the game and even more cam to Madrid for the festivities. I am neither a fan of Liverpool nor Tottenham however I did venture out on Saturday to observe some the events happening around the city and the fans. And upon walking out of my building I realized I was only one block away from the Liverpool fan meet up point. The whole area was absolutely crazy teaming with wacko fans in red shirts. The meet up point was almost like a rally for fans before the game and strategically it was a away for the city of Madrid to keep the Liverpool fans and the Tottenham fans on different metro lines as the Tottenham meet up was on the other side of the city. I did stick around to long but it was really exciting to experience. There was also a live concert downtown open to public in Puerta de Sol that I had a chance to check out. My only mistake of the day was taking the metro back to my apartment which was by chance the same metro the Liverpool fans were taking to the game and they were getting one where I wanted to get off. So another girl and I had to fight our way against the crowd to get off the train and out of the metro. But overall a great day.

Switching gears to work now, my job has surprised me in many ways. First I was not expecting to be working in a field so close to my studies. I have actually found this internship has complimented and continued by studies in a way I was not expecting. For the last week I have been learning and reading about what GOVLAB coins CrowdLaw but has also been termed mini-publics. This is basically the use of more direct democracy in government with the use of direct citizen participation in governmental processes. This week for me included a lot of political theory reading, which is not my favorite, but has been really interesting as well as challenging. Managing my time while reading is something I have never had to do before. I did not have a deadline for when I needed to be done so I had to make sure I did not spend too much time on it while also making sure that I understood the material. This is very different from school where I tend to have a lot of time to read documents like this and a deadline.

My first task was to write a video script about the use of Citizen Assemblies, a form of CrowdLaw, in Ireland, Madrid, and British Columbia. I was provided other videos created for the CorwdLaw project by GOVLAB and their scripts as well as pre-researched information on the topic. Again I had to think about and evaluate my time management as I started researching and writing. This type of work also put me out of my comfort zone as writing this type public relations type script is not my skill set. However I was able to get it all done and at the end of the week I had a final draft. This script may be made into a video for GOVLAB which is really exciting as it will give me some thing tangible to show from my experience here.

I started this week tasked with doing my own research this time on the Permanent citizen assembly about to be established in the Ostbelgien region in Belgium. Today I created a research document and summary with works cited that can be used for future work.

Oh and before I sign off let me explain the title. Something that is very strange to me is the Spanish greeting of two kisses. It feels very intimate for a greeting but it is the standard here. This is how I have greeted every member of my host family, my boss, and my boss’s boss. It definitely takes a little getting used to.