I have a special love for that place, even to this day. Even though it was a thousand miles and an ocean away from my house, I felt at home. I discovered that if I could endure all that I had those ten days and still find happiness, maybe Madrid had something special to offer. As I boarded the plane for my return flight, I acknowledged the fact that things will not be the same when I get back. I realized there was an entire world out there to be discovered, and that Syracuse is only a small part of it. I left with a longing in my heart to see the rest of the world, to learn new languages, to get lost in different cities, and experience this new world I had not known about before I left for Spain.
It was my first day of a ten day excursion when I encountered my first challenge, speaking in Spanish. I had grown up in central New York my entire life. A southern accent was almost incomprehensible, never mind a foreign language. I figured I would have to try eventually; I might as well jump in head first. Confidently, I walked up to a woman at a little restaurant and ordered my first meal in Spanish. I ordered a bottle of water and a chocolate chip cookie. However, a moment later, the woman came back and handed me a slice of watermelon and a cup of hot chocolate. I never felt so confused and embarrassed before in my life. I sat down at a table with some new friends who commented about my interesting eating habits.
The next challenge I faced was adjusting to the cultural lifestyle of the Spanish. In Spain I traded my large comfortable bed at home for a small cot whose springs stabbed me all night. My lodging consisted of a dimly lit hosterÃa that smelled of old socks and musty air. However, there was one thing above all else which nearly drove me to the brink of insanity, my roommates’ snoring. My room had always been silent in the past; occasionally I would play music but that was it. Now I had to deal with two people who competed with every night to see who could snore louder and best imitate a chainsaw. Eventually, I found relief from my most paramount problem by sleeping in a hammock on the patio. I still was not able to hear the relaxing melody I was accustomed to, but at least I got rid of the lumberjack games.
One of the last challenges I faced was getting back to the airport on time. Even though I had spent more than a week in Spain I still did not fully understand the labyrinth they call Madrid. So when I got to the metro station I discovered there were four different trains leaving in four different directions. My first thought was dear God, please do not let me get so lost I end up in France. Then, I had a stroke of genius; I found a group of people with duffle bags. I realized that if I followed the people carrying luggage odds are they would be going to the airport. So I gathered my bags and followed them on the B train with confidence knowing that everything would work out, for once.
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