Imagining my life as a full-time resident of Madrid is not entirely too hard to envision, it is something that I hope to do at some point down the line for a period of time. I’d like to live in La Latina, a quaint little neighborhood filled with local restaurants and shops at every turn. From 9 AM to 1 AM, La Latina’s streets are never empty. From grabbing a quick tapas to attending a local yoga class, there is always something to do in this neighborhood. One of my favorite events is every Sunday morning when El Rastro begins. I’ve mentioned El Rastro in a previous blog post, but it is essentially a flea market that takes over the entire neighborhood- filling the streets with eager customers, live music, and a lot of authentic products and food to buy. My current apartment is right on the border of La Latina and Centro, so I am already very familiar with the area and within a 2-minute walk from the central area.
One admirable aspect of the Spaniard lifestyle is that people actually work in the fields they are passionate about. I’ve found that in the fast-paced American culture, it is easy to get caught up in wealth and success rather than what your ideal dream job would be and putting in the time to actually pursue it. During my time abroad, I have met so many people that are following their dreams of owning a yacht business or opening up a culinary cooking shop to teach people authentic cooking. I have so much respect for these dream chasers who are ignoring societal norms and loving what they do. If I lived in Madrid full-time, I am not sure what I would want to do. I think my job would have to be something that pertained to international business and travel to be the most fitting with my desire to explore and immerse myself in a variety of different cultures and experiences.
At the beginning of my program abroad, 4 months seemed like plenty of time to explore Madrid and even have some spare time to get homesick- boy was I wrong! You could eat at a different restaurant for every meal and still not have tried everything. I underestimated how big of a city Madrid was, but I am thankful for the opportunities I had to discover its culture. One thing that I regret not seeing enough of is the variety of different parks located throughout the city. I never got a chance to see the Botanical gardens because they were booked past Christmas and I just visited Casa de Campo (another beautiful park) for the first time just a few weeks before I had to go back home. I would also like to further educate myself in their art and culinary scene, there are dozens of museums and cooking classes located across the city that I would’ve liked to spend more time at.
After studying abroad, my eyes have been open towards a different way of life that I’d like to revisit soon. I know I will live in Madrid again within my lifetime- and I hope it turns out like this.