Today is a good day. First and foremost, it is my Grandparents' 60th anniversary! Yay! I'm so happy to be a part of the family they started :) I wish I could celebrate with them and the rest of the fam this weekend... I'll be thinking of them!
And, the cherry on top of this special day was that the weather was wonderful here! It was in the high 50’s when I made my first trip to/from school, which doesn’t sound very warm when I type it out. But the sun was shining and my winter coat was finally unnecessary (later in the day I needed it, though). Well, I considered it warm enough not to wear a heavy coat, but the Spaniards did not. On my walk to and from school today I passed many people still bundled up in long winter coats and scarves. While I was leisurely walking home during my break, perfectly warm in just a sweater (holding my coat), an old lady told me it wasn’t spring time yet. She said that the sun was just fooling us to make us think that it was warm and that it is still winter time. She warned me that if I didn’t put my coat on I would get sick. She was really funny! I slowed down to her glacial pace and walked with her for a little bit… I explained that where I’m from, “winter” means feet of snow and way below freezing temperatures. Sooooo, this weather feels exactly like spring to me. She laughed at me, told me I was crazy, and said that I would hate how high she keeps her heater in her apartment. As we parted ways, she gave me a slap on the arm and said, “Next time I see you, you’ll have pneumonia.” Then she called me guapa… so obviously I love her. Haha.
I am very surprised that it has taken so long for it to warm up here. I thought the weather would be like it is now when I arrived in January. Even though it wasn’t as warm as I thought (I was greeted with snow) it was still always significantly warmer than Dubuque. According to my iPod (which often gets the current and future weather completely wrong) the next few days here are supposed to be rainy and in the 40’s (lowish 40’s)… And it’s supposed to be mid to high 40’s at home! How does that happen? You’re passing me up! Luckily I am escaping to Barcelona for the weekend, where apparently it will still rain, but will be much warmer. I’ll take it.
With the weather warming up some, my walk back from school has become much more enjoyable. Only my walk FROM school because TO school is pretty much all up hill. Walking home, I am usually happy since I’m finally out of class and to top it off, it’s a little bit of “me” time when I’m all by myself (besides the hundreds of people I pass along the way…) and I can just listen to some music. What’s on my iPod during this walk? You guessed it, show tunes :) I have noticed that my speed, expressions and style of walking is different depending upon the song I’m listening to. So I’ve found which shows work best for me (Spring Awakening, for example, has too many slow songs). My go-to soundtrack is Hair. I’ll put the album on shuffle and let the iPod gods decide my mood and pace for me. The only problem is that these songs make me TOO happy. Haha.
Madrileños, the people who live in Madrid, are the not the most pleasant folks (in my opinion). So, when “Aquarius” or “Hair” is pumping into my ears and I’m smiling, bopping along, and loving the world and everyone in it, people think I’m nuts. Here, you don’t make eye contact with people, and you don’t smile at them. Coming from a place where you hold the door open for strangers, say sorry if you bump into someone and smiling is not considered weird, that has been one of the hardest things for me to get used to… it just seems that, in general, there is a lack of friendliness here. Obviously it’s not EVERYONE, but even the workers in restaurants and stores usually don’t ask you how you are or if you need help. Even if the waiter or worker doesn’t truly care how we’re doing, it’s still nice to hear.
I’m not trying to hate on Spain. I love seeing the differences between countries, and think that the diversity of our societies is one of the best things about our world … but spending time living in another culture has made me realize things I love about my own that I didn’t even notice before :)