I have been in Madrid a month and still confuse push and pull doors.
Otherwise, I am learning. That’s about all I can say this early on, when every single thing is new and humbling. I eat food wrong! I say weird things by accident. Sometimes I linger a bit too long really close to someone because I am not sure if we are doing cheek kisses or a hug or some middle ground, new wave combination greeting. I have almost kissed two people on the mouth in this fashion.
There are moments when someone says something simple like hello to me in Spanish and I look at them as if they have cats for hands. “What does “Hola” mean?”
Even finding the bathroom isn’t as simple as high school Spanish would allow us to believe. Sometimes nothing makes sense and sometimes I labor under the illusion that I am fluent in Spanish and understand every nuanced bit of conversation happening around me. Maybe that’s just a survival skill. Who knows? But it is an amazing place.
There is a warmth I can’t yet articulate but appreciate very much. The people here that I know have treated me with incredible kindness. Even people I don’t know are gracious. They hold the elevator for you for a crazy long time. Even if you are like outside fumbling with your keys and they are not sure if you are even coming inside the building. People always say good morning or good evening. They rarely say a straight goodbye, preferring instead “Until later.”
I am learning and trying not to get too frustrated that I am not able to express myself yet. That’s about as much as I can say for the moment in a place that looks really familiar on the surface but just below contains an ocean full of culture I know nothing about yet.
I took these photos around the neighborhood and on the Metro.