You are here

The Final Days

May 15, 2016

Alas, I’ve made it to my penultimate blog post, the last post I’ll write while physically in Madrid. It’s been a whirlwind of a week and a half since my last post, full of LOTS of rain, two finals (one to go!) and a decent amount of packing.

I can’t officially look back on my experience yet as I am still here until I’m back in the states on Wednesday, but I thought I’d use this post as an I’m-still-here-but-almost-gone kind of post. What that means is you get to hear a bit about what I’ve been up to for the last week and a half AND a bit about the highs and lows of my semester here!

Over the last week and a half, I’ve been wrapping up IES Abroad and Carlos III classes by taking advantage of my dwindling time and visiting all my favorite restaurant spots around the city. In my homestay, I’m given two meals a day, which is both a blessing and a curse – I have to find a third meal somehow without cooking (IES Abroad rules!), and that usually means I end up spending more money than I should on food at restaurants! Of course, this means that I have a number of favorite spots, including Banibanoo for Iranian food, Takos al Pastor for tacos, and the unnamed Chinese restaurant under Plaza Mayor next to the entrance to the public parking lot. That last one might sound sketchy, but they always have a line out the door.

Madrid_Madrid_Banibanoo_Roya Moussapour.JPG

Not the first time I've gone to Banibanoo for Iranian food, not the first time I've blogged about it.

This weekend is a holiday weekend in Madrid for the Fiestas de San Isidro. San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid, so there’s an entire weekend every year where the city has all kinds of festivals, from swing dancing to food events and even concerts. I went to one of these concerts last night at a music festival called Primavera Pop hosted by a local radio station. Somehow, with a start time of 8pm, they planned on going through 17 artists including a bunch of famous Spanish artists and none other than Nick Jonas.

Madrid_Madrid_Plaza Mayor_Roya Moussapour.jpg

Just. Keep. Standing.

This meant that we ended up standing around doing NOTHING for two hours, followed by another three hours of standing and listening to random Spanish artists until Nick Jonas came on and performed…. two songs. Pretty disappointing.

Madrid_Madrid_Nick Jonas_Roya Moussapour.jpg

I liked him a lot better during the Jonas Brothers phase with curly hair.

Now for the interesting part of this post: some highs and lows of my semester!

Highs:

  1. Madrid is a major international airport hub, making travel very easy! I spent many, many of my weekends this semester hopping around to different countries.
  2. Madrid has some of the best tacos I’ve ever had – go to Takos al Pastor and order everything!
  3. My host family here is absolutely wonderful. They’re so welcoming and kind and even nursed me back to health in the great stomach bug of late January.
  4. The weather is a lot warmer than Brunswick, ME. I’m used to 0°F or lower winters in Maine, but here it never really went below freezing temps!
  5. Everything is cheap here! You can get a full 3-course meal for lunch with drink included (wine, beer, or soda) at very good restaurants for under 12€. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, so restaurants make it easy to get a lot of food for not a lot of money!

Lows:

  1. Commuting time here is very long. I had anywhere between a twenty minute commute and an hour and fifteen minute commute to class depending on the location.
  2. If you’re not a night owl, the nightlife here is very tough. I rarely stay up past 11pm back at home and here, people don’t even go out until 1am.
  3. It is sometimes somewhat difficult to find healthy food with the amount of pork and fried food that Spaniards eat.
  4. People smoke here A LOT. I haven’t been to a city with as much cigarette smoke as Madrid in a very, very long time.
  5. Study abroad can be lonely! While I’ve made friends this semester, living so far from everyone else is very different from what I’m used to at Bowdoin. What I didn’t realize at the beginning of the semester is that everyone feels this way and it’s okay to feel lonely!

I’ll say ciao for now, as I’ve still got one more final to focus on before I leave this Wednesday for New York and for my Chipotle burrito bowl waiting for me at the airport! Check in within a week and a half for some of my immediate impressions returning to the USA and my tolerance for my favorite traveling activity…. jetlag.

From Our Blogs

Aug 17 11:20am

My (Probably Incomplete) Black Girl Guide to Packing for Amsterdam

by Taara

I'm not packed for Amsterdam yet. BUT when I am packed, these are the things I will bring with me.

Learn more
Aug 16 11:51pm

Home is Where the Coffee is

by Maddie

I’ve mentioned this earlier, but I’m a coffee fanatic. I love having a go-to coffee shop that is my ‘comfort place’ to grab a reliable cup of—not Dunkin Donuts watered-down— coffee.

Learn more
Aug 16 11:55am

Education & Health Care to Transform Lives: Thoughts on Global Citizenship from Sydni Williams

by IES Abroad

For many, Spain is a destination. For Global Citizen of the Year, Sydni Williams, it was a launch pad.

Learn more
Aug 14 5:28pm

Peanut Butter and Delayed Flights

by Makai

Right now, I’m sitting at the airport waiting to board my 5am flight to New York.

Learn more
Aug 14 2:02pm

Student Voices - A Song Inspired By a Year Studying Abroad in Morocco

by IES Abroad

For singer-song writer Philip Baites studying abroad not only increased his French and Arabic abilities, but also gave him the inspiration for his first single “Tangier to Casablanca.”

Learn more
Aug 14 1:31pm

Opening Eyes to the World

by Joshua

Guten Tag!  

Learn more