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By the time most of you read this, I will already be back in the States. It’s been quite the journey, eh? From the beginnings–the confusion, the excitement, the new-ness of it all–to the end–which feels so much like the beginning. I can’t even call it an ending. For me, it’s just shift between one chapter in the book of my life and the next one. Instead of being sad about leaving, I’m excited to see how the motifs and themes that run throughout my Madrid Chapter will spice, permeate,and affect the other events in new chapters to come.

Frederico Garcia Lorca in Plaza Santa Ana

While I pondered this year and what it’s brought me, I was reminded of my list of  goals I wanted to accomplish that I wrote at the beginning of this year. I was prepared to write today about how I hadn’t managed to accomplish any of it. What a pleasant surprise! Not only had I managed to fulfill three out of the six to the letter, I also managed to adapt two to a more realistic goal. What’s more, I discovered a passion for cooking, improved my running and Spanish, got to know this city, and travel. It has been a wonderful time. I don’t have any regrets. I created a life here and lived it.

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With less than fifteen days left in good ole España, I set off on a two part trip: First to the south-west and then to the south-east. I would start by visiting a historically significant town, therefore broadening my understanding of Spanish culture and history, and end on a beach, staring at bright blue Mediterranean waters and broadening my understanding of the Good Life.

Emily and I left for Córdoba last Thursday morning. We arrived during the heat of the day. Spanish heat is unique: it’s dry, it’s oppressive, and suddenly you understand why there is a siesta. It’s recently been so hot in my apartment that candle wax is pliable, and my left-over cookie-making chocolate is melting in the cabinets. Spaniards spend most of the day with the shades lowered, huddling in the shade, and flapping their albanicos (hand-held fans) like their life depends on it. Yes, folks, that stereotypical conception of Spaniards and their flamenco and their hand-held fans is completely true! I also have one, and it’s a life saver.

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Oh, Fulbright experience in Madrid, how do I measure thee? Let me count the ways…

  • 10 abonos (or monthly Metro passes)
  • 16 new places visited
  • hundreds of conversations over cañas, G&Ts, and tintos de verano 
  • 3 new Spanish teacher-friends
  • over 200 days of school
  • 6 visits from the States
  • 1 acampada del sol
  • Hours and hours spent wandering around, getting to know My Madrid
  • Hundreds of Metro singers, dancers, and beggars
  • 5o million  postcards sent from my dad
  • 1 awesome Thanksgiving and 12 guests
  • Over 300 cookies (chocolate chip, chocolate chip walnut, sugar, gingerbread) + a few cakes
  • 4 new roommates
  • 3 sinus infections
  • Less than 2 weeks left in one of the best cities in the whole world!
The list could go on and on…

Obviously there is no way that I can truly enumerate my time here in Madrid. In fact, if anything, looking of each of my bullets, I feel like the time I’ve spent here  is diminished. Instead I prefer to look at this year as an amazing year of growth brought on by lots of challenges, patience, support, and lots of love.

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