Falling in love with SpainMadrid, Fall 2011

Upon my arrival in Spain, I was greeted with perfect weather that allowed me to bare my skin in tank tops and cute dresses….However summer has long been gone, replaced with the nippy bite of fall and torrential downpour of rain.  Out are the cute shorts and skirts and in with the scarves, jackets and boots.  While I love the sun, I love the fall even more.  The color of the leaves have changed, and now envelope the pathway that I walk in the park to get to school each morning.  It makes me happy…and makes me wish I didn’t being as many open toed shoes. As an avid runner in the States, I have been spotting out perfect sites for me to run in…except not really…as I have been sticking to the same location on my runs since I got here.  Although Parque de Oeste has its fair share of creepers (I have seen couples going at it, naked men relieving their bladders, and drunken homeless people passed out) it has never deterred me from returning.  The terrain of the park is pretty tough, with tons of hills.  My normal run (which ranges 5-10 miles depending on how I feel that day) has me running on the outer edge of the park treading on the sidewalk until I run past Templo de Dobod, the gates of Palacio Real, and finishing up along the edge of the Madrid Rio, where I wrap up my run going up Avenida de Seneca (the street which IES is off of) and then about a mile or so home.  If there is one thing I will miss about Madrid (other than the friends I have made), it will be my nice views that entertain me while I exercise…definitely beats the any trail I have ever run on before. I am still in shock that I have less than a month left here.  I know it is going to fly by really fast, especially with finals approaching.  I am beginning to stress about the amount of work I have ahead of me before I can go home:  a 6 page art history essay (which wouldn’t be as bad if it weren’t in Spanish), a group project regarding the elections for history, a field work study presentation for grammar, and a 10 page paper that is in the syllabus of my theater class…which we are hoping will never be assigned.  While I am excited to be reunited with my family and friends, I have to remind myself to take it easy and enjoy each moment I have left here. I have been enjoying going out and exploring on my own, trying to see as much of Madrid as I can before I leave.  One weekend I plan to wear comfortable shoes, take the metro to the farthest possible place and then try to navigate myself home without getting lost and get to see parts of Madrid I haven’t gotten to see.  When I first got here I planned to travel through more of Europe, but quickly realized that I should appreciate weekends staying in the country.  My last trip out of the Spain will be this upcoming Friday, when I leave for Dublin.  I am very excited to go- especially because it is the first trip I am making where I will be completely on my own.  Following my trip to Ireland, I will most likely go to Granada, as I have been told my multiple people that I need to go there before I leave. It will have to be a short trip, because finals are looming right around the corner. Next up: Ireland
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