September. Autumn is chasing the heels of summer and everyone is trying to enjoy the last bits of seaside sun before the weather starts getting colder. It was a busy month for me too! For starters, I traded in some of my backpacking essentials for “real life” necessities and moved to Madrid, where I’ll be living for the next nine months teaching English.
Though I don’t think anything can compare to my summer Euro-backpacking trip August, learning how to live in Madrid has been very new and exciting. This is what September in Madrid looked like through my eyes:
After a short, yet stressful search, I moved into a 10 bedroom flat in the trendy barrio of Malasaña. In my opinion, it’s the East Village of Madrid, so it didn’t take long for it to feel like home for me! And no, that wasn’t a typo, I have 9 flat mates! There are 6 boys and 4 girls in total. MTV should film a The Real World: Madrid edition featuring us. Seriously.
With about two and a half weeks free before I began teaching, I took the opportunity to explore the city, starting with Parque del Retiro, the main park in Madrid. As the seasons change, the trees appear to be painted an array of colors from green to burnt orange. It’s the perfect place to go for a run and take a break from the city life! I think Retiro is one of my favorite parts of the city so far.
Aside from the beauty of the park itself, I also stumbled across a few stunning views on the way home from running in Retiro. What a way to end a workout!
Moving to Madrid hasn’t been easy. I quickly realized that taking Spanish in middle school, high school, and a bit in college does not mean that I actually speak Spanish. Assimilating to the culture and language is a constant challenge, but I’m happy to conquer this experience. Sometimes I stop and think to myself: I can’t believe I actually live here. I look up and around me and realize that this city, complete with its narrow streets and old buildings with huge balcony windows, is my home now.
And then there’s the reason I’m really here. Not just to travel in Europe for nine months, but to teach children English! I will be working with 3rd and 4th grade students for the first term of school, and the kids are equally adorable and difficult to manage. I think I’ve won a few of them over already, though! One student drew me this portrait on my first day. I’m not entirely sure who it is since the drawing doesn’t look like me or her, but check out that talent! Now if I could only get her to call me Lavi instead of Loby…
Through my eyes, September was a bit more quiet as I was (and still am) settling into a life here in Madrid. I’m itching to get back on the road and travel on the weekends. The possibilities of where I could travel to next are endless! Next stop…Barcelona?