Fall in Madrid

Madrid, Madrid, Madrid. Living here has been quite an experience and I’m not even two months in. To begin with, I absolutely love the weather here. Right now in Wisconsin, it’s cold and all the trees have lost their leaves. However, in Madrid, we are still struggling through the last days of summer and beginning our trek into fall. The last couple weeks have been warm (not nearly as warm as when I first arrived) enough that I can still walk to class in t-shirts, but we have experienced our fall-ish todays. For example, today is pretty chilly and cloudy. However, the leaves are beginning to change here and it is gorgeous. I can’t wait for all the leaves to change, it will be beautiful! (Not that it isn’t already)

Here is the view from my room, some of the trees around the river are changing

Besides the weather here, another thing I notice is that even though not everyone exercises here, the people that do, exercise late. Earlier this month I enrolled in a gym that had personal defense/kickboxing classes because back in the U.S. I loved kickboxing and wanted to continue it here. The first class I went with a friend, as we were both nervous about the exercise classes. The class began at nine, which isn’t a super late time for exercising, however, the gym was packed as if it was right after work! Typically in the U.S. the gyms are super busy after 5 as people are going to them right after work. I couldn’t believe how many people were there. Almost every machine was filled. Also, when we left at 10:30 (the class ended at 11, but we were exhausted) the gym was still busy. I couldn’t believe how many people were at the gym so late! I need to get used to the idea that 9/10 at night isn’t late for Madrileños as they typically don’t eat dinner until then.

While I haven’t been updating weekly as I promised, I have been busy between school and activities. A couple weeks ago, a few friends and I went to the Cercedilla Mountains an hour outside of Madrid and went hiking for the day. It was a nice cool day, perfect for hiking in just a t-shirt and shorts. We spent the whole day in the mountains and we only say 10% of what is out there. I hope to go back before it gets too cold, as it was absolutely breath taking landscape. It was also nice to get away from the city and experience the smaller cities of Spain. The people were extremely friendly and everyone that we passed would say hello or good day to us. It was such a pleasant experience.

This picture is of me and two friends in the Cercedilla Mountains

As for school, the semester is finally settling into a routine. For the first couple weeks of the semester, you aren’t technically “enrolled” in your classes. After the first two weeks, you then can enroll in the classes that you prefer, as long as there is room for you. Luckily, everyone in the program got into the classes that they wanted with no troubles. I really enjoy all the classes I am in, however, they are a little different than in Madison. For example, the biggest class I have has about 30 students in it. I am used to the large lecture halls full of 200+ students, but I actually prefer the smaller classes here, as the focused attention from the professors is better when I’m learning everything in another language.

Also, I began tutoring two Spanish girls. The oldest one is 13 and the younger one is 9. They are both absolutely precious. I look forward to my tutoring with them as they are so much fun to be with and are up for any activity I suggest. Besides teaching them English, they both teach me some words in Spanish. I always have a great time with them and feel bad when I have to leave for the day.

I wish I could write everything that is going on, but unfortunately I should stop here. Everyone stay warm in Wisco!

De España con amor,

michelle