Considering that I’ve only lived in Madrid for 3 weeks, you could say I’m still in the “honeymoon” stage, where everything is new and exciting, and the monotony of everyday life hasn’t sunken in yet. I have however settled into some kind of normalcy. I have a weekday routine that revolves around meals, classes, Mitzy, and “getting things done”. I’ve successfully figured out how to use the metro efficiently! Yet sometimes living here feels like living in a different country…oh, right. But seriously, I live above a restaurant, a discoteca, and a grocery store. Finding a person who speaks English is exciting and comforting at the same time. There are entire restaurants and stores dedicated solely to selling ham. Every car is a diesel with manual transmission. I hang up my underwear outside the apartment window because we don’t have a dryer (and apparently that’s normal). Diego doesn’t know who Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are (YAY! It’s awesome…yet also perplexing…how did he manage that?!).
So when Diego took Mitzy and I to Casa de Campo yesterday, it was a welcome relief from the hectic city life. I know a lot of people might say that it’s romantic to be spontaneous, but I have to say that for me it’s even more romantic when he excitedly plans things for us to do. “Let’s run this errand, then make this for lunch, then take a siesta before going to Casa de Campo for a long walk”. Sounds great!
Mitzy enjoyed it so much, frolicking through the grass off-leash, chasing rabbits. Amazingly, even though we live in a tiny apartment in the center of Madrid, Mitzy actually gets more exercise and outdoor time than she did in San Diego. This is due to a few things, including me not having a job right now, Diego helping a lot with her care, and the fact that not being able to just let her into a yard to pee forces us to go for walks. It has turned out to be great for all three of us–we walk more than we used to. I now walk about 8-10 miles a day. Turns out, this sort of regime helps to keep you in shape!
Casa de Campo is the biggest park in Madrid, and is truly impressive in size and scenery. There are hiking and biking trails, views of the city and the snow capped mountains, and a lake for small boats. The wildflowers are blooming and everything is green from the frequent rain we’ve been getting lately. There are a ton of wild rabbits running around, birds chirping, and families going for a bike ride.
When we returned home, we met up with a few of Diego’s friends for dinner. We ate at 10:30 pm (also normal) as I tried to understand everything everyone was saying. It’s pretty amazing to me how much the way someone talks can affect how much I understand (accent, speed, enunciation). There are some Spaniards that I understand very well, and some that I give my “WTF?” face to, while trying my best to not look confused. Still, I am slowly getting better and have to cut myself a break–I’ve only been here 3 weeks, and I have learned a LOT. I am thankful for this journey, and for the people that have helped make it happen.