9/15/11-9/16/11 (Days and nights don’t make sense in Ibiza)
I remember getting ready for the trip and just thinking, “Damn it, I’m missing something. Damn it, I’m missing something.” For those of you who know me well, you’re aware that years of international flying with my family has made me prone to being a nervous traveler. And so, as the story usually goes, I was the first at the terminal, exhausted and ready to sleep on the plane.
To be frank I was looking forward to the next 24 hours. We were to land in Ibiza at 2am, and we couldn’t check into the hostel until 2pm the next day. When we did make it to Ibiza my friend and I spent some time utilizing our Spanish skills to try and get an early check-in for the following morning. It sounds simple enough. But when you have about fourteen other tired, hungry, and fidgety college students (can’t forget to add loud and English-speaking) it is one hell of a challenging task. We were finally able to convince him to check in at 11am. And so our night began.
We quickly learned that our hostel was located on the east side of the island—quieter and more beach-friendly but rather void of the crazy Ibiza that each of us were so hungry for. So, we started walking towards the port, hoping to find life and excitement at the bars. We couldn’t believe our eyes when the only thing open was McDonalds. The land of partying was…quiet? I mean really quiet. Like Los Angeles at 2am quiet.
While many of our group huffed and puffed with disappointment (ok clearly I’m annoyed with people’s behavior sometimes…) a few of us decided to do some investigating and see where to go. Magically we made it over to the west end of the island known as San Antonio. San Antonio is a long bar strip full of really, really, really drunk Englishmen and Italians. The streets are incredibly dirty and promoters are everywhere looking for visitors. San Antonio was just so…um…well…trashy. Once you stepped inside the bars things weren’t so bad but for the most part I just kept trying to make sure that I wasn’t bumping into a drug dealer or prostitute (just kidding Mom and Dad!). In other words, Vegas is far, FAR, better. After bar hopping the strip we got back on the bus towards the east side of the island.
For those of you who haven’t been to Ibiza, it’s important to understand that everything on the island is rather spread out. Each club is sort of situated in the middle of nowhere, and if if you aren’t feelin’ one place it’s a trek to get to another. That being said, we had no idea what to do when we got back. It was about 6:30am and we had hours until check-in.
So, we watched the sunrise. I’ve seen a number of sunsets in my life but this was perrrrty freakin’ amazing, watching as the sun woke up the world (well probably not many of the passed out party people). Most of us ended up curled up on the two tiny couches in the hostel/apartment’s lobby waiting for the comfort of a bed.
The apartments themselves were rather impressive. We had an ocean view and our own mini-kitchen complete with AIR CONDITIONING. It’s a big deal ok?
By Friday afternoon most of our group had woken up. We decided to head over to the beach and have a grand old time in the sun. I don’t know what it is, but I love the ocean. And swimming in it always reminds me of being 14 and body surfing the vicious Pacific Ocean waves. We would come out with scratches and bruises absolutely smashed by the currents. Those were the days.
But this ocean was much calmer, cooling us off as we braced the heat and humidity. Friday night was the big event for most of us. We had bought our tickets to Space to see Magnetic Man and Pendulum and were excited to attend what we were told was one of the highest rated clubs in the world. First of all, NEVER, ever, ever buy your Ibiza tickets online. I didn’t know this at the time but if you walk around Bora Bora there are promoters everywhere giving you discounted or free wristbands. That being said, Space was…ok. It didn’t get close to poppin’ until 3am when Magnetic Man came on to perform. Then at 4am it got really crazy with Pendulum. As a 5”2 girl, I exit the dance floor when I see the mosh pits forming. DEUCES. Great performances but I’d rather keep my bones in place :)
Being in that club made me realize how little it takes for me to have a good time. A few friends, an apartment, and some good music and I’m good to go. Don’t get me wrong I love throwin’ down in a club, but I need to be somewhere where they mix it up. Six hours of house/electro isn’t my thing.
After sleeping through the morning we went out to get some lunch. Afterwards we decided to walk over to the Bora Bora area for the daytime beach party. Nothing too crazy if you ask me (has American college partying desensitized me?). We got a number of free wristbands and started planning our night. We were hoping to head over to Amnesia and busted our butts to get there on time. But, being the large group that we were, it was hopeless. Afterwards we bolted over to Privilege, an enormous club that had way too much space that night. There were dancers wearing animal costumes and others wearing tribal/futuristic outfits. That doesn’t help you much does it? The cool part of the club was that it had an outdoors garden where you could sit and relax. Too bad that I ended up being eaten alive by mosquitos. What is it with my blood?! We danced a bit and then headed home.
Sleeping through the morning again, the group headed out to try and find another lunch spot. When we sat down I looked over at my friend and we used our telepathic abilities (fine we just talked) to communicate that we had to go somewhere else. Small restaurant with many gringos= muchos problemas. We were able to find an adorable spot right in front of the water. It was so nice to get out of the large group environment and just be able to talk.
We decided to take advantage of the sudden increase in efficiency and go on an adventure. We walked over (long, long walk) to Dalt Vila, a historical site with some of the most incredible views of the island. I was extremely excited to actually see something instead of just bum on the beach again. I’m from LA ok? Sand isn’t something that rare for me.
Sunday night marked the end of the trip for us. Exhausted and checked out of the hostel we all hung out by the pool reviewing the weekend’s events. Ibiza is beautiful. And maybe for many out there it’s the spot to be. But I think there are plenty of places in the world where the gente party just as hard and where the beaches are far more beautiful.
Regardless, I’m happy I did it. Had to see what Jennifer Lopez was talking about you know?
1. Finding a community where I could spend Rosh Hashana while abroad.
2. Having a friend from LA who could spend Rosh Hashana with me.
3. Being invited to a stranger’s home for a Rosh Hashana meal (and being given a ride there).
4. Being born in an age of technology in which I can videochat my family/friends.
5. Having someone to call and get out of the house when things feel way too crazy.
6. Knowing that there are people around the world who care (hopefully) about my well-being.
7. Having the tool of multiple languages. Priceless.
8. Family and friends…even if many of them are in different countries. “There is nothing between us but space and time.”
There’s a lot more but I don’t want to bore you.
Shana Tova U’metukah!
May you have a sweet and wonderful new year. Wishing everyone plenty of health, happiness, and success.!!שנה טובה ומבורכת
I found my cafe! It has been a long and arduous search after switching to a more authentically Spanish neighborhood and looking for somewhere to do my homework. The Spanish don’t go out in public to sit with their computers—and rightfully so. But I NEED to minimize my time at home. I did find a public library (oddly funded by Caja de Madrid) but they don’t have Wifi. I mean really? How the heck do the Spanish students do it.
And SO, I discovered a retro cafe with free wifi and an all-male waiting staff. What? It doesn’t hurt does it? The best part? They all wear kicks (shoes are important ok?!). They even have plugs for your computer. Three minute walking distance from my host family. JACKPOT. Not to mention that ‘cafe’ in Madrid means they have to have a full bar as well. Teehee.
Of course it isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay to escape the constant screaming and yelling in this household. While I am indeed a fan of the Spanish passion, and of my new host family, sometimes you just need a little peace—chu know?
Yesterday marked the one month that I have spent living in Madrid/ exploring Europe. Don’t ask me where the time goes.
And yes, I do owe the virtual world both Ibiza and Brussels adventure descriptions.
But as a quick thought:
The Jewish New Year is soon approaching. It’ll be the first time in my life (at least that I can remember) that I’ll be away from my family during an incredibly important part of the year.
And while I explore this part of the world, I remember something I wrote about my past experiences: “Traveling is less about the places you see and more about the people you meet.”
This statement has been unbelievably true these past few weeks. I know how blessed and fortunate I am to have the opportunity to see so much—but I’m also reminded everyday that the most gorgeous cathedrals and breathtaking landscapes don’t mean much if you aren’t in good company. That isn’t to say that people aren’t friendly. I just miss the amazing feeling of being on the same wavelength as someone. You know what I’m talking about. It isn’t that you’ve known each other for long, or that you hold each other’s deepest darkest secrets—it’s just that you just have the chemistry.
I’m a vibe person. I believe in auras and the ability to exude positivity. I also have many different types of friends—some who would never get along. And while I have met some incredibly sweet and caring people here, there are very few who I’m vibin’ with.
And while for some that is merely an inconvenience, for me it is an enormous obstacle to my study abroad experience. I don’t care how stupid it sounds, I am a people person. I study Anthropology because I’m fascinated by people. I became involved in humanitarian movements because I think people matter. I study English because of the incredibly poetic ways there are to learn about people describing other people.
To me, friendships and family are just as essential to daily life as are bread and water.
So call it complaining if you wish, but I want my people. The ones who know I hate being flaked on. The ones who can tell when I say my allergies are killing me because I don’t want to be caught crying. The ones who understand my unnatural love for all things chocolate. I want those people.
But of course, you can’t always (in my case, usually) get what you want. So for now, I’m going to thank the universe for the internet, Skype, and for being able to accept that there is no place like home.
Hope your weekend was as delicious as mine (chocolate and Belgian wafflesssssss)!
You have got some serious cojones. You take risks most people would never dare to take because you know that your pride is not something compromised by vulnerability. Your level of patience with people and life in general is far greater than I could have ever appreciated. You’re stubbornness somehow doesn’t prevent you from being able to forgive people. And your concern for others—though frequently dangerous for your own well-being—is not something to be ashamed of. I’m shocked at how you continue to be honest even when it has bitten you in the tush so many times before. I know that you’ve fallen down over and over (and over) again, but you’re one of the few I know that wears your scars with pride. I am so sorry for having been so hard on you these past few months. I told you that you weren’t strong—but I know now that your strength is simply of a different kind.
Thanks for always putting one foot in front of the other when I kept trying to push you down.
Just do me a favor would you? Test the waters with your toes before jumping in with two feet. I know you’re the kind of person that likes to give 100% but you have to remember that the world won’t always respond in the same way.
Your concerned self,
We can be alright
Just hold on to what we know is true
You and I now
Though it’s cold inside
Feel the tide turning” —Mumford & Sons
One of my favorite things about Madrid? Being able to sit and get a drink with a friend at 10:30 at night in the middle of the week, when many people are simply out enjoying themselves and the company around them. When we first arrived here everyone was so intent on partying as much as possible. And while I enjoy a good time, my heart hasn’t really been in it. It was when I sat down—just to talk and hear someone else’s story—that I really began to relax in this city. Maybe it’s the anthropologist in me but it’s what I love most. Even in LA where the culture is go go go, one of my favorite parts of the week is when I get a 3-hour coffee discussions with someone I haven’t seen in a while. It’s also one of my favorite things about Europe—that people simply invest more time in getting to know one another.
That being said, I must speak of the beauty of Valencia. This gorgeous coastal city welcomed us with an overwhelming heat and humidity. Many of the American students have been complaining of how dry Madrid is and a number of us have had to buy cough drops and consume ridiculous amounts of water to adjust.
When we got to Valencia I had to use my incredible navigation skills (I can picture about five of you dying of laughter right now) to get us to the hostel. One of the receptionists told us that they had a burst water pipe and I felt myself tense up as I realized we might not have anywhere to stay. Luckily she informed us that we would be upgraded to the nicer hostel five minutes away. Incredibly enough, we got a room with a balcony that opened up to La Lonja, a grand structure in the heart of downtown Valencia. Downtown Valencia in general is a fascinating area. There are endless small plazas that one can arrive to by way of tiny twisting and turning streets—many of which don’t even appear on the map.
After a 4 and a half hour bus ride we were hungry. And so we did what any good tourist would do—found ourselves some amazing paella. I was scared that I would be missing out ordering vegetable paella but I cannot describe to you how incredible it was. I complained to my travel partner that my stomach was going to explode but that I simply could not stop eating. If you go to Valencia do yourself a favor…EAT PAELLA.
After lunch we decided to head to the beach. Every few minutes I would ask another local for directions. I was terrified that my accent would quickly expose me as an ignorant visitor (as though being lost wouldn’t) but I was shocked at how incredibly friendly people were. In fact they were overjoyed that I even spoke Castellano and felt proud that someone all the way from Los Angeles would come and visit their city. Some people would even stop what they were doing and walk us down a few roads because the directions were too complicated to explain verbally. Nearly every single person was happy to help and provided their assistance with patience and understanding. As is evident, I am in love with Valencianos. Especially after having attended the Vogue Madrid event—where every person looked like a perfectly primmed Spanish princess, I was happy to feel and see the grunginess of Valencia. Some people are small town while others look like hippies. More people ride their bikes. Everyone is just more relaxed (ocean culture of course). Even the metros run slower and are above ground as though saying “Welcome to our city. Slow down and take your time. Life is not just about making it from point A to point B.” It’s my kind of place. It’s a unique beauty, rejecting the mainstream culture of Madrid (Madrid I absolutely adore you but it was nice to take a break—Is it weird that I’m even concerned with a hurting a city’s feelings?).
Of course the beach was beautiful. The sand was softer than the harder grains of Los Angeles coasts. And of course, as is European, people were more naked.
After the beach we rushed over back to the centro in hopes of making it to the walking tour. We missed it by a few minutes but me being me, I insisted we create our own walking tour. We passed by the Mercado, the Torres de Serrano, and various other old buildings scattered around the city. After that we stopped for some tapas (Ok fine I couldn’t eat any of them because they all had jamón and chorrizo but at least the waitress was super nice about it). When the exhaustion hit us, we headed back over to the hostel to shower and get ready to enjoy the night. In hope of making it easier for ourselves we signed up from one of those hostel pub crawls. It didn’t end up being the most amazing things in the world but I did get to meet a couple of girls who work in Madrid (one from Tabasco, Mexico!).
The next day I pulled my traveling partner out of bed so that we could use our day wisely before heading back to the big city. We visited Valencia’s big Cathedral. People always wonder if the hundreds of images of Christ, the Saints and the Virgin Mary might be overwhelming for a Jew like me. But the thing is, these enormous structures are astounding works of art and I can understand why they function as awe-inspiring institutions. I mean have you seen some of those chapels?
After the chapel I worked my magic again to get us to the Ciudad de Ciencias y Artes. As my travel buddy said, “It’s like we hopped onto a time-traveling machine that just took us into the future!” We found ourselves surrounded by enormous, peculiar looking structures that were the polar opposite of the historical churches and streets near the hostel. Of course, as a big nerd, I bought my two for one museum pass and was able to convince my peer to venture into the science museum. It was interactive and enjoyable. One particularly interesting exhibit was that on memory—what we choose to preserve, what we choose to protect.
For lunch we had Lebanese humus and falafel. HUMUS HUMUS HUMUS. I was so happy that the falafel was tasty too.
My travel buddy decided to head back to the beach (she’s from Kentucky you can’t blame her) but I decided I needed to see more. I headed into Oceanografico and spent the next few hours visiting beluga whales, sharks, and penguins. It might not sound too exciting but it was rewarding to be engulfed in air conditioned room and to walk through those long tunnels that are complete fish aquariums. I found my way back home with the help of another Valenciana on the bus (thank God I’m no longer scared to ask people to help me) and we headed back to the big bus station.
As we headed back, the sun was setting and the sky turned orange…and then pink.
The past two months have been some of the most challenging of my life, but damn am I lucky. I’m proud of myself for having worked my way through a city I know nothing about, and for having shed the fear of sounding stupid in another language (even though I’m sure I do). And so I’d like to thank Valencia and it’s people for being so warm and helpful. Experiencing kindness firsthand is amazing.
To more incredible experiences in España!
”It is understandable that someone might justify the Holocaust.”—Zapatero (OH YOU KNOW, just the Prime Minister of Spain no big deal)
This article is super interesting because a huge part of the population has Jewish roots. Semitic peoples in general are an integral part of Spanish history.http://www.hudson-ny.org/2020/ spain-anti-semitic
Spain: The “Most Anti-Semitic Country in Europe” :: Hudson New Yorkwww.hudson-ny.orgSpain emerged as one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the European Union in 2010, and the Spanish government has done nothing about it, according to the authors of an annual report that tracks anti-Semitic violence on the Iberian Peninsula.
Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.” —Steven Pressfield in one of 5 timeless insights on transcending fear in the creative process (via curiositycounts)
People say that the first step to getting what you want is to identify exactly what it is that you want and then establish a plan to go after it. But what if you know that what you want and what you need are contrary ideas? What if what you want is bad for you? What if it can destroy you? I think real strength comes from being able to pursue that which you know is best for yourself—even if it isn’t even close to your heart’s deepest desires.
But maybe strength is also going after what you want, and then being willing to face the consequences.
Last night I got to go to tapas with a couple of Spaniards and four Germans. It was weird being the only one representing the U.S…and Mexico…and Iran..and Judaism…well, I supposed by now you know how the story goes [Today my professor said the word Jew and about half of the class turned to looks at me. NO, I am not an expert on everything Jewish damn it.] Though it was ridiculously expensive, it was nice to spend some time away from the group and with a few people from the actual city. I’m always surprised by how shocked people are with my level of Spanish. Feels kind of nice though!
We spent three hours eating and sharing conversations. It’s amazing how much people travel nowadays. It also blew my mind how many Germans study abroad in Spain. We had a whole discussion about the cultural differences and how Germans simply feel more welcome here than in France. [I always feel like I’m defending the French. Maybe because I met so many incredible people there and know how awesome the French can be? But seriously, give them a chance, don’t assume they speak English, and they’ll be nice to you!]
I also had the opportunity to defend Los Angeles. Don’t. hate. Daz ma HOME. Of course we have a terrible public transportation system and sometimes it’s not exactly safe to go walking around. But once you get past some of the artificiality and over the disappointment of Hollywood, you’ll learn to love it. LA is all over the place. It’s a hot mess. But if you’re willing to give it a chance, it’ll teach you something new every day.
AND as incredible as Madrid is, I miss it so much.
Be’ezrat hashem, Valencia on Friday!
Starting from square one. I’m a creature of habit, and I enjoy familiarity. But nothing about this trip is habitual. Or familiar.
The good news? I refuse to stop fighting for my own happiness.
After class I headed home for lunch, both heavy and happy with the news that I am going to switch host families. I know that in the long run it’ll be a better decision for me, but with the constant changes I have been experiencing, I find myself overwhelmed with the thoughts of having to adjust all over again. At least I won’t have my toilet paper usage regulated? And I won’t be told that juice is just fruit in liquid form and that therefore I should be willing to drink it?
Aware that I would have few opportunities to simply walk around Chueca after I move, I decided to take another walking adventure, see what I find in the area. For many, this is the place to be. There are shoe stores, bars and clubs on every corner, and even an enormous fancy mercado that you would expect to be found somewhere like Santa Monica. And as I walked down Fuencarral, I discovered a whole new shopping district (of course I didn’t buy anything, who are we kidding). Unfortunately I got hit with an awful stomach ache and found myself waddling home just so that I could lie down horizontally. Looks like the food/water finally caught up with me. I had to spend the night in bed drinking tea (luckily I was smart enough to buy some for myself) and watching Modern Family.
Friday morning I was excited to use my entire day and get to know a new city. Before leaving LA I was skeptical of being part of a program that holds your hand through a lot of the experience, but I realize now that at this point in my life, it’s exactly what I need. Which is why I was overjoyed to see the big fancy bus that would drive us to Segovia. When we got there we took a walk through the historical center of Segovia, and stopped in front of the Acueducto Romano to discuss the incredible architectural advances of the Romans. With the use of the keystone, no cement was needed to keep the enormous stones together. It’s definitely a sight to see! We then saw the Alcázar de Segovia, the Castle that actually served as inspiration to Walt Disney to create the well-known castle that resides in Disneyland today. Did you know that Walt was an orphan who fell in love with the architecture of Spain and was then adopted by an American family? Goes to show why him and Salvador Dalí became such good friends. After the castle we had an enormous lunch at a restaurant in La Granja. These are my favorite meals because we take our time (and because I don’t have to eat at home).
In La Granja we visited the Palacio Real and took a walk in the Jardines surrounding the Palacio. Once again, the inside was full of paintings and other ostentatious decorations. Paco, our Art History professor told us that this Palacio was a sort of summer house for many of the Spanish kings. Philip V wanted to retire at this palace when he abdicated the throne to his son, King Louis I. Tragically King Louis I died that very same year, and Philip V had to return to his duties. We were told that after having experienced such a tragic loss, and faced with many responsibilities that he was hoping to escape, Philip frequently found himself depressed. For that reason his bedroom had an incredible view of the gardens—he could lie in bed and stare out of his window as he pondered melancholy thoughts.
We walked through the gardens as a group and I found myself completely content as the group laughed and took a ridiculous amount of photos.
When we headed back to the city I had to rush home to change for shabbat. I was incredibly excited to finally eat some kosher meat and learn about Jewish life in Madrid. I headed over by myself to the synagogue, where I had to register (with my passport!) the day before. I never realized how high security could be at synagogues in Europe, but it was a huge wake up call as to how careful I should be when I mention that I’m Jewish.
The synagogue featured an incredible mixture of orthodox, traditional, and conservative Jews. Some of the men had big beards, while others came in, in their nicest pair of jeans. Some of the women covered their hair and wore wigs, while others showed off their heels and tight skirts. I liked the mix, and it was a clear display of the diversity that comes with Sephardic traditions. Speaking of Sephardic traditions, I thought the service was absolutely beautiful. The melodies in these services are very similar to Jewish traditions around the world, but there are always very specific differences that all Jews can detect between Sephardic and Ashkenaz prayers.
After services I awkwardly headed over to the lobby to meet the Rabbi that was to host me for dinner. The shul had it’s own kiddush but I couldn’t seem to find which man with the long white beard I was mean to speak to. Hoping to play it safe I approached a group of boys speaking English. Luckily I found where I was supposed to be and we all headed to Chabad together with the Rabbi and his daughter. As happy as I was to meet the two Australians and the two New Yorkers, I could tell from that moment on that it would be awkward. Shabbat dinner proved to be one of the greatest disappointments…ever. I was strategically placed to sit with the women, told that I couldn’t sing Shalom Aleichem (because men can’t hear women sing) and asked to help clean up—which I always do with pleasure—except not once were any of the men asked to get up. I sat down respectfully the entire dinner, trying to remind myself that these people opened their home to me. But at this point in my life, my tolerance for antiquated beliefs about how women are treated is absolutely minimal. I have plenty of family that is far more religious than I am, and I respect them for being so disciplined and sure of their beliefs. Still, I refuse to tolerate a discussion about how certain Jews are less holy or pure or good because their skirts aren’t as long. If I can sit through a dinner and be respectful, the least you can do is pretend that you don’t think people who carry purses on shabbat are evil. Honestly.
And on that note, the drash (or speech) that was given at the synagogue had me riled up already. The Rabbi (actually the head Sephardic rabbi from Venezuela) said that those who don’t believe in God, don’t have hope. I couldn’t disagree more. Some of the most hopeful people—some of the people who have regained my faith in humanity are those who have rejected the notion of a God and of religion in general. Personally I do believe in something greater, but that is because of personal experiences (and of course a cultural background that I cannot reject). But in no way does this give me the right to say that this inner sentiment makes me a holier OR more hopeful person.
Religion needs to stop preaching about who is better, and needs to work harder on teaching tolerance and understanding. I believe in Judaism because of its cultural perseverance and some of the incredible moral routes that it has drawn—tikun olam, tzdakah, etc. I believe in Judaism because of its ability to repair my soul when I feel broken. And I believe in Judaism because even as an anthropologist who has deconstructed romantic notions of community, I believe in community—in the idea that people can feel connected because of a common history and tradition. But I also think that a lot of Jews need to get off their high horses and realize that the world is a lot bigger than just us. No, I don’t think that because I’m a woman the most honorable mitzvahs I can complete are baking challah and lighting candles. I have been blessed with an education that has enlightened me with the notion that I am capable of so much more (not that challah isn’t delicious).
And with that rant, let’s talking about the rest of Friday night (technically morning). Feeling rather down after shabbat (usually I feel incredible after a Friday night meal) I met up with other members of the group. We tried to coordinate meeting up at the park and then going out to Pacha, a well-known club in Madrid. Now holding the reputation of a negotiator with club promoters and bouncers, I was put in front of a group of 15, attempting to get us into a place where clearly many people were getting rejected. The first two bouncers seemed to enjoy my ability to speak Spanish (after being yelled at by a group of obnoxious Americans ahead of us) and were ready to let us in, but it turns out that the big man in charge wasn’t willing to accept 15 gringos, and so everyone headed their own ways. About 10 minutes later I got a call from a friend who had met a wealthy Madrileño who also had connections with Pacha. Next thing I knew, I was inside of a club in my shabbat dress, surrounded by girls in 5 inch heels. Oh well? We danced until 6 in the morning, when I told my friend that it was time for churros con chocolate. We walked over to Sol to get some, and arrived just in time before the store closed. Unfortunately it wasn’t as great as I had hoped but I was happy to at least have experienced a true Spanish night. I headed home on one of the first morning metros as it began to rain, and got into bed as the sun was rising.
Exhausted from the night (day?) before I slept in, woke up to do some homework and eat, and then slept again. As the night crept in again, we decided to go visit MTV Madrid, a free outdoor concert that attracted a huge crowd. We successfully met up with nearly the entire group and even danced with someone’s Señora. We first heard some Spanish rock band (I still have no idea who they were) and then had the pleasure (sarcasm) of dancing to Mario, apparently a well-known reality TV show star in Spain. He was supposed to DJ but he really spent a good 45 minutes playing his own iTunes list. The crowd didn’t care though, we just wanted to dance and have a good time. While everyone else wanted to continue clubbing, I decided to find my way home (the metros close at about 1:30pm). I discovered a new part of town as I walked the Gran Vía. The streets of Madrid are rarely empty. When I got home, I was excited to get into bed and snuggle up. A good weekend so far.
This city had really been great to me. My greatest challenge here is going to be…well, being Jewish. Yes it is true that Spain kicked us out in 1492. But guess what? I’m BACK, and I’m not willing to compromise on finding some kosher meat. I have an interesting week ahead of me..moving, securing my classes and learning how to live in a completely new neighborhood. Starting from square one, let’s go!
I miss you.