Fall arrived this week in Madrid. It’s been a long time coming, and a gradual and pleasant transition.
This is the first week I noticed leaves on the ground, and only the second night in which I’ve felt chilly even in my coat while walking outside. Before coming to Spain, I asked the Universe to keep the weather nice here for a while, since I wasn’t able to experience as much summer this year thanks to horrible Boston weather. Now, balance has been restored.
The reason I haven’t been posting is because I’ve been really busy. I finally have some private classes I can teach to get extra money, and the first quarter of my Master’s classes are coming to a close, which means lots of homework.
Here is an update as to what has been going on in my life/mind:
1. My new apartment is still really great, and getting better each day. Well it’s a two steps forward, one step back kind of deal in which every time something gets fixed, something else breaks. But the kitchen is fully functional, and everything else is coming along. My new apartment helps me make the best use of my time (because…I may have mentioned…I’m busy) and have a routine. I try to have lights out by 11:00pm so I get 9 hours of sleep a night, which is possible since I live so close to work and start at 9:30 each day. Eventually, I hope to start going home and going running during my lunch breaks during the week, but that has yet to happen because so far I’ve found a myriad of excuses. But having a working kitchen has helped me to focus on eating better (which makes me feel better.) So I try to eat more vegetables (Lauren is my inspiration), and I switched to a high fiber cereal in the morning. When I tell people that, they always ask if I’m having trouble pooping. I’m not, thanks for asking, but I like the fact that fiber keeps me full and gives me more energy. I’m drinking lots of water.
2. My job at the school is going well. I think I’m improving at planning lessons and having realistic expectations for each age level. I did have one morning this week where I was trying to control a room of screaming five-year-olds and I was very close to crying. That was a bad day. I have those sometimes. But I also cried later that day when I read the end of a really good book. So, you know, I don’t get to cry at the Today Show each morning like I used to, so I have to cry sometime, right? I also have gotten busier due to the private classes I took up (did I mention I was busy yet?). I had to actually drop one of them because it made me get home way too late. I still probably have taken on too many, but I feel relieved to know that the money situation is under control. Now, I can maybe spend some money on myself :).
3. Social life is good. I’m not really interested in dating anyone right now, so I’ve just been going out to have a good time and be with friends (complete opposite of the last time I was in Spain.) I have made some really great friends through my program (remember when I was scared to death that I wouldn’t like any of them because they’d all be young and immature?) Well, they are young…and come to think of it immature…(jk) but they’re lots of fun! We went out for Halloween, and if it wasn’t past my bedtime, I would upload some photos for you. It’s so nice to be friends with people you like as well as admire, you know? I find those are the people that always end up meaning the most to me.
4. School has been stressing me out some. But as Annie said when she was drunk one night, nothing really matters in Spain. That’s not entirely true, I mean, I am here to get my Master’s so school is important. But yesterday, when there were almost tears at work and I felt a mental breakdown coming on, I first thought that even though I’m busy, Barack Obama is busier. Also, I thought about the fact that I’m not here in Spain to be miserable and stressed! I’m here to have fun and have experiences. So I need to stop making myself feel guilty and irresponsible when I go out. For example, last Thursday I went out even though it was late, I was tired, I should have gotten rest for Halloween weekend, and on the way there I forgot my phone and had to come back home to get it and then got on the Metro going the wrong way. But I did finally make it there and it was fun. And yeah, I got drunk Thursday, Friday, and Saturday last week. And I have to turn in a 10-page paper and do a presentation tomorrow. But it all will work out and I need to chill.
Other things: (Remember when my blog was also philosophical? Let’s pretend that’s now.)
Not ever watching any TV gives my brain time to think a lot. And I often think about who I am and how I can improve myself (corny? sorry.) A friend here said that there are things he doesn’t like about himself, but that he’s not sure if he should accept them as a part of who he is, or try to change them. In my case, I’m constantly trying to change the things I don´t like about myself. The two big things I’m working on currently are:
1. Being kind. Especially to the people who run into me on the Metro or in the street, or who seem to annoy me for whatever reason. I try to remember that some of them might be having a bad day like I have sometimes, and they deserve to be treated with kindness and understanding. However, I do think it’s important to stand up for myself and look after my own needs, so I’m constantly trying to find a balance.
2. Being generous. I’ve come a long way since college with this. But so many people in Madrid have amazed me with their generosity. I feel so grateful to have them in my life and want to be more like them.
I began missing Boston for the first time this week…it took me a while, huh?
I miss going to late night soccer games (not to mention the team, and actually playing). I miss when people would come on over the loud speaker at work and sound like they could not hate life more, I miss dinners at Lauren’s, running after work in Marblehead, the drug dealers in Chelsea…ok, not really.
At the same time, I sometimes feel so lucky for the life I have now in Spain that I can’t even contain it. Yes, mental breakdowns and all, it’s nice to be busy. It’s nice to be young in Madrid and have friends to enjoy it with. It’s nice to feel like I’m accomplishing something. There’s so much to take in here that I just want to absorb as much as I possibly can.