Figuring Out a Lifestyle in Madrid

Long time no see, everyone! Sorry for the delay! I’ve been busy, somehow, trying to create a lifestyle here. Like I said before, if given the opportunity, or lack of opportunity, I will stay in my room forever. I will become one with my mattress, only seeing the daylight when I absolutely have to. In order to get outside, actually practice Spanish, and make the most of my time here, I’ve implemented one good rule:

When people invite me to things, I go.

I had brunch with some really good friends and walked around Madrid, always impressed by how pretty this city is.

I’ve been adulting. I really enjoy grocery shopping here. One, because it’s super cheap. A $100 purchase back home is maybe 30 Euro here, tops. Two, because it feels good to buy groceries for cooking and eating, it makes me feel like an adult. Three, the grocery stores here are uniquely Spanish.

I’ve continued one of my favorite hobbies, going to concerts by myself. The artist Gabriel Garzon-Montano made his way to Spain for the Primavera festival, and I made sure I went to see him. He sang his two albums, a Prince cover (“The Ballad of Dorothy Parker”), and even a song in Spanish. It was amazing.

For a bit of Gabriel’s music, this is my favorite song of his.

I spend a lot of time wearing wigs and rapping in the elevator. I’m on the 7th floor of my apartment, and sometimes, when this elevator breaks down, I have to scale those flights of stairs. When I’m in the elevator, I have a good time.

I forgot to mention, I’m a contributor to Las Morenas de España, a website dedicated to providing resources and experiences to Black women living in Spain! I’ve been working on some articles for their website, so keep an eye out for them!

I found LMDES when I was preparing for my trip, reading their articles and resources for my own purposes, so it’s a blast to be part of it now. I finally got the chance to attend one of their events and met some amazing women from all over.

There was a photographer there as well, and he got my good side.

Yass, there was so much Black girl magic at this event. Women who had lived lives all over the globe, and had so many wonderful stories to tell. It was great, I adored it, it was wonderful, and already I’ve got some really good friends from it. Can’t wait to do more. LMDES wrote about the event here.

I’ve also been busy eating and drinking. Here’s a sour cherry beer that I’m now a fan of.

My friend Anisa invited me to an acrobat show. I said yes, and was COMPLETELY impressed. I took a photo with one of the girls because I was too intimidated to take a photo with one of the shirtless men.

I’ve also been exploring different clubs and restaurants, including the “Maderfaker: Soul and Funk Club.”

This is a small club, one tiny bar, and one dance floor with a stage. The walls are decorated with Spanish posters for blaxploitation films and murals. I wasn’t familiar with the music here, it sounded like the music that plays in the background during a chase scene, just 12 minutes of instrumental! Something like this…

Anisa and I got all of the selfies we could in this place! I ate giant tortillas de patata with my coworker at El Buo. Tortillas in Spain are different than they are in Latin America and the US, they’re not flour or corn based. Here tortillas are a combo of eggs, onions, and potatoes. It’s my favorite Spanish food because it’s just so savory and delicious! Tortillas also have a lot of variety with them, you can make them with zucchini, peppers, different cheeses, and so on. My coworker Gabi and I thought that we could take on the legendary size of the tortillas here, but once it arrived, we ate our words! We munched on these tortillas for a few days afterwards! I also have been exploring some of the natural sites and vistas in Madrid. My friend Jenna invited me out to see “Seven Titties Park.”

Okay, so the translation isn’t exactly “Seven Titties,” but Siete Tetas is essentially, seven breasts. The name comes from the seven hills throughout the park, and from any one of them, you’ll get an impressive view of the city of Madrid. We packed snacks and stayed a few hours to watch the sunset. Halloween came and went, and my time in school was taken up by Halloween activities. One of my students made a really creepy ghost that haunts my dreams. Everybody else had such happy looking ghosts! This ghost looks like he’s seen some things… I’ve even been hanging out in my city with some of my neighbors. I made a friend at a group event here called, “Melanin Madrid,” another group for Black people living in Madrid to meet up and hang out. She happens to live in my neighborhood, so we went out for some delicious Korean food. While on my way to meet her, I passed by this wonderful garage mural. That cat cracks me up.

I also have been challenging myself to eat and drink whenever offerred. Bottomless mimosa? Challenge accepted.

It was at this point in the pitcher did I realize I made a terrible mistake, but I kept on going ’cause I don’t waste money!

And that’s that. That’s how I’ve been spending my time in Madrid. I’ve started tutoring and getting tutored, so hopefully my confidence in Spanish will return to me, and my Portuguese will shape up. My Portuguese tutor told me that my Portuguese was better than my Spanish, and I was at once ashamed and invigorated. The Portuguese is still healthy, just gotta keep it that way! And the Spanish needs loving, and I’ve got time still!

Thanks for keeping up with me, and see you next time where I visit the Upside Down…

Best,

Kristina

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