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Touristing

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In the several months leading up to my parents’ visit to Madrid, all my chocolate-crazed mom could talk about was how excited she was to try churros and chocolate for the first time.

On their first day here, she passed a churrería-chocolatería that had creme-filled and chocolate dipped churros in their display case and quite literally jumped for joy. She was then shocked to discover that I have never tried filled or dipped churros. How could I live in a land where those existed and never have had them?

That got me thinking. Despite being the chocoholic that I am, I realized that in the eight months that I’ve lived in Spain, I’ve only had churros three times. Three. And all three of those times were in my first month of being here. It didn’t make sense, because there is nothing I love more than a steaming cup of thick, rich, and creamy hot chocolate. So why had I stopped going for churros con chocolate?

And then it hit me: getting churros felt like something a tourist does. And after just one month of living in Madrid, I had stopped “touristing.”

Throughout the rest of my parents’ trip, that realization continued to be reinforced. Guiding my parents through Madrid’s major sights and watching them marvel at their quaint European and Spanish charm, I noticed just how normal and natural those wonders felt to me now.

At first I was worried that this meant I no longer appreciated how lucky I am to be living in Spain - that I took it all for granted. But in actuality, I think my feeling so settled and comfortable in Madrid is proof of how far I’ve come. I’ve moved to a new continent and have been living in a different country, surrounded by a foreign language and culture, and have successfully adapted and adjusted to the differences. What an accomplishment. 

While I still love being a tourist in other cities around Spain and throughout Europe, I’m very grateful that my "touristing" days in Madrid are over and I've graduated to simply "living."

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