I have officially been back in the U.S. for a month now and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little depressed. When I first arrived in Madrid the culture shock was a huge blow to me and now that I am back in the U.S. the same culture shock is hitting me, just from a more familiar angle. During my time in Madrid, the city, the culture, and the people became my home. I enveloped myself in the Spanish way of life, I made tons of Spanish friends and was treated like family by all of them. I worked on my language skills and became a much better (not fluent) Spanish speaker. I really fell in love with Spain. In this blog post I will talk about the things I treasured most while in Spain, and the things that I will miss the most.
1. The People
There are really no people like the Spanish people. The people are so warm, yet straight forward. I was treated like family by all the friends I made and by default, all of their friends and family too. Once you are let into a Spanish friend group, you are there for life, they are very loyal and loving people who include you in everything and really make you feel like a member of the family. I spent a lot of my time in Spain with Madrileño’s (people from Madrid) and they really opened their arms to me. I had many friends that introduced me to their friends and family and I really built myself a huge network of friends and family in Madrid. I keep in touch with all of them and they desperately want me to come back (I also want to go back). The people in Spain, not just Madrid, are amazing people and if you can conquer the language barrier you will make life long friends in this country.
2. The Culture
The culture of Spain is great. What other culture has siestas in the middle of the day? None that I know of. The relaxed culture of Spain is great. I love and miss how casual and relaxed everyone is in Spain. Everyone moves at a slower pace it feels like and people just enjoy the moment. I miss waking up around 10, getting ready, going out and getting some juice and a croissant, walking around the city and stopping in the little tapas bars for a bite to eat and a beer, and then moving on all at my own pace. No one will rush you in Spain and everyone seems to be happy with what they are doing at the moment. The art in Spain and the street performers are another great part of the culture. Spain is a beautiful country.
3. The Public Transportation
This is a practical thing that I will miss The transportation over there is just amazing. Being able to get anywhere quickly and efficiently at relatively low cost is something that I definitely took for granted and missed when I arrived back in Louisville. The United States, especially Louisville does not have great public transportation systems. Louisville only has the TARC bus system, which in my opinion is not very efficient. We do not have subways here either. In Europe, not just Spain, subways and public transportation is amazingly quick and simple. Trains, buses, and trams run very often and are usually very simple to figure out. I got used to being able to walk to a train or hop on a bus at my convenience while over there, and i is something that I miss a lot here in the States. In Louisville, having a car is almost a necessity and it is very difficult to get around with out one. This was not so in Madrid, I could get anywhere I needed to go by using the public transportation and walking on foot
There are many other things I miss about Madrid and Europe in general, but these are the top 3. I encourage you to go travel abroad as well and find the things that you love most about different cities and cultures!