- I’ve developed a soda addiction all of a sudden. As I naively mentioned in a post from couple of weeks ago, I sometimes drink sodas to help me eat foods that I’m not used to. Have a taste of something unusual, wash it down with something familiar. Well that plan works in the short-term, but as I’ve been here for a month, it’s become a habit. I pass several bodegas every day, and it’s inevitable that I’ll stop in for a Coca Cola or Guaraná Antartica. And if you’ve been reading for a while, you KNOW how I feel about Guaraná Antartica!
- I haven’t drank sodas like this since…maybe before college, so almost 8 years ago! I’ve been trying to lower my sugar intake, and sugar tolerance for a few years now, and this has seriously set me back.
- Here, you’re more likely to get offered beer or juice before water, and as an American, I’m so used to being given water without asking for it in every restaurant. Here, I practically had to reassure a waiter that I was fine just having coffee and water for breakfast. So with water being so infrequent, and sodas, beer, and wine being so frequent, I’ve found myself in a bind trying to keep up my water habits from back home while staving off a soda addiction. It isn’t working!
- There’s so much walking and I don’t have the right shoes! A battle went on between my family and I during my packing for Madrid. I’m flat-footed with fallen arches, and while it’s common knowledge to bring sneakers, as in, your typical gym shoes with lots of padding and Styrofoam, when you travel, my feet don’t always feel comfortable in them, and thus I didn’t want to bring them. As it turns out, a combination of both I needed to bring. I do a LOT of walking here, and it’s not always because things are close. My apartment, for example, is near a few metro stops, but one of them is a circular, a beltway around Madrid that isn’t always the most useful. I can walk a bit to another stop that’s more well connected, and get into the city proper.
- After that, however, I’m always equidistant to where I want to be. I can walk and get somewhere interesting in a half hour, or I can take the metro or bus for a half hour. But during that time, I won’t be exploring my city, finding new vegetarian restaurants, or just being in the sun – which is always underrated, no matter how hot. Long story short, my feet hurt, they’re callused and angry, and I just wish I had my Converse!
- My hair is dry and dusty, and I was elated to find a store with good products. I knew that Madrid was dry, so for my natural hair, I brought a few heavy products that I don’t typically use in Maryland because the humidity does a lot of the work for me in regards to moisture. This worked… for a second, but I had to reapply stuff daily, and that got old pretty fast. I started running out of things, I wanted to wash my hair more often because of all of the product, and my kinks and curls started getting split towards the ends. Not a good sign.
- Luckily, I’m part of a few “Black Folk in Madrid” Facebook groups, and someone posted some products that they found at a Spanish hair supply store. I pulled up the address and took a day to visit it on the other side of town. It was like heaven. I bought a bunch of new products, and even some hair extensions for when Fall hits… if it ever does.
- Hopefully my asthma calms down a bit. Smoking in Madrid is very popular, and you can’t sit outdoors at a restaurant without fumes hovering over your meal. This is a bit of a problem for me because I have asthma and it can be triggered fairly easily. Laughing too much, dancing too much, being in a dusty room, petting a cat, so on and so forth. So most nights, after really great days here in Madrid, I come to my bedroom and open my window (’cause it’s hot and I don’t have AC!), only to be met with more cigarette smoke. I sometimes go to sleep wheezing and waking up coughing. It hasn’t caught me off guard yet, so I’m always prepared with my inhaler, but I wonder if my lungs will ever acclimate, or will I have to spend my time here constantly keeping my asthma at bay?
- Should I be drinking this much? In America, if you’re drinking a beer at breakfast, it’s assumed you have a problem with alcohol. In Madrid, if you’re drinking a beer with breakfast, it’s probably because it’s offered on the menu at every restaurant here. The relationship that Spaniards have with alcohol is different than that of the US, and it’s honestly one I can get behind.
- In America, people drinking to get EFFFFED UPPPPPP. Drinking often occurs at parties or get-togethers where people want to loosen up and forget their inhibitions, but inhibitions are typically there for a reason! Screaming in public is kinda rude, and throwing up in an alley ain’t good for your health. In Spain, people drink to relax, not to get hype. They don’t drink to excess typically, and drink just enough to enjoy themselves a bit more. So when I go out to eat with my friends (keep in mind that most of us are unemployed right now and don’t start work ’til next week), there’s a lot more drinking going on than it would normally be.
That being said, this Friday will end my one month retrospective with what I’ve learned about myself.
See you then!