Since I’ve been abroad, I’ve become mildly obsessed with shopping.
I’ve been using my wardrobe as my go-to source of expression. I take a weird little pride in the looks I get for what I’m wearing and it just makes me happy.
This slight addiction mixed with my terminal fear of missing out on something lead me on a mini-adventure a rainy Thursday afternoon in center-city Madrid.
The day before, I had been at Gran Via, a central street in Madrid that’s lined with stores.
Surely by divine intervention, I happened upon a skirt that was destined to be mine, yet, cruel, cruel fate had rendered me without money, and alas, without my dream skirt.
Put down the box of kleenex, this melodramatic story doesn’t end just yet.
The next day, it was raining icily. I was dropped off at the Royal Palace, which I had visited the day before, and had nothing to do. As I walked out of the palace, trying to brainstorm, the wind flipped and, consequently, broke my umbrella. Being cold puts me in a wretched mood and I have to say that I spent a good 5 minutes standing in the rain with my inverted umbrella feeling really crappy for myself.
But the feeling passed as I walked on; my curiosity and desire for that skirt getting the best of me.
Since I had been in the area the day before, I assumed that I could navigate my way back to Gran Via without a major problem.
45 minutes later, I found out I was right. The sun was shining and I was feeling accomplished as hell, having navigated my way all by myself.
On my way back, I magically found Chocolateria San Gìnes, which is apparently famous. I stepped inside, ordered the typical hot chocolate and churros, and sat myself down.
A barrel-bellied cook arrived and placed in front of me what may have been the best thing I’ve ever had. The Spanish’s hot chocolate is exactly what the name suggests: hot, liquified chocolate; probably no water or even milk. Imagine the consistency of a Hershey’s bar you left in the hot car.
Then, you do something really splendid. You take the hot crispy churros and you dip them in the hot chocolate.
Revolutionary, life-changing, awe-inspiring.
I waddled my full-tummied self all the way back to the palace, feeling significantly better about everything.
I finished the week off with, of course, more art exhibits. My host-dad had been looking up art museums and came into my room to tell me ,”There is an Impressionism exhibit at this museum, but I called ahead and they don’t have any Degas.” I had told him once in the car upon arrival that I loved Impressionism and especially Degas. The fact that he remembered and went the extra mile (or kilometer) to make me happy really made me think.
It’s so strangely beautiful to be in Madrid, in the middle of Spain, miles and miles from the people who have known me and loved me all my life, to find myself in the home of strangers with whom I can barely communicate, who are not only taking care of me, but actually making an enormous effort make me happy. It’s huge. I really can’t even comprehend the compassion some people have, and to witness it first-hand, on my sorry little self, makes it even more remarkable. It’s reassuring and humbling and inspiring.
On a ligher note, I saw Monet’s bridge with the waterlilies and practically peed myself.
Bisous tout le monde.