I had a request to blog about my every day life here in Madrid. As of right now my days are fairly typical believe it or not. Yes, we expats have to work to support our love and favorite pass time of traveling. Just as one does back in the states to support there livelihood. A fellow expat and friend wrote about the perception and pictures of the expat life style. She wrotie how it seems so glamorous. I can honestly say for the most part it is extraordinary and just that. However, the challenges, obstacles, and frustrating days happen just as if we were living in the states. One downfall of being an expat is you don't have your normal cultural customes, support, and comforts of home to soften the blow. I appreciated her speaking of her vonerablilities and the truth of the not so glamorous side of being an expat, because some days you lay your head down at night and say wow that was a tuff day. On the other hand, the obstacles and challenges we do face make those moments of small victories and indescribable experiences that much more rewarding and magical! So a typical day may not seem like much... although living in another country has definitely opened my eyes in many ways. This experience of a different culture, community, and way of life is teaching me so much about myself, what I value most about life, my relationship with Trey, and growth of my faith. I may not write about it in my blog regularly because I am still experiencing new and uncharted territories. I am trying to sort it all out in my head before I write all about my life on a blog site for everyone to read, and well I don't want to bore you all with the sappy details of "how I am reinventing myself." I will however, blog about my everyday and you can hopefully feel a little of "the change" I am feeling through my writing.
My alarms goes off around 6:30am and I get up grab my lunch (which is normally the left overs from the dinner we cooked the night before). Trey has made me a smoothie with our new handy dandy electric mixer. Let me just brag on this new little extraordinary device for a sec. it is a mixer for baked goods, makes fantastic smoothies, and shakes. We really took things like this for granted when we were in the states, so every time we get it out we talk about what a great buy it was! It even has an attachment for a food processor too which is super helpful for chopping veggies for dinner! Okay enough on the mixer. The next part of my day I head out on my journey to work around 6:45am. I walk to the metro and ride it until my next stop. This ride goes quickly because I will either, read, sleep, blog, or catch up on whatsapp or emails with my framily back in the states, mind you I am six hours ahead, so I rarely receive any feedback until later on in the day. The metro really is such a wonderful mean of transportation. It's also super fun to people watch, but more so on the way home. I then walk underground to the next metro. I get off the metro and walk about 1.5 mile walk to my employers house. It is nice to have the quiet time, watching the sun come up as the city begins to wake for another day, and the cooler mornings breeze drying the sweat from my journey into work. It's a rather refreshing way to start my day.
Once I arrive to there building I unlock the main gate to get into the plaza. The security here in Madrid really is impressive. I have yet to feel "unsafe" anywhere in Madrid. Maybe its because they don't allow citizens to have guns, but that's another story isn't it? I go into there house and put my lunch up in the fridge. In the summer it was nice, because I would have 30min to an hour to read, but now that school has started, I begin by making Laura's breakfast right away. She eats cereal everyday. Not the kind of cereal we eat it's more like a pourage, but cold. She like two cookies( like animal crackers) mixed into it to sweeten it up. Then it's David's turn he typically wakes up between 8 and 8:30 he gets changed and we spend the morning watching his sister get ready for school. Sometimes we have time for a story, but lately not as much. While Raquel takes Laura to school I stay with David. She may run an errand but isn't gone more than 30 min.
Raquel then comes back and we will have all kinds of talks, talks about the future, family, friends, our relationships, the children of course, how we can better ourselves, our insecurities, and venerabilities. She really is an amazing woman. I could probably write an entire blog on Raquel alone because it is quite amazing how much I have learned from her. She is a driven, independant, caring, intelligent, always on the go, subborn, organized and presistant individual. I dont know if she know just how much I admire her, and how grateful and fortunate I am to call her my friend! She says she doesn't know how some women do it with multiple children...but she does amazing. I hope to be as great as a mother as she is someday. She has even helped me practice my Spanish. She helps me with my homework from my Spanish class and teaches me Spanish sayings.
We then go and pick up Laura from school and go outside to play. Laura will ride her bike, and in the summer we would go out all afternoon. Then its time to go in for lunch and nap time. Now, she goes to school from 9-3 and we will play for a while. Laura has an amazing imagination and loves to play! She is so intelligent too it some times blows my mind she is only three years old. After Juanma returns home from work it is time for me to get on the metro to head home.
On Mondays and Wednesdays I attend Spanish class from 7:00-8:30. My teacher is fantastic and my classmates are from all over the world. I really am enjoying my Spanish classes and this expereince. Everyone asks, "Oh are you fluent yet?" The answer is no! I look back on what I had said before we left the states, "Oh yeah six months and I will be able to speak fluently! No problem!" Well, how silly and nieve I was to say something like that. Learning another language is an on going life long process. I think by the end of this year I will have a good base and knowledge of the lanaguage, but Trey and I both agreed to continue our Spanish when we return to the states. We feel that it can be incredibly benificial to be bilangual, and we want to see to it that we continue to grow and learn the Spanish language.
The metro ride home is the best time to people watch because there are some many people coming and going. It's one of my favorite things to do. The only negative thing on the metro is it can be a bit smelly at times. Not everyone that takes public transportation is so fresh and so clean, but that's okay, I just hold my nose and breath through my mouth. Stayed tuned for a later post of a mixed video of what it's like on the metro. I am still working on it, but it will be a great example of why I enjoy this method of transportation.
Once I get to our stop I walk a block to our front door and typically I am completely wiped out. My amazing husband has been so helpful with taking care of Cash and making sure we have a healthy meal ready to be prepared or already cooked and ready to go. It truly has been a dream. We have learned alot from eachother and taking on different roles that we normally wouldn't do in the states. It has definately set a new presidence and appriciation for one another, and understanding of what each of us do on a day to day basis. Some nights when I get home we talk about our day, sometimes we watch a movie, and sometimes we walk Cash to the park. It's a very similar routine to what we did back in the states. Some may say, "Oh how boring!" To me, our routines during the week helps to give us balance, and has aided us in growing individually and together. It also gives us that much more of a reason to explore, travel and have guilt free relaxation on the weekends! Guilt free relaxation...I don't think I ever knew what that was until I moved to Madrid. I have learned just because we aren't doing something 100% of the time doesn't make us lazy it makes us stronger. This mentality and way of life is very common here. "Tranquillo" is a common phrase used on a daily basis. Which at first I felt like they were saying calm down and I took offense to it, but really what they meant was relax it's the way to be. Like Pura Vida in Costa Rica.
My days consists of structure, aiding in taking care of two amazing children, speaking teaching and learning the English language, learning and speaking Spanish, and enjoying all that this incredible adventure has to offer. Trey and I still love Fridays when we are free from our routine. Often times we have spent the weekend in the apartment resting from a long week. Most of the time, we spend our free time exploring this amazing city and country. We still work Monday through Friday and still have to pay rent, but all in all we wouldn't trade this experience for anything.
At first it was difficult for my high strung, always stressed out self to learn a different way to live without constant worry and endless to do lists (don't get me wrong, I still have my to do lists). But with a new outlook, this experience and opportuity to evaluate the way I lived in the states vs. the way I live here LIFE is much more...tranquillo. Quite frankly, I like this version of myself alot more, and I intend to take every bit of this learned culture that I enjoy so much, back with me to states to make me a stronger, happier me.