Home is where...
Home to me is so much more than where you simply live. To me, it's a place that welcomes you with open arms whenever you return to it, it's a place where you grow and learn about yourself, it's a place of significance, and a place that steals your heart and a place that you give your heart to. I've liked to think I've had four homes so far with Madrid, being the fourth.
1. Darien, IL "A nice place to live"
2. Miami University, #LoveandHonor
3. Sevilla, NO8DO, No me ha dejado
4. Madrid, TBD, Still working on the slogan.
From the moment I arrived, it felt like I never left Spain. Keep in mind, I had never been to Madrid, specifically before, but walking in Lavapiés and La Latina along the cobblestone drinks, stopping for some tortilla española and tinto de verano (Missed you SO MUCH!), I literally thought that I have lived here before. There are plenty of differences between Madrid and Sevilla, which I'll get into in another post, but there's just something about Spain in general. I had the same feeling arriving three years ago. The air smelled of both adventure and calmness and gave me the most comforting Déjà vu (Can Déjà vu be comforting? Usually it freaks me out, but I'm going with it this time).
But it only took about 2 weeks for me to start calling it home. That happened way faster than I thought it was, but I think diving into orientation and finding an apartment on the 3rd day, things just happen at lightening speed.
So when was the moment? I travelled to Palma de Mallorca with a group of CIEE girls September 13-16 and while I loved the beach and exploring the island, I arrived home and I remember unlocking the door, stepping across the threshold with my suitcase and thinking, "Wow, it feels like I've been gone forever. It's good to be home." Then cue my roommate, Gianna, running toward me saying "You're back! You're back!" and me replying, "I'm home! I'm back home!" While it was a literal moment, it filled me with comfort and while I've been all over the place these past two weeks, I was so relaxed and happy. There is something to be said about coming back to the familiar. Calle Magdalena looked a little brighter, a little warmer and Plaza de Antón Martín seemed serene, and the Kebab place looked more delicious than ever before. No lie.
Now I guess the next step is making a list of the things the locals do, so I can actually call myself a madrileña.