Saturday, October 15, 2011

You're Never too Old to Hold Hands

I went for my first run today in Retiro Park, which is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) park in Madrid and is only a couple blocks away from my apartment.  I don't know why I put off running for so long, it was a relieving and exciting adventure.  I have spent a good amount of time in Retiro but never by myself and never just to simply admire my surroundings. 

It's amazing how much goes on in this park, and how many different types of people you see.  From children sitting and watching a puppet show with huge grins on their faces to the old man sitting on a bench playing his trumpet for pleasure, not for money; it is all such a perfect image of European life.  I feel like I'm beggining to appreciate Madrid on a whole new level. 

Little things that I would never think of mentioning when someone says "how was Madrid?!".  There was a pair of teenagers probably, no older than 16 that were just sitting in the most odd place, away from everything in grass that didn't look too compfortable.  I stopped a few yards away from them to stretch on a bench and realized he was playing ACDC's "Highway to Hell", so I kept an ear out for what he was going to play next.  He then played "Wonderwall" by Oasis, one of me and Emma's songs from middle school that I still love to this day.  He had an obvious accent while he was singing these over-played American songs, but I loved it and wanted to lay down next to this couple all day and just listen.  I feel like everyone around me is in love.  Whether it be with the person sitting next to them or with the nutella crepe in their hands, everyone in Europe is full of passion and romance.  I never see elderly couples in America like the ones I see here.  Here they make an effort to dress up a little bit for a stroll in the park together, always hand in hand or arm in arm.  They take their sweet and precious time.  They are probably the only people with whom I don't get frustrated with when they are walking incredibly slow and I am stuck behind them.  I always take notice of their relaxed pace, as they stroll through Retiro for probably their thousandth time.  I want to grow old in Europe.

The musicians around Madrid  make my heart melt, whenever I pass by them they make my day that much better.  When I think Madrid or Europe in general, I think baguette, small streets, with a man playing an accoridon on the corner.  The saxaphonists in Retiro are amazing as well.  I found myself choosing my running path in accordance to whatever music I heard next as well as the greenest and prettiest lit pathways.  Sometimes I like making myself feel like I'm in a movie, and today I totally felt like I was in one. 

There's this song by Jack Johnson called "Belle", it's short and sweet but fits in with my Europe-loving mood, I need to find more music like that.  I think I'll do that right now actually!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Flowers and Cake Make the World go Round

Life has been interesting these past few days, in both good and bad ways.  It can only be expected though, that's life after all-a mix of ups and downs, lefts and rights, beginnings and ends, bitters and sweets.  I have been thinking about my return home a lot, and how I will transition from Madrid to San Francisco and then to Humboldt County.  I consider myself a city girl, but love the slow-paced vibe that Arcata gives, and miss it, but dread going back at the same time.  Bittersweet! 

My 21st birthday was incredible, so much more than I had expected!  It was a great turn out, good vibes, beautiful people with beautiful personalities, and decent Thai food!  I wasn't expecting so many gifts and suprises, it truly made my 21st in Spain an even more memorable experience.  We went to eat dinner at this Thai restaraunt I came across and they had the tables set up to accomodate all 16 of us!

Although the Thai Ice Tea was a let down, and the Pad Thai, everything else was declicious and great service from our poor waiter who was the only one working.  He kept a smile on though!

The couple days before my birthday I did a bunch of fun stuff!  Friday our USAC program took us on another trip to La Mancha/Chinchon-where Don Quijote takes place.  We spent most of our time on the bus, and only got to explore on our own for bits at a time, but nonetheless saw a cool castle

we also saw loooooots of windmills, a beautiful scene especially with the view in the background, we had to drive up pretty high to get to this location

Our lunch was at a Don Quijote restaraunt and was delicious as always, we tried baked monchego cheese which was heavenly...I wanted to take some back with me!

On Saturday me and some friends went to picnic in Retiro, which we have done many times before, but this time was special!  We actually had blankets, vino, a lot of food and cookies, Kimi was able to join too so that pretty much made my day!  After our picnic and a short stop at Greg's apartment we went on the boats (barcas) in the Retiro lake, it was really fun and we all took turns rowing...while running into other boats.

I also found two ducks and made them my own by feeding them bits of baguette, their names are Wanda (the brown one) and Willy (the colorful one).

My friends Nasim and Kerry also took me to a Chocolateria where they have the BEST churros con chocolate, although I prefer barros to churros, which iswhat you see in this photograph:
It was an overall great weekend/birthday, I'm lucky to be living in the beautiful city of Madrid and be surrounded by amazing people.  I miss those back home of course, it was nice skyping with my besties and Watson and Dad.  I think I'll wear my fun pants tomorrow...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Lazy Arcata Days

Call me crazy, but I have been missing the slow-paced and simple lifestyle of Humboldt County.  I guess I had grown accustom to it and had not even realized.  I miss being able to wake up, go to Farmers Market, make breakfast, and then see where the day would take me (whether it was a day of laundry with the roomies or an adventure out to Moonstone beach to kick a ball around).  I do NOT miss the rain however.  It's suppose to be getting colder here in Madrid pretty soon, good thing I brought my p-coat!  I get nostalgic listening to the Expendables or Sublime, I don't know what I would have done without my I-Pod here.  Today we went on our second and last excursion provided by USAC to Chincon and La Mancha, where Don Quijote is based off of.  The bus rides are at least an hour long, so listening to my I-Pod is a must!  I love just looking out the window at the scenery and dozing off into lala land.  I listened to a lot of Jack Johnson today thanks to Watson who bought me one of his cds. 

My 21st is coming up, this Monday to be exact!  Tomorrow I plan on having a picnic with some friends a the gorgeous Retiro park right next to my house.  I want to adventure out to the boats on the lake as well, it's pretty cheap and holds 4 people a boat supposedly, although they look kind of small.  I should finally be able to see Kimi again tomorrow as well!  I can't believe I have only seen that girl once in the month that I have been here.  Sunday I'm not sure what I'm doing, either an amusement park or something else.  Monday is the Thai dinner night!  Me and however many people want to go are going to get dinner at this Thai restaraunt I found about 20 minutes from my house near the downtown area, I made sure they have Thai ice tea-crucial! 

I forgot what I was going to write about next...oh yea!  I've been getting these crazy moments where reality hits me in this strange way, it's hard to explain.  I will be having a conversation with someone and I'll say something like "well we are in Europe" and then my brain will freeze and I'll think to myself "wait, yea, I AM in Europe aren't I?"  Crazy little moments that are exhilirating and a bit intense.  I've gotten them before in normal everyday situations back in the states,  it's just crazy to be in another country with this entirely different reality surrounding me. 

I can't wait to venture off into other countries, first on the list is Italy!  I have to cut this entry short though, and without photographs because I am heading out into the streets of Madrid once more, and we'll see what happens.