Moving to Madrid: A new beginning

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I did it. I made the leap.

After a year-and-a half, I am back in Madrid, Spain, and what a wild ride it has been over the past three days!

I have returned to my favorite city to serve as an English language assistant and follow my artistic + poetic dreams, as well as my life goal of becoming bilingual at the same time.

I have quite a lot of aspirations stacked high on my plate, and throughout this journey, I will update you on them all. 

I will spill the happy moments, the humorous, and even the ugly, because that is what this blog/site is all about.

It is not a sugarcoated lifestyle blog for me to update you on fashion—which is incredible in Europe in case you were curious!

It is not a travel blog—even though I will post about trips I make, because that is also a part of this grand adventure.

The purpose of this site is to give an honest report about all that happens when you crack open the glass cage of fear that is holding you back from what you really want and just go for it. 

Now let’s dive in…

My first day back was rough.

On the plane ride I was most preoccupied with how my socially-awkward-self would handle cheek-kissing strangers hello once again and trying to get some sleep to lessen the harsh effects of losing seven hours of time instantly.

you could say my initial arrival was less of a happy welcome back hug, and more of a high five to the face.

Within the first twenty minutes of being airborne, the motion sickness kicked in. I spent the next long nine hours of discomfort trying to get myself to fall asleep, but instead binge watched every movie I hadn’t seen in theaters over the past five years.

After many hours spent nauseously watching my phone clock, counting down the minutes, my plane landed safely. 

Thankfully I did not have to worry about my ride from the airport.

I had a trusted family friend and Madrileño picking me up. Days prior he consistently reassured me not to worry about all of my luggage, but traveling with three suitcases—two of them almost exceeding the 50 pound limit—I wondered how he could remain so calm.

I remembered from my previous stay that parking in the city center is about as existent as melanin in my body, and I had to first visit a leasing office to get my apartment keys. 

I soon discovered why he had been so calm...

It turned out that were going to travel on his motor scooter to fetch the keys to my new home, and we would then return to my apartment in the car with all of my luggage.

So there I was, less than an hour after my first step (again) on Spanish soil, cruising down the highway on the back of a middle-aged man’s Vespa.

Lizzie McGuire would be envious.

But in all seriousness, it was really fun to weave in between cars and buses on the highway. Motorbikes have free range on the roads here. There was one moment we slid between a bus and a construction barrier, and I feared my knee might hit one or the other and send me flying, but here I am writing to you in one piece. 

The real ‘excitement’ happened when I arrived to my apartment.

I had thought it was a bit strange that no one from the agency could meet me out front, as I had done during my previous stay, but they told me they had too many arrivals in September to arrange for individuals.  

I probably should have trusted my gut feeling.

After all, I spent most of the summer with little luck trying to communicate with the agency to confirm my stay (all in broken Spanish I may add) after transferring my safety deposit and reservation fee.

Part of me was reassured when I entered the agency office to discover I hadn't been scammed and would not be homeless. 

I guess you could say I should not have been surprised when I unlocked my apartment door and was met with a filthy sight and a room that hadn’t been cleaned after its last occupant left three months prior.

It looked nothing like the pictures I had seen online (which I later discovered were five years old), and I had just signed my year-long contract.

So there I was with a nightmare housewarming, no groceries, and fighting both nausea and the desire to crash at 10:00 am due to the time difference.

Thankfully, after a lot of cleaning and a LOT of trips to Primark and local stores, my room feels more like home.

I braved the past few days of heat and made several trips to find essentials. 

 The view of my room when you first walk in.

The view of my room when you first walk in.

And my week was not met without humor.

On Monday, I bought a mirror from a Danish store called the Flying Tiger which was too large to fit in their normal retail bags. I had to buy a large reusable one to carry my new mirror back to my apartment.

Unfortunately, the English phrases they use on items in Spain don’t always translate as well, so I walked around the city amongst tourists' and locals' stares holding a giant pink bag that read, “What’s up beach?”  

The only other bag they had for me to choose said, “Squeeze me like a lemon, baby,” and I don’t know what I found more concerning: the fact someone approved that bag, or the fact there was only one left in stock, compared to the surplus of “What’s up beach?” bags. 

 My new vanity and desk/art workspace.

My new vanity and desk/art workspace.

On the bright side,

I’ve already been able to practice my Spanish. Most of my roommates are native Spaniards, with the exception of one Australian. But her Spanish is even more fluent than mine! Four of us (there are seven in total—ay dios mio!) spent my second night staying up late speaking in Spanish—mostly talking about how terrible our landlord is.

I can already tell this year is going to be great. 

I won’t make this post too long, but I will leave you with a sentimental note:

During my last week in Madrid (back in 2017), I visited a concept store and bought a map of my favorite neighborhood to take back with me. I framed it and kept it in my room at school all year long (not knowing I was ever coming back to visit, yet alone live).

Later this summer, I was able to pinpoint my current apartment on that map, and today I happened to pass by that same store.

I went back in to look at the new art and I saw a small art print in a frame similar to a larger (expensive one) on the wall. I asked the girl up front if they had any more for sale, and she said it looked like they were display pieces from the artist and not for sale.

I was almost discouraged, until she kindly gave it to me for free?! It’s now hanging alongside other art and photos beside my bed. 

 My little photo collage filled with pictures from Lisbon, Segovia, Amsterdam, as well as one of my own art prints and the print from the concept store (The blue face!)

My little photo collage filled with pictures from Lisbon, Segovia, Amsterdam, as well as one of my own art prints and the print from the concept store (The blue face!)

Long story short: Madrid is magical place and my new home. A year ago today, I was a college senior with no idea that I would be sitting at a desk in Malasaña (my beautiful neighborhood), walking distance from my favorite cafés.

Who knows where I will be a year from today?

All I know is that this is just the start of my adventure. 

 

Hasta Luego!

Belle