So, it has been approximately 31739247 years since I wrote my last blog post…apologies. Since my last update, I have been a very, very busy bee. In this last month, I lost my voice for a second time (this time it was ONLY for 5 days thankfully), I had full blown flu which wiped me out for several days and I also was infected by the little darlings that I teach and ended up with a delightful stomach bug. I am now convinced that I am allergic to Spain or else it just has a vendetta against me for some unknown reason.
I can’t possibly talk about everything that has happened in the last month because I would be here until next Christmas! So, I’m just going to mention a couple of my highlights from the last load of weeks.
- Family visiting has definitely been one of the nicest things from the last wee while. Although I’m not really feeling overly homesick, it has been great to spend time with people from back home. At the end of October, my mum, dad and not-so-little brother Josh were over, and we had the best long weekend catching up and exploring my new home. I moved into their flat for the week because at that point we still didn’t have WiFi – so that was a definite plus. We laughed a lot and I feel so joyful inside because mum and dad have been beyond supportive during my time away, and it just makes the whole experience that bit easier. Last weekend Granny and John also came out to visit me which was great. We didn’t do as much exploring of the city as I did with my parents, however, we did do a coffee shop crawl of Madrid over the weekend and ate a lot of very good food!
- Second on the list would have to be the evening that I went to see Addams Family the musical in Madrid. Oh, and SHOCK HORROR…I went to see it on my own. My friends here were absolutely horrified that I went to see a musical on my own, but I really wanted to go and see it, so I went. I actually went on Halloween night and a lot of the audience had dressed up so that was amusing. The musical was incredible, and I actually understood pretty much everything (except the Spanish cultural and political references they had added in to get some laughs).
- On the 1st November in the evening I was due to be tutoring, however since it was a national holiday it was cancelled! Therefore, I ended up getting the opportunity to go to see a series of films in a planetarium here in Madrid with my friend Andres. I had only been to one planetarium before that in my life but they are very cool places and space is an incredible thing. It was a real test of my Spanish, as the film was talking about dark matter and black holes…to be honest I probably wouldn’t have understood if it was in English never mind Spanish, but I had a fabulous night nonetheless.
- Number four on the list is the night I had an international dinner with some of my church friends. We all brought a typical dish from our country to share (I brought fifteens of course) but other foods there on the night included Venezuelan tequeños, tortilla española, Mexican chilaquiles, Australian sausage rolls (which did result in a debate about whether sausage rolls are British or Australian), Venezuelan torta tres leches and gofio from the Canary Islands. A great night was had all round and resulted in us teaching the Spanish speakers how to play the game fishbowl, which turned out to be a great laugh.
- Next on the list was my day out in casa de campo with my flatmates. It is very rare that we all go out exploring together and so the time spent with them was precious. None of us had ever been to casa de campo before but it was just beautiful, and is the backdrop of my new profile picture on facebook. We planned to go on the cable car but after climbing to the top of the hill, we were told it was “too windy” and that it wasn’t running which was a disappointment. We ended the day of exploring with a viewing of the little mermaid in Spanish which was even more magical than the English version.
- I’ve said it before, and I will say it again a thousand times over. Sundays are always my favourite day of the week, because spontaneous plans are the best things ever. One Sunday after Church, we went to Tierra (which does a great burrito – however boojum is still better!!) and after that we went to Palacio Cibeles to explore and ended up in the most bizarre exhibition inside. Another great Sunday was actually a Sunday when I had no voice and the beginnings of the flu. We headed to dominoes after church, but dominoes is incredible here in Spain. €7 for bottomless pizza and drinks! You just keep ordering large pizzas until you burst – which we all did!! After the pizza, we went to the temple of debod for sunset and finished the day with a walk along the Manzanares river in search of the swings. I left my house that morning before 10am and didn’t return until 10:30pm…which probably wasn’t the wisest when I was ill, but fun comes before health haha!
- Seventh on the list has to be the fact that I have had several visitors this month from university! Leanne was here at the start of the month (whilst I had no voice) and had the patience of a saint and didn’t laugh too hard at my misfortune which was great. Then two weekends ago, Elena, Lucy-Jane and Genevieve from my Portuguese class came to Madrid and it was a fantastic weekend. I think they were slightly overwhelmed by the amount of people here in Madrid in comparison to where they are located for their year abroad placements. My granny said the same thing when she was here. I think I must just be immune to the busy streets now…which is a good thing I guess because São Paulo is going to be even busier!!
- Yesterday evening was just a lovely night and definitely one of my highlights from the last while. Kerry, Oriana wandered the streets for a long time trying to figure out what to do. Eventually Oriana suggested we go bowling, and so we went to the whole way to the bowling alleys, only to discover the waiting list was 50 minutes long. So, we admitted defeat and headed back to the centre of Madrid to get something to eat. We ended up in a restaurant called La Tita and ate burritos, which were nice, but sadly had bits of uncooked rice inside that nearly broke my teeth (definitely wouldn’t happen in boojum!) We spent the whole evening laughing and Oriana was teaching Kerry and I some classic Venezuelan phrases, and we offered our delightful Norn Irish phrases in return.
This last while has resulted in my friendships deepening and I am already dreading having to say goodbye to everyone when I leave Spain in January. I have been so blessed by the people that have been placed around me here in Madrid, and the lovely people back home who keep me going!! I distinctly remember one night at a youth event in Newtownards last year, when I had an absolute meltdown about how I wasn't going to make any friends when I was abroad. I can now safely say that all the tears were wasted and that I am TRULY happy.
"Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!"