June. It’s the beginning of summer but my time here is ending. I’m afraid that I’ll blink and my life in Spain will just be a memory. This month was a lot less about traveling and more about living in the moment and appreciating Madrid.
I stayed put in Madrid for most of June. It was unexpected but much needed. I didn’t write as much as I wanted to, but focused on cherishing my time here doing things I love with the people I love here. Here what June looked like through my eyes:
Looking at life from a new angle
I finally got a CAMERA! Goodbye iPhone photography! (Literally, because my phone was stolen in Pamplona, but that’s a story for July!)
Say hello to my new Fujifilm X-A2 mirrorless digital camera! I am so obsessed with it! It’s been a challenge to learn how to use it; my mind is swimming in shutter speed, ISO, and aperture numbers, but I am really loving how the photos are turning out!
Summer family lovin’ in Madrid
Madrid gets insanely hot starting in June. I’m talkin’ upwards of 110°F (43°C). Everyone flees the city in search of the beach and cooler temperatures. I’m literally burning alive in my windowless bedroom with my fan circulating hot air as I write this. BUT, Madrid is also insanely fun in June as school is ending and summer is ramping up.
Instead of fleeing Madrid, I had two lovely visitors: my parents! Seeing them in person for the first time since September instead of through a computer screen was amazing. They arrived in Madrid a few days before starting a tour through parts of Spain, Portugal, and Morocco and I had the chance to show them my view of Madrid. It was special for them to see the place I’ve called home for so many months. It wasn’t easy to tell my family that I wanted to quit a steady job and do something completely different with my life. Showing my parents around Madrid and taking them to my school so they could meet my fellow teachers and adorable students meant a lot to me. And they loved it!
School’s out for summer
Of course I was excited for summer in Spain, but it came with a cost. I had to say goodbye to my students and colleagues. I’d read different experiences about the Auxiliares de Conversación program in Spain. Some people loved it, others hated it, some even returned to the US early. I had the best experience possible working as a language assistant in Madrid this year; it’s the best job I’ve ever had.
Sure, working 16-hour weeks and having 3 day weekends was awesome, but it was the students that made my experience worthwhile. I loved going to work every day and seeing their cute faces. It made my day when they were able to retain new English words and phrases I taught them. And their tiny human hugs just melted my heart. It was so hard to say goodbye; I wonder what kind of people they will grow up to be. All I can think is that I hope they all achieve their dreams.
Just as I suspected, Pisa didn’t really do it for me. After walking around the city bright and early in the morning, I got my touristy photo with the Leaning Tower and headed toward Florence!
Something was missing when I visited Rome in November. I loved it, but it didn’t feel like the Italy I had imagined. I wanted to see little restaurants with outdoor terraces bustling with people, Vespas and bicycles parked in narrow, sunlit streets. Though Rome has some of these things, I wanted to see Florence. This city was exactly what I pictured it to look like.
Florence was so stunning, I couldn’t believe it. I walked around snapping photos of everything in sight and doing what I do best: eating pizza and panna cotta! I just love this country.
From Florence, I went on a day trip through Tuscany with Walks of Italy. There was food, there was wine, it was incredible. Look out for a new post coming at ya very soon about this experience!
Well, let’s be honest, this post is so late that July is almost halfway over! It’s proven to be a crazy month, that’s for sure. I headed off to Malta, San Fermin, and San Sebastián. Stay tuned for upcoming posts to see how it all panned out!
I’ll be returning to the US on July 22nd. It’s a bittersweet feeling: a) It’s SO HOT in Madrid that it’s hard to have motivation to do anything or go anywhere and, b) most of my friends have already left Madrid so it’s been a bit lonely here. I’m trying to muster up the motivation in this heat to visit all of my favorite places once more before I leave. It’s so sad not to know when I’ll ever be back!
And then what happens after that? Central and South America plans are in the works!
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