makethislast

Madrid, in a summary

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on December 17, 2011
New Spanish phrase of the day: Hasta ahora!
Literal translation: See you now. Contextual meaning: “See you soon!”

My Spanish vacation is winding down. I met up with a few old friends and made a few new friends. In no specific order, there was lots of eating, laughing, walking and sightseeing.

I’ve collected the following observations during my two weeks in Madrid:
  • Vacations are important. This one allowed me to step away from the small immediate pieces and get a grasp on the bigger picture. As I told someone, Madrid reminded me of life in Los Angeles – but better. Growing up in Los Angeles, living outside of LA, living in Morocco…collectively, my life experiences allowed me to appreciate everything this city had to offer.
  • Living in Morocco for (what will be) 2 years is incredible. I get caught up in the frustrations and forget this sometimes (e.g., last week) but I know that this opportunity has allowed me to grow into a more conscientious person. Priceless are the people, places and experiences I’ve been able to meet, see and partake in.
  • Describing my life in Morocco sounds absurd to anyone who 1) is not a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Morocco, 2) has not travelled to Morocco, and 3) is a guy who does not fall into categories 1 and 2 above. I don’t mean to offend anyone but the context to understand just isn’t there.
  • Lost in translation – meaning, that is. I make an effort to speak Spanish while exploring the city on my own but, admittedly, have allowed myself to get away with not speaking it, mostly when I’m around people who understand more English than I speak Spanish. (Terrible, I know.) I do enjoy the language – and do hope to become fluent one day! – but…sometimes English provides a quicker route for me to get to a point. Language learning can be exhausting – and no one speaks it perfectly the first time they use it – so o-kay, I will keep at it. I will.
  • Cultural faux pas – yes, I have definitely committed my share of them here. That’s what happens when different cultures come together: you see which aspects of the cultures sync up and which are incongruent. Similar to learning a new language, cultural comprehension requires repeated exposure. Find humor in the mistakes you make but be patient with the process. If you’re interested, you will learn and perhaps discover a few cultural gems along the way.
  • Life is…fabulous. Life gets crazy, unpredictable, magical, scary, confusing, educational and everything in between – but – life is also what you make of it.
These two weeks have been everything I needed, so much more and then some.

Muchas gracias, Madrid.

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