Monday, June 4, 2012

End of the Year Reflections

I can't believe I have less than a month left in madrid... I'm not a very emotional person and I never thought I'd get sad but I find myself looking for ways not to think about the end...

If theres one thing I've realized through this whole amazing experience, it's that time is so precious and it slips through your fingers and in an instant, you've sped through a whole year. I can vividly remember my first botellon-s where everyone sits in the plazas drinking outside in the warm summer air and chatting away and now, with the beautifully warm weather in Madrid and the botellones popping up again, I feel a twinge of despondency because I know these are my last days here. It's unbelievable that 10 months has flown by and I just want to take this time to thank every single person I've met this year because in one way or another, you have made my experience here unique. Love you ALL!

 Flying into Madrid

la Universidad de Complutense

The nice parts of la Universidad de Complutense

Parque del Retiro

My first jarra de sangria; jar of sangria

Sol which signifies "sun" is the central touristic zone in Madrid

The dead center of Spain

Mexican Independence being celebrated in Sol. Oh the irony.

 Walking through the maze-like streets of Madrid

Sexy Santiago Bernabeu; the Real Madrid stadium 

 Roller skating is a HUGE thing in Madrid. Not gonna lie, I don't get it.

 The gardens next to the Royal Palace

 The Palacio Real in the day and at night. These shots were taken about 4 months apart, yet seem almost identical- minus the fact that they were shot at different times of the day. I've thus concluded that it can only mean one thing: it's a damn gorgeous palace and one day that'll be my summer vacation house.

Stunning organ inside of the cathedral next to the royal palace

My first trip outside of Madrid

Halloween in Madrid 
The Spaniards definitely outshine us in the costume department. And they love their blood (as you can tell); many many people offered us fake blood to add to our costumes even though I dressed up as a nerd and my friend as an Native American (real creative, I know). I posted this particular photo because it was one of the most hilarious things I saw that night (the other would be my friend falling off a chair while trying to hit on a girl and simultaneously shattering the girl's cell phone). Behold, Jesus and his disciples in a 7 story club. I'm not trying to be sacrilegious, but who the eff does this at a dance club?!? 

 Christmas in Madrid

 Madrid is definitely the king of a city at night.

What you will come across "just walking around":

Parque Oeste

Last but not least, I leave you with an ugly photo. However, this photo represents one of the most memorable moments during my time in Madrid. Why? Because there was a goddam fire that almost burned our apartment to the floor. Okay it wasn't that bad but it was pretty dramatic with the firefighters telling us to stay INSIDE the burning building (wtf?!?) and with everyone scrambling to get their most important possessions - I grabbed my laptop, my passport, my wallet, my DSLR and my iPhone (how I keep in touch with my parents). Nothing else. Not my clothes, not my shoes, and DEFINITELY not my school

In all seriousness, this fire in our building really has made me realize what is important to me. My laptop because my whole LIFE is in it; my passport (pretty self explanatory) because not only do I need it to get back home eventually, I have so many stamps from all the different countries I've visited and to lose that would crush me because they're all reminders of my experiences abroad; my wallet because I have my bank cards which are my only means of money; my DSLR because as the cliche goes: a picture says a thousand words and what would I have to remember my travels? Mental snapshots?? lame.. just kidding (kind of); and lastly my iPhone - I know it sounds materialistic but really, my iPhone is a piece of crap because the screen is shattered but it still works and I use it here to keep in touch with my parents. 

In a nutshell, I love clothes, and shoes, and material possessions (I'm human, I have flaws) but at the end of the day, I am a traveller. The 5 most essential things to me were the things I that I need when I travel. It's true, I'm looking forward to the comforts of being "home" in California and I've sung about how great California is, but at the end of the day, my heart yearns to explore different countries and be put in unfamiliar situations and most importantly, to learn about this world that I occupy for a moment in time. I want to break the walls of my ignorance and strive to learn what it means to be a part of humanity. I could have been born an insect with no higher order thinking abilities, but instead my destiny was to be a human being and I want to aprovechar every single moment of my fate. That's why I've come to realize I have wanderlust; because staying in one place and living in monotony, knowing that today will be EXACTLY the same as tomorrow and the day after and the day after... is not a definition of the kind of life I want to live. 

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