This Thursday will make it 6 weeks that I have been here in Madrid. It’s been a 6 weeks filled with highs and lows, some of which made me question whether this was for me. Every struggle has, however, made me that much stronger, and made me realize what’s important in life and what isn’t. I expect that journey of self-realization to continue.
Besides the deep and philosophical, there’s been plenty else I’ve noticed about Madrid so far. The first couple of weeks were surreal and it was difficult to grasp a real feel for the city; as the weeks went on, I started to see the city in a different light, got out of my little central zone, and noticed how diverse and beautiful the city really is. Here is a short list* of the things I’ve noticed:
- People like proximity in Spain. There’s no one on the metro, yet there’s an empty seat next to you? Expect whoever is getting on with you to prop themselves next to you, even if they don’t say a word to you. Expect them to look at your phone if you text, or even ask you if you have a boyfriend.
- That brings me to my next point – the Spanish see asking you if you have a “novio” (Spanish for “boyfriend”) as completely normal. Privacy? I don’t think there’s a word for that in Spanish.
- Speaking of which, does “sorry” exist in the Spanish dictionary? If you’re a Canadian like me, just don’t be too shell-shocked if you don’t hear anyone say it… ever. Even if they bump into you.
- Want to get anywhere fast and without any hassle? Don’t take the metro. Take a train.
- While we’re on the subject of metros, never transfer metro lines at Plaza de Espana. You could walk from Sol to Getafe (south of Madrid, a 45+ minute metro ride) in less time.
- Spanish kids will LOVE you if you attempt to speak their language with them, even if you mess up the words and say the name “Nacho” like “Naw-ch-oh”. Just don’t ever say “Sergio” like “Serj-ee-oh” and you’re good.
- If you aren’t comfortable with compliments or being treated like an object, get ready to be called “guapa” at least 20 times a day. It’s a thing.
- In the same vein, if you aren’t comfortable with attention, don’t speak English on the metro. Just don’t do it.
- You are always American, even if you are Canadian.
- If you have light blonde hair, good luck blending in. Seriously, it won’t happen. Prepare yourself.
* This post may or may not be better read whilst taking it with a grain of salt. 😉
(Videos and pictures to come).