Three Weeks Ago

madrid spain

“You must clean the air conditioning filter twice a year. At least! You will cause mold,” my landlord’s best friend’s 60-year-old boyfriend commanded, though his command was useless. I had already handed the realtor my key.

He was tall, broad, red in the face, had cropped white hair that matched his white handlebar mustache, and spoke with a Eastern European accent. This wasn’t our first encounter, but I was glad to know it was our last.

“When are you leaving?” the realtor asked.

“Right now,” I told her.

Three weeks after I left my apartment in Fort Lauderdale for good, I’m living in Europe on an extended vacation. I’m currently in Madrid, Spain, a city I fell in love with in 2019 on a girls trip with my best friend and her cousin. I’ve always wanted to stay in Madrid longer than a few days, and this year, I was able to make it happen.

During the past week, I’ve been walking the city, gathering intel, making observations, and creating an internal list of pros and cons.

Here is my analysis thus far:

  1. I cannot even remotely speak Spanish.
  2. If I have to eat one more croissant for breakfast, I will have a panic attack.
  3. You can get a good glass of wine for $5.00 anywhere.
  4. Tapas are kind of overrated?
  5. You could walk around the city blindfolded and still find a great bar.
  6. El Retiro Park is a magical place that everyone should visit during their lifetime.
  7. The giant, furry, half-animal, half-inflatable creatures at El Retiro Park are something everyone should avoid during their lifetime. I’ve been referring to them as “The Gauntlet.”
  8. If you have a portrait made at El Retiro Park, the portrait will look like a hybrid between a frog and a human. (I learned this last time, but it’s worth a mention.)
  9. Everyone is a night owl. If you aren’t out and about after 9:00 p.m., you are indeed a loser and likely serving Quasimodo vibes.
  10. Madrid is a very social city—everyone hangs out with a large group of friends at the park or in bars and restaurants. If you look close enough, there might be what appears to be a homeschooled kid hanging out on the fringes of these groups, hoping to find a way to infiltrate them.
  11. Working from coffee shops is not a thing here, but I did find a designated work cafe that has a cold, industrial American feel to it. There’s no place like home <3.
  12. Foreigners stick out like sore thumbs. People from Madrid look like they fell off a giant acorn-like tree in El Retiro. Inside each human-sized pod is an attractive Madrileño who was born with sunkissed highlights in their brown hair and a long camel-colored wool coat.
  13. My Spanish is not improving. In fact, I think it’s getting worse. Currently, my vocabulary is at the same level as an 8-month-old infant.

I haven’t blogged in years, but I wanted to write down some of my thoughts while I’m traveling. Thus far, nothing absurd has happened, beyond walking into a shop that sold pureed meat sandwiches exclusively. I have a few Bumble BFF dates coming up, and given my history with Bumble BFF, this could get interesting.

I also wrote this on cold medicine. Right now, it reads pretty coherent, but we’ll see what it looks like in the morning.

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