Get ready, guys. Cause this is where the #FirstWorldProblems start.
Ever since I moved abroad, I’ve had a weird relationship with home. Home here meaning the place I grew up, because after seventeen months, Madrid certainly feels like home now. I jumped on my first plane to Madrid in July 2014 and didn’t come again until the following December. And although I felt pretty settled in España, I remember feeling soooo excited to go home. I compiled lists of the food I wanted to eat, the people I wanted to see, the places I wanted to go. I felt relaxed and content to be back in my teenage bedroom, wearing my teenage clothes (here’s looking at you, Ryan Air baggage allowance), and seeing my teenage friends. But then came January, and I started a new job and met new people and just delved further and further into my Madrid life.
My next visit wasn’t for another eight months. I was still excited for the trip, if not only because of the finance drought faced by all English teachers every summer, but it definitely felt different to Christmas. And I had the realisation that my friends’ careers didn’t give them the luxury to take two weeks off every summer to harass their parents. So off to Madrid I went again, back to the bars I loved and the currency I’d become accustomed to.
Which brings us to today: I’m currently in the middle of my third trip to the UK since I moved to Madrid, and this time has been a very different experience. There was no list of food sent to my mum this year, no special requests, or hounding people over texts to see when we could hang out. I’ve just gone with the flow. And it’s taken me these entire three trips back to realise that the main points of my trip home consist of boring things that my inability to speak Spanish stop me from accomplishing in Madrid: getting blood tests, going to the opticians, and getting my birth control on the beauty that is the NHS. Of course, I love seeing my family, friends, and my cat. And I’ll never complain about eating normal bread for a change, but it’s gotten to the point where I’m not counting down with dread to my flight home. Because Madrid is that to me now: home.
This whole post might seem so obvious or so dramatic: but it’s only just really hit me that there wasn’t a distinct moment where I was like ‘this is it, Madrid is my home now’. It happened in bits and stages and it took over a year but yep, guess I’m pretty content with life right now. I’ll take my studio apartment and hour long commute to work over easily accessible vegetarian food for the time being.
Miss you, Madrid, see you in a week.