Shew! It’s been a while.
I’m always fascinated by the sense of smell; how with one whiff of an aroma you can be transported to another time. This happened to me a few days ago when I arrived in Madrid. It smelled exactly as I remembered when I visited my relatives in 2001. As we drove through the city at about 7:40am on Tuesday, I knew right away that somewhere nearby they were making churros and my memory of being with my aunt and cousin, listening to Elton John in the car and making a stop to grab some churros came back vividly.
It’s been 10 years since that visit. But it’s been (seemingly long) 2 years since I left this beloved place I used to call home to move back to my original home in NC. While I was away, everything related to the years I spent here seemed distant, like much time had passed since those precious memories were created. Yet, as I rode around Madrid on a moto with my dear friend Felipe, it felt like it was only yesterday that I was gallivanting across the Iberian Peninsula, in love with the land and everything it offered me from the food to the people.
I’ve made the trip with the sole motive of being in Spain. The second motive is to complete the first part of my Masters of Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language at the Universidad de Granada in the south of Spain. It’s a two year program, so it’s set in stone that I’ll be back next year. I can’t think of anything else I would want as definitive as a return trip to Spain.. Ahhh!
Anyhoots, the day I arrived in Madrid was wonderfully spent catching up on lost time with Felipe, getting some much needed sleep, eating lunch on the terrace of Felipe’s house that looks out on the Sierra Guadarrama to the north of Madrid, and in the afternoon we went to run with Pablo, who has cerebral palsy, and Gonzalo, who has Downs syndrome. Such interesting guys who find ways to do some type of sport in spite of their handicaps. Pablo runs and cycles, and ran his first 10K recently, while Gonzalo rides horses. It was a really impacting experience that I will not soon forget.
One of the things I love about visiting friends is meeting the people that are special to them. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to meet Felipe’s lovely sister, Laura, and her charming husband, Ramón. We spent quite a bit of time with them and they have left a sweet impression on my heart already. I absolutely can’t wait for the next time I get to see them. Hooray for new friendships!