Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shut up, Stephanie

Moving to Madrid will probably be the most awesome thing to happen to me and yet, I've started to freak out. I'm fine and completely excited one minute, even watching "On The Road Again" and the next, I'm making lists, crunching numbers and contemplating the magnitude of what it means to move to another country.

And that's when I consider calling it off.

But then a voice inside my head says, "YOU'D BE INSANE IF YOU DID, MISSY." Sometimes, this voice has a southern twang to it. Other times, it sounds like Anthony Bourdain, with slightly more colorful language (Yes, there are voices implicated. You should be just as concerned as I am). So I've started reminding myself of all the great things that await in Spain, because there are many.

Here are a few:

1. Siestas. OF COURSE THIS IS AT THE TOP OF THE LIST. It's no secret that I love to sleep. But college (not to mention working two jobs and juggling a few internships in between) turned sleep into a rare luxury. Sometimes, I power napped in my car before class. Sad, isn't it? (I should add here that I graduated with honors, so the eye bags were worth it). But you see, in Spain, everything comes to a screeching halt for nap time. It's kind of a big deal. Businesses close because they WANT you to catch up on your beauty sleep. I don't want to let Spain down, so nap I will!

2. I can has paella?
I'm really curious to try it. All I know is that it's a mixed rice dish that may or may not contain snails. I'll give the snails a try just as long as there aren't any traces of the Devil's food ONIONS.

3. Sangria.
This needs no explanation.

4. Personal growth.
Yeah, I know it sounds very self-helpish, but I need to be more self-reliant and independent. To me this means paying my own rent, catching trains, getting lost, homesickness, buying toothpaste, leaving the nest for one of my own and falling flat on my face. A good kick in the pants, just what every recent college graduate needs. It's all good.

5. Museums.
Spain has quite a few of them, the most famous being The Prado, which has some Velázquezes, Goyas and Bosches. Also, admission is free if you're a student under the age of 25. And not too far from The Prado is the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia, which has Picasso's "Guernica." The art history geek in me will be very happy, methinks.

6. New amigos!
When I land in Spain, I won't know a single person there. There will be no past history looming over my head, I won't be so and so's daughter, sister or friend. It will be just me and my suitcases. Nice to meet you too.

7. Barcelona. Besides the beaches, I'm really excited to learn more about Gaudi.

Casa Milà

8. Real Madrid games. Spanish soccer hooligans! Ronaldo! GOAAAAAAAL!

9. Visiting Malaga, where my great-grandfather was born.
I probably have family still living there. But if I sought them out, it would be weird to show up on their doorstep, right? ("HOLA! I COME FROM AMERICA!") I just like the idea of coming full circle somehow.

But what am I looking forward to the most?

10. Parque del Buen Retiro ("The Good Retreat")

If I'm not working, I will surely be found here, taking a nap, reading, kite-flying, people-watching, painting, writing, daydreaming and exploring the less frequented parts of the park.

This will be my happy place.

The Spanish royals used to go to the park for Christmas and Easter during the 16th century. Later, King Philip III decided to build the Royal Gardens there.

And as if the park wasn't beautiful enough, there's also a Crystal Palace.

I half expect to bump into a unicorn.


  1. I've been to Malaga! Very nice, I had lunch (paella with sangria!! OMGSOGOOD) at a restaurant right by the beach.

    You must send postcards, miss!

  2. OMG goodness woman that was super fast! And yes, I will send you postcards!

  3. wow! prepare to hear a lot of cool slang. I like "Vale, venga!" And yes, Parque del Buen Retiro is really great place for a writer and some mid-afternoon walks. I didn't get to check out Barcelona though...maybe when I go visit you :)

  4. Definitely Tat!I really hope you come visit me!

  5. Spanish Cuisine my favorite (*) and Paella my favorite dish...

    (*)it fights for 1st place with Italian Cuisine.

    Have a great time, and enjoy every day... And no fears.. go full circle. Find the family in Malaga!!!


  6. I LOVE this post. I totally agree on the whole personal growth point. As excited as I am, I'm also terribly frightened at the prospect of arriving and navigating around madrid alone! I am looking forward to everything I'm going to learn about being independant, and living in another country! Duude, I know a girl who is living in Malaga right now, let's plan a trip there together :D


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