It’s been a week since my last post, which I wrote whilst sat nervously waiting in Bristol airport for my gate number to be announced. And now, here I am.
I can’t believe how quickly the last week has gone. I feel like I’ve done so much already and there are so many posts that I want to write. But I thought I’d start with something simple: a little catch-up on how things have been here so far, accompanied by some photos of one of my favourite spots in Madrid so far, the Parque del Retiro.
The first thing to mention about Madrid – the weather here is actually insane. I’ve somehow managed to come here during a heatwave, with temperatures as high as 40°C. Let’s just say as a Brit, I was definitely not prepared. I’m gradually getting used to it though – whilst having two cold showers a day…
It’s crazy how being surrounded by Spanish speakers has made such a difference with my Spanish. It’s been a challenge, don’t get me wrong. There have been many instances where I have absolutely no idea what is going on, and also some instances where I’ve completely embarrassed myself.
But that’s all part of the learning process, and I’m lucky enough to be staying with a family that is very patient with me and willing to explain the uses of certain words and phrases. On my first day I was struggling to understand the topic of the conversation, and now I can hold a fifteen minute conversation. It’s already been invaluable for my speaking skills, and I would highly recommend it to any language student.
Being here in Madrid has also awakened my love for photography. In the last week I have had the days free to myself, and took the opportunity to explore a new city and fall back in love with taking photos. The buildings here are so classic and beautiful, I have spent days wandering through the cobbled streets surrounding Plaza Mayor simply taking photos and I’ve loved every minute of it.
Another thing? The food. Almost every meal I’ve eaten here has been absolutely incredible. I vowed to myself that I would dive in head first and try anything that was offered to me, and I’m so glad that I did. In just a week I have already tried octopus, shrimp, and many other Spanish dishes that I never even dreamed I would have tried, let alone liked. At the moment I’m expecting to return to the UK at least a stone heavier…
And finally, I’m just feeling good. I have fallen head over heels for Madrid, and with Spain in general. Everyone I’ve met has been so welcoming and friendly, and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks bring.