My last days in Spain centered about the visit of my grandparents and relatives from Germany, the EuroCopa and, of course, the always dreadful packing. In between doing the standard touristy things (checking out the Prado, eating at Mercado San Miguel, taking a daytrip to Segovia), I was also trying to jam the past nine months of my life into three suitcases and a couple handbags. It was a tad crazy to say the least.
Thanks to the cleaning expertise of my grandma, we were able to do some scrubbing on Saturday and by the afternoon closed the door to my Spanish apartment forever. I spent my last night eating tapas with my visitors and avoiding the Gay Pride festivities for the sanity of my grandpa who saw a few too many men in high heels than he could handle.
My grandparents had never been to Paris before so wanted to make a pit stop there en route to Germany. I’ll never refuse a trip to Paris (even if only for a day and a half), and they invited Gabe to come along which was the cherry on top.
After the rapid-fire sightseeing in Paris, we bid Gabe adieu and jumped on the train to Germany. While there I got to see the town my grandpa grew up in, eat plenty of German food and talk with family. After all this though, I can say I feel a bit relieved to be on the plane and know that I am going home for good and will soon be unpacking my suitcases on American soil once and for all… Well, for now.
Things I will miss about Madrid:
1. Kissing on two cheeks You know that moment when you meet someone and don’t know whether to go in for the handshake, hug or cheek kiss? Well no need to worry about this in Spain- you always always kiss on two cheeks. You never have to worry about an awkward greeting situation again!
2. Football Or soccer for Americans. I am sure that I will fall right back into watching American football but over this past year I have come to rely on watching soccer games as a weekly activity. It’s the best way to relax with friends and get out without going too hard.
3. Wine It’s cheap and delicious. Spainiards combine it with Coke to make a calimoxo or lemon Fanta to make tinto de verano. The best.
4. Snacks with your drinks I remember coming home for winter break and longing for something to snack on while I sipped my drink. Whether it’s simply potato chips (ok, even those are better in Spain), or olives, it’s the smart and delicious.
5. Visitors Since I have mainly wrote on this blog about my trips, I rarely talked in depth about those that have made trips to me. Luckily, many of my friends decided to use me living in Spain as an excuse to travel to Europe and I do not blame them. First was Taylor. We ran a half-marathon together and toured Cadiz.
6. The metro Sure I kind of miss my car but never having to worry about filling up on gas, traffic or getting a speeding ticket while going anywhere is pretty great.
7. Mealtimes Something I once dreaded, I have come to appreciate. I understand the purpose of a big lunch (although I often don’t abide by it) and I love having a late dinner. It gives me time to do everything else I need to do and truly enjoy my last meal of the day before going to bed.
8. Picnics in the park Between Parque del Oeste to Parque Retiro, there are places to picnic close to wherever you might be. Pick up some cheese, bread, meat, wine and fruit from the grocery store (Simply is my favorite supermercado), and you have he perfect afternoon.
9. Malasaña This is a neighborhood in Madrid that is my absolute favorite. With kitschy restaurants, cute boutiques, sunny plazas, and fun bars, it stole my heart and was my go-to area when I had some free time on hand.
10. The people From my Spanish work colleagues to new friends both Spanish and American, I feel so lucky to have gotten close with so many different people in only nine months. This might be what I will miss the most.
After I left Madrid the first time in 2009, I did not think I would ever return. I thought the same thing when I left Miami last August but turns out, I will be moving back there again tomorrow! Long story short, if I have learned anything over this past year it is that it is never really goodbye.