I leave you Madrid.
As I pack my entire life in suitcases, I have been thinking about everything that I have experienced and learned this past year. When I arrived in Madrid I was a completely different person. I did not speak Spanish and I had never truly lived on my own. The places I visited, things I saw, and people I met have all taught me something different and made an impression on my life that will never be forgotten.
Here are the 3 most important lessons I learned this year:
1. Try new things.
Living in a different country, you are faced with new things every day. The language, the culture, the people, and most importantly, the food are all new and different. From the beginning I made a point to try everything at least once. Talking to random people at the bus stop in Spanish, eating dinner at midnight, staying out all night every night of the week, and trying ALL Spanish food. I ate everything from pigs ears, snails, anchovies, and something that was described to me as, "its tastes like breathing in fresh sea air" aka tastes like salt water.
Trying all these new things pushed me out of my comfort zone and taught me loads about myself and what I can truly accomplish.
2. Doing it on my own.
This was the first time in my life that I was truly living on my own. I had people who helped me with a lot of things, to whom I am very grateful, but most things I did on my own. I rented my first apartment, had my first real job, traveled around Europe, and lived everyday life in a different language and culture. I learned how to make it all work and most importantly how to survive. There were times where I didn't know anybody and was extremely homesick yet somehow figured out how to get over it and make myself happy. Doing things on your own may seem scary at first, but somehow you just have to make it work, and trust me, the reward is definitely worth it.
3. Cockroaches are not the end of the world.
The last couple of weeks in my apartment, we have had a bit of a cockroach infestation. The first time the cockroaches started crawling out of my cereal box, I freaked. But this isn't really about the cockroaches, its about just letting it go and taking a deep breath. I have always been a bit of an uptight person, and a year here in Spain has really helped me chill out. I realize that most things are not really a big deal, and getting worked up is a waste of time and energy. Everything will work out fine, just let it go.
That box of roach cereal - still haven't touched it since the "incident". Not exactly sure what to do with it...
So there you have it, the 3 most important lessons I have learned from this year, so far.
Now, as I head to the airport with my friend, I think about all the amazing experiences and people I have met this year that I will never forget.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this year the best year of my life!
Now I say goodbye to Madrid, knowing that I will be back someday.
HASTA LUEGO MADRID!!!