Ever get that feeling like you’ve accomplished something really big in your life yet, you still feel empty and still feel like you want more and more and more?
(Hoping you’ve answered yes).
Well, I moved to Madrid a few months ago, pretty cool right?! I had worked my ass off to save all my money to come here. I sold everything I owned, applied for the visa, bought the tickets and, here I am!
I left my land of ice and snow (Canada) and I flew here partially for love, but, mostly for a new beginning. Honestly, I was tired of Canada—yes it’s an amazing and progressive country (well…kind of, they legalized pot which is somewhat progressive, right?), yet, I didn’t feel like I was fitting in with the crowd.
I’ve never wanted to fit in per se, yet, part of me always wanted to be part of something. I’m still not sure what that “something” is but eventually, I'll figure it out.
Anyway, I moved to Madrid! I started working and I’ve met some really nice people from many different countries and even made friends, yeah, this is pretty big for me since I’m very anti-social, don't like people much and kind of awkward but hey, they enjoy my company I guess! I’ve been making a little bit of money and having time to relax and travel around the country which has been fantastic. I've seen some of the nicest beaches and most precious little villages in Spain, it’s truly remarkable.
The best part is that my boyfriend lives in Portugal and every two to three weeks I get to go to Portugal. Think about it, I can travel from one country to the next in less than two hours. Pretty crazy. In Canada, you could only get to the next city while driving for two hours haha!
But in all honesty and negativity aside, Spain has been pretty decent since I’ve moved here. The people, well, they need to learn manners and politeness but once you get past this, they can be, nice. They make great food AND since they enjoy socializing amongst themselves so much, there’s an abundance of bars and clubs to visit. You can visit a new one every day, which, I don’t recommend because you’ll become an alcoholic but, nonetheless, you'll never run out of options.
Besides the great aspects of Madrid’s social life, it’s been kind of lonely here. My boyfriend lives in Portugal so we're apart often, my mom, well, everyone and everything I know is back in Canada. You know, they say you don’t realize what you’ve got til it is gone… and I’m starting to realize that my mom’s burgers on the grill. Well, I fucking miss them, even though I complained about eating them all the time and her annoying complaining about the house being dirty and no one helping her do anything around the house, well, I’d give my left arm to help my mom do the dishes right not. You don’t realize how comfortable your bed is or the air in your home smells delicious until you live 4000 kilometres away from that air. You underestimate this hole in yourself that will grow and grow once you leave familiarity behind. You overestimate how confident you will be when faced with language barriers and different cultures and you definitely don't expect to be stuck in the middle of nowhere knowing no one or nothing around you. You don't expect to feel so lost.
I expected to move here and have my fears and negativity vanish. I was ready to start a new life, a new chapter as they say. HAHA!
I moved here and I felt worst then before. My fears and anxieties became so evident to me it was almost paralyzing. It was as if they acted as a straightjacket and I couldn't Houdini my way out. It was certainly one of the most uncertain moments of my life. I didn't know who I was anymore which, brought on more questions.
Should I be here?
Did I make the right move?
Who am I?
Maybe this was supposed to happen. That somehow, the universe had put this major move, unrooted me from my home and transported me here to make me question myself. Yet, in this transition of which I tried to fight, I discovered that I'm one resilient son of a bitch, that finding yourself can be easy if you break down your walls and be honest with you, that perhaps, learning new languages and eating new food won't kill you and that travelling is the world's most precious way of offering you a better version of yourself.
I know, because I did it.
Here I am, I’m in Madrid.
I guess I never will want to admit this to myself.
This incurable unhappiness stuck so deep inside me. This cemented, anchored, armoured heaviness in the core of my being which refuses to leave. This feeling of never being satisfied. Eating, but having a hole in your stomach. Running, but not moving. Breathing, but fucking suffocating.
Urgh, the heaviness.
It's as though nothing on this earth could possibly make you happy (unless millions showed up on my bank account, that could make me smile a bit more!), even though you've tried the bullshit meditation and mindfulness exercises and journaling and yoga and read that book your friend's aunt recommended; nothing works. Nothing fills that gap you've got lodged in the pit of your stomach. Not even chips, warm pajamas, and Netflix all combined.
I guess I didn't want, and still don't want, to admit to myself that I’m not fixed. That moving away and running away from myself has not yet worked and I’m still not fixed. That maybe coming here was a bad idea or that maybe I will always be like this, but how can I admit this to myself when I have this illusion in my mind telling me everything is fine.
I want to believe this illusion, my god, do I want to believe it. I want to believe so god damn bad, but I know...I know I’m still unfixed.
In the midst of my mental chaos, in the middle of my existential crisis happening in my Lavapíes apartment on a daily basis, I managed to see some light at the end of the very, very obscure tunnel.
I met someone. (Yeah yeah yeah, get all your judgements out now...)
I met someone that doesn’t make me question my self-worth. I met someone that doesn’t make me ask myself why I do the things I do, and criticize them, but rather, tries to understand my functioning and open his mind to new possibilities on doing and seeing things. I met someone that, as cliche as it sounds, tells me I’m beautiful everyday, even when I have mascara down to my cheeks or my hair is a fluffy mess or I’ve been wearing the same sweatpants for four days in a row—and you know what, it feels fucking amazing. I met someone that chases my happiness as much as his own. I met someone that pushes me so high towards my goals and dreams that sometimes, when I look down, I'm scared to fall, but then I remember he'd never let me fall and then I stop and I think to myself, that with this much support, my crazy dreams could actually be obtainable. That maybe one day, I would have gained enough courage to ACTUALLY do the things I've been dreaming of doing and accomplishing. Maybe.
My journey across the ocean has not been easy for me. Maybe it has been for others reading this, but for me, it’s been sort of, well, kind of shy of a nightmare. I’ve been very homesick. I’ve had nights where I’ve cried wanting to go back home to familiar things. I’ve had days of intense loneliness and nights filled with heartache, but with the support of my special person, I’ve been able to conquer this treacherous adventure.
I've been able to open doors I had promised myself to keep shut. I've been able to finally be myself (what a relief) and just breath. I've had the courage to continue writing and doing things I've once loved and cherished. This person did not change me. This person enabled me to see how the world can be beautiful if we just try a little harder.
“Can you help me go to the bank?’’
I moved to Spain. Yep, I’m here.
In a cool apartment in Madrid living with a 60-year-old woman who’s actually pretty cool. Cool in the sense of “she doesn’t care if I shower at 1 am and make a little noise when I get home at 5 am drunk on a Saturday morning”.
I live in a hip neighborhood too, Lavapies they call it. There’s a bunch of neat shops and awesome little restaurants and cheap supermarkets! This part of Madrid is very enjoyable.
However, no one speaks English.
And when I say no one…I mean, no one.
Which, as you can imagine, makes everything a zillions times harder.
Can’t go to the bank
Can’t add minutes to my phone
Can’t order food at Burger King
Can’t ask for directions (thank God of Google Maps!)
Can’t go to the doctors
Can’t ask for help
Can’t do anything!!!!
Yep, I live in Madrid now.
I watch a lot of Netflix. What I noticed is that a lot of the shows here in Spain are different from what I’m used to in Canada. Different in the sense that I now pay to watch the shows I used to watch in Canada.
It’s funny how the cliche sentence “ you never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” is 100% true.
For example, when I lived in Canada I hated the snow, I hated the cold. I hated people in Montreal, I thought they were rude but my god were those people ever nice compared to those here.
At least back home, they hold the door for you, they move on the sidewalk to give you space to walk too, they say “thank you”. I guess I always took that for granted as everyone around me has always acted as such…It’s a little difficult to swallow when someone doesn’t thank me for something or doesn’t move on the sidewalk, forcing you onto the street with oncoming traffic. They tell me it’ll take some getting used too…Well, my momma raised me right and I won’t get used to being rude and ignorant of others in surroundings.
Anyways, let’s get past the negativity for a while. I went to an Italian restaurant a few weekends ago, let’s just say that the cheese I ate, was the best thing to touch my lips. “Burrata” they call it. Wow.
There’s also this flea market on Sundays called “El Rastro’’ which is very enjoyable if you like being surrounded by 10,000 people. The vendors on the sidewalks sell anything from leather bags to cheap jewelry and antiques. If I was a millionaire, I would buy all those leather bags!
And lastly, the abundance of bars and clubs makes every weekend a free-for-all and very exciting. You could visit every bar once and I think within a year you’d still have more to see. Just one my way home from work I must pass at least 20. Astounding when you think about it. Spaniards really enjoy their free time and going out, as rude and as ignorant as they may seem, they are very social beings amongst themselves, you just…have to figure out how to get into their circle.
Speaking Spanish is the key.