Hasta luego, Madrid
And in one final gulp, it was over. Madrid, in all its Spanish capital city glamour and grit, downed like a final splash of a tinto de verano.
Loving the experience of living in Spain and traveling came naturally, but falling for La Capi unfolded in layers. I can only dream about what another year here would do. I think it would be even harder to pull me away.
It was a beautiful opportunity to live life anew— to make new friendships, work with new colleagues, teach new students, explore new barrios, learn new Spanish phrases, and feel new emotions. There was a sense of adventure present on even the most routine of days. I walked with purpose and never wished away the weeks. As the seasons changed, so did I— a personal change that one can never fully predict. Looking back to the emotion filled weeks leading up to my move abroad and the nerves that followed, I can say from there to here, it was all worth it.
I’m sitting in Café Commercial, one the the city’s oldest cafés, situated on a prominent corner at Metro Bilbao, right down the street from my flat. There’s history in this place and life still left in it, but alas the café con leches will cease and after more than a century, its doors will close. So often we’re not ready for the end, but must toast to the good, regardless.
Dodging the 100 degree blaze on la calle, and the insufferable heat of my apartment, I’m cooling off in the café, cold caña in hand, contemplating my experience living abroad in Madrid. Reflecting upon the moments I loved remind me that moving here will forever be one of my best life decisions.
Here are some of the scenes I hold dear:
Treasure hunting in El Rastro
Afternoons in museums
Sunny winter days
Wednesday afternoons tutoring Jesús and Marta
Looking up at Madrid’s beautiful facades
Sundays in La Latina
Sunsets in Retiro Park
Exploring Madrid’s many neighborhoods, yet feeling I only got my feet wet— Barrio de las Letras, Conde Duque, Chueca, Chamberí, Malasaña, Salamanca…
Sipping vino tinto on terrazas
Falling in step with the Spanish— late lunches and dinners
Grand views at sunset
Taking the best Spanish class ever
The Alonso Martinez metro station violinist
Hikes outside the city
Spending an evening of prayer with sweet Sisters
Quiet moments of prayer in churches scattered throughout the city
Having so much life just a short walk or metro ride away
Reuniting with Camino friends
Meeting up with a lovely mix of new friends whenever and wherever
So many dogs— especially all the white Scotties
Sharing jamón, patatas bravas, huevos rotos, and my beloved, tortilla with amigos
Plaza sitting, watching the lives of a mix of generations unfold
It’s not goodbye, Madrid, only hasta luego.