Traveling on My Own

This past week was probably one of my favorites so far in Madrid and at work. I feel like I hit a grove living in the city this week and at work. But first I want to talk about this weekend. I decided because I went to Morocco last weekend I would take it easy this weekend and do a one day trip to Toledo, which is about 30 minutes outside of Madrid by train. I decided to go on this trip by myself and I bought the tickets the night before. Traveling by myself was self-reflective experience. The day started with me waking up to late and barely making it to the train station in time. My train left at 8:50 and I arrived at the train station at 8:45 and I still had to go through security. The guy at security who checked my ticket looked at me, gave me directions to the platform, and said “run!” So, I ran full speed through the station and just made it to my train before it pulled out of the station. It was at this moment when I realized that I should always have a water bottle with me because you never know when you are going to go for a run.

I caught the early train out of Madrid though and arrived in Toledo before the crowds around 9:30. For the first hour or two I was there the city had very few people roaming around and the cool morning air remained. I also went on a Sunday which explains the lack of people. Toledo was absolutely beautiful though. I think the city was set up for a festival or celebration as well because there were flowers hanging from the streets and the whole city seemed to be decorated. I decided just to wonder around all day instead of having a set plan and I really got to travel the way I wanted to travel. I found a pace that I liked and explored the way I wanted to explore and rested when I wanted and ate when I wanted. Sometimes when you are with a large group you end up stuck doing things with the group whether or not you want to. But on my own I was able to follow my own schedule and I had a great day. I visited a beautiful church that was absolutely beautiful. It was not the center piece church of the city but it was one my favorite European churches I have ever visited. I also went to the Museo Ejercito which was very cool. The museum was free because it was Sunday so I decided to splurge for the audio which is something I never do, like never. But it really helped me engage with the museum and it was definitely worth it. I went to this museum because it is in the Alcazar, fortified castle, of Toledo which is an incredible building. One of the down sides of traveling on my own was that I had no one to share my great day with, no one to chat with, and no one to reflect on the day with. I mean I did call me my mom so that counts, right? I know she is going to read this so that’s a yes. I think having some one around might have helped with the fatigue. Toledo was a physically exhausting city with a lot of steep up hill and down hill and by the end of the day I so tired I barely stayed awake in the shower. And to day a day later I am still exhausted. But hey as my dad says that’s life in the fast lane.

Moving on to last week now. I really had a great week. I started the week with a mentally challenging task of summarizing and translating from Spanish to English a 15 page legal document. This task had a lot of responsibility attached as it purpose was to brief and American who traveling to Spain and did not speak Spanish and it was one of my most challenging assignments thus far. However though it was challenging I was prepared for it by my education at Pitt. I have been able to accomplish most if not all with the skill set I have built at Pitt from researching to summarizing to writing. My internship has been very academically based with a lot of research on Political Theory and real world practical examples. This is one of the reasons I have been well prepared. There aspects of my internship though that I have not been well prepared for and the main one is discussion. One of the coolest things to happen during my internship so far was a presentation my supervisors gave to local community members about CrowdLaw. This presentation was less of a lecture and more of a discussion between the community members and my supervisors as the discussed current issues faced by the city and possible solutions based in this research. There were multiple challenges during this presentation for me. One was that the citizens spoke very quickly and passionately about these subject is varying accents making it very hard for me to follow the conversation or add my own thoughts. The other was that this type of discussion about issues and thinking is something that I could personally improve on. I have been working on this skill since the beginning of my internship when on the first day after reading all the background theory on CrowdLaw my supervisor asked me what I thought and expected an answer. This was something I was just not prepared for. I have learned a lot from these experiences and now whenever I do any type of work I am actively forming opinions about what I am reading and taking notes so I can remember and have discussions with my supervisor.