Sunday, December 19, 2010

Madrid and the Little Things

In every relationship, people say that after a while you fall in love with "the little things." How many cubes of sugar in their coffee, or the way their hair always sticks up oddly on one side, or that funny way they can never, never, never decide what to order on the menu (nothing personal Jordan).  And, with time, it is these little things that you come to love.

With only two days left in this amazing city, I have been thinking of the little things I will definitely miss about Madrid. After seeing so many beautiful cities and places, I must admit at times I have forgotten about the cute, wonderful things Madrid has to offer. Although the orchestra of honking horns down Alberto Auguellera or the never-ending ham/tuna that somehow winds up in almost every meal does not make the top of my list, there are many little things that I adore about Spain which will be so missed. 

1. I love the old Spanish people. They walk and chat down the streets in their long fur coats with matching yet incredibly outdated hats, and carry themselves with a sense of pride I am not used to seeing among elderly folk. It's like they are proud they are old, and are proud of the wisdom they have acquired, and are proud, of course, to be Spanish. 

2. The dogs without a leash. It sounds annoying, but it's actually quite fun to come from the U.S. where people hold onto those long red leashes as if they are the link holding together their very lives, and here in Spain the dogs just walk where they please.  It's also funny when the dog just doesn't feel like walking or listening to directions, because he didn't get his treat or his water was not in the right spot that morning or what have you, and the old retired Spanish man grows extremely frustrated, screaming, "Pepe! Pepe, venga! PEPE!!!"at the top of his lungs across the street. Also, for reasons I do not understand, the dogs are better at avoiding getting hit by cars than the people are, so dogs without a leash wandering all over this traffic infested city really is not a problem.

3. The necessity of a cigarette-always. I know how bad they are for you and obviously I don't smoke, but I find it so hysterical that they are smoking all the time. Morning, afternoon, night, breakfast, lunch, dinner, at the pre-party, at the party, at the get it. It's a fashion statement and an addiction, and although I am not unaware of the health risks of second hand smoke, it's still funny to observe these proud Spaniards pull off their obsession with cigarettes. I guess, if anyone can make something totally disgusting look classy, it's going to be the Spanish women with their long shiny dark hair and Carolina Herrera bags. And the best part is, Spanish women have a higher life expectancy than American women. Smoke on, Spain, smoke on.

4. The jam packed metro's on Friday and Saturday nights. Although it's uncomfortable when there is less than an inch of space between you and the random person standing next to you, Friday and Saturday nights on the metro mark La Vida de Espana...the one it is notorious for. Everyone under the age of 30 is screaming, singing, swaying, drinking, laughing, and going absolutely insane simply because it is, well, Friday or Saturday night. The entertainment I have seen in the metro is utterly irreplaceable, because it capitalizes on a way of life that will be missed terribly.

5. Retiro. Retiro, however, is not a "little thing." El Parque de Retiro is a really really really big thing, like 350 acres big. If old Spanish people, dogs without a leash, cigarettes and crowded metros are the "little things," Retiro Park is the astonishingly good looks, the great sense of humor, the brains and the compassionate heart. Essentially it is why everybody loves Madrid, and it is just as fun in the winter as in the summer:

And so Madrid, you will be missed. Thank you for all of the unforgettable people, places and memories that have broadened my experiences and changed my life. These moments that we've all shared together really will last a lifetime; and these big things, little things, cherished things, and such truly extraordinary things are now imprinted in our minds and hearts forever...

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