I’m completely in love with the written and spoken word. No matter the language, words intrigue me and whenever I think of how NOT fluent I am in any other language but English, I get mopey sad. So, after years of wishing I spoke another language better (or at all), I decided to dash off to Madrid for some good old fashioned language immersion. It was nothing official, just a decision to go to Spain for three months and isolate myself in an ocean of Spanish and hope not to drown.
First of all, let me tell you that three months fly by really fast. Between getting infatuated with porras (fatter churros), learning to balance out my hour-long walks into the city with my rampant consumption of pastries, and speaking the occasional Spanish with strangers in the streets, my time here has rushed by at an unbelievable (and unacceptable) speed. I can barely believe I’m heading back home in just a couple of weeks.
I’ll be over the moon to reconnect with my loved ones at home and, of course, to drive Alice again. But a certain part of me is sad to be leaving Madrid behind. True, the food here has been nothing to write home about, but I’ve enjoyed trying the different versions of bad Spanish food with some great people. I loved my day trips to the little towns around Madrid, my long drive to Clermont-Ferrand in the middle of France, even the chilly nights spent roaming the city in search of a decent place to have paella and a good vermú.
I’ll miss it all very much.
As for the reason I ended up in Madrid in the first place (learning Spanish), it’s pretty much a bust. Many weeks after landing in the Madrid-Barajas airport, I’m still struggling to curse out the guy who works in the frutería for stealing my €2 coin and trying to convince me I only gave him €1. Ordering raspberry tarts has also been a challenge.
A Spanish friend tells me I have some great words – crepusculo, lucha, joder, etc – but I struggle to make actual sentences. Meaning, I actually can’t make one in Spanish to save my life. That was a bitter pill to swallow on a Saturday night, I tell you what. So instead of focusing on my shortcomings and the things I didn’t accomplish while being in Spain, I’m looking at all the positives.
Madrid and the parts of Spain I’ve seen this time around have been a source of inspiration.
Walking through the streets and hearing this beautiful language stimulates me. The city is alive. It is old. People I’ve met here are beautiful and the sunsets consistently take my breath away. I want to write about these things. I want to take photographs of all this beauty that makes my breath hitch and my eyes mist. There are so many more things I want right now. But the words to articulate them are beyond my reach. Maybe if I tried to say them in Spanish…