Tag Archives: Madrid

By Starbucks and Christmas lights

It’s how I finally learned these darn streets (and found my way home last night). I figure it’s finally about time I got a grip on the landscape here.

I’m officially almost 12 hours away from my 36 hour journey home.  It will commence in the morning with a trip to the airport, waiting at the airport, an 8 hour flight to New York, a 22 hour layover in New York (which will include a truly restful night’s sleep on a hard chair somewhere inside JFK airport), a flight to Chicago, another layover, and at last a short flight to Fort Wayne.

I’m ready.

Spain has been uneasily laced with an abundance of challenging frustrations, but at the end of the day, of course it was a great experience.  I think I’m a little too close to the situation to have any kind of an objective perspective though.

Right now, my heart is heavy with home and the ineptitudes of the educational system.  I’m remembering all the lonely nights and times that just weren’t quite everything I had hoped they would be.  But I think I only feel that way because I’m tired and thoroughly burnt out.

But even exhaustion can’t ever take away the magic week where I suddenly understood everything going on around me, what it was like to learn Paris all by myself in the middle of the night, or even what it was like in that taxi ride from the airport in Morocco.

My frame of mind is quickly transitioning to what I’m going to do next summer, where I’m going to live next year, my thesis, how I’m going to pay off school, and who’s going to hire me.  I think there’s something about going forward that will make looking back and recognizing everything I have because of this trip much more obvious.  Actually, I’m sure there is.

And I am truly thankful that I will have this blog as a record to go back and remember exactly what it was like, because, good and bad, it was all a learning experience.

In the coming months, there will be no spontaneous last minute cancelled trips to Ireland or tales of Moroccan orange juice.  So for the time being, the travel commentary has pretty much dried up (along with my bank account), but that doesn’t mean this blog is going anywhere.

I like to think that by writing things down, I’m not merely recanting inane facts from my day, but actually expressing what I’m thinking and learning along the way.  As such, I almost feel that converting the regular everyday to thoughtful text has more value.  A racing mind on a CSS Thursday night is truly magical, and coping with all the crazy stuff that goes down at Wes often takes all the energy I have.  Committing those experiences to text gives a whole new kind of long-term prospective.

All this traveling has convinced me that it in the end, it really is all the same.   As such, living someplace long enough to call it a real home  has got to really mean something.

So stay tuned, because I’m not going anywhere.  I’m just coming home.


wordpress officially stinks because it is not letting me upload the lovely photo I took of my host family last night.


Of Scarves and Explorations

Yes, I recognize the scenery, and knew I’d been there before, but I never claimed to know exactly how to get back.

Yesterday, Veronica (student I met last week from Florida) and I went on a daylong excursion into the city, and I learned 1) knowing you’ve been there before is not sufficient directional knowledge.  Recognizing something doesn’t mean you know how to get back and 2) just ordering something because you don’t understand anything on the menu is not a good idea.* Disclaimer: I’ve seen English menus here were I still didn’t know what (almost) anything on it was.  I thought trying everything once was the way to go.  I just didn’t think picking a regular mid-range priced item could go so wrong.

Madrid in the Fall

Though I suffered a minor setback this morning (apparently you can’t actually study in the National Library), today turned out great.  My quest for the perfect study spot took me all around the city on foot.  I spent a good portion of the morning reading at a beautiful, huge park, found lunch, more places to read, and ultimately a Starbucks with an outlet for my computer.  Can’t say I’ve found my study nook yet, but the search has been fun so far.

It felt really good to just sit down with a book in front of me, my laptop up, word open, and my fingers tap dancing on the keys.  The familiar beat and reading about something I love so comforting, and so are leaves moving like fire in the trees.


I was eating lunch, looked up, saw this image and laughed.  That was probably as close as I am going to get to a typical American fall, but hey, the important thing is I’ll be back in the spring in time for March Madness.

I love going places,

but I hate being in transit.  I’m sure getting there will be great, but I truly cannot wait for the next 48 hours to be over.

In about an hour, I’ll be leaving Fort Wayne.  My flight will land at LaGuardia around 10pm.  Then, after one bus, two different subways, and one tram, I’ll finally arrive on Roosevelt Island.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to avoid being stranded like I was in Hartford, because I am actually familiar with the route I’ll be taking.  Tonight, I’ll crash at the Getz’s apartment for the night and pick up the bag I (purposely) left at their place in New York.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll take one subway, the airtram, and shuttle bus to get to JFK.  Due to my father’s anxiousness and my own unfamiliarity with the route to the airport, I’ll leave the apartment fairly early, even though my flight doesn’t leave until 6pm.  I will undoubtedly have more than just a few hours to kill once I get there, but that’s okay.

I’ll land in Madrid early Friday morning and take a connecting flight to get to the orientation site outside of the city.

I'll be going here first.