The Pioneer

Coming back to my home, Madrid

Photo by Daisy Ortiz/The Pioneer

Photo by Daisy Ortiz/The Pioneer

Daisy Ortiz,
Spanish Editor

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About six months ago, my cousins, my younger sister and I decided to buy tickets to Europe. A round trip cost us around $400—a surprisingly good deal—so we took the plunge.

This isn’t my first time in Europe; in fact, it’s my fourth time coming back and my third time coming to Madrid. The school year of 2015-2016 I studied abroad for a year in Madrid, Spain at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

It was a year of personal growth and expansion of knowledge. I grew to love the city because of its relaxed vibes, hospitality and beautiful architecture. It’s very different from the United States.

About a week ago, my cousins and I arrived at the Barcelona airport after a five-hour plane ride from San Francisco to Montreal, Canada, a five-hour layover and then another six-hour flight to Barcelona. It was exhausting, to say the least.

When we first arrived at the airport I already felt butterflies building up. Even though I wasn’t in Madrid yet, I was still on Spanish soil.
The very next morning I left for Madrid alone. The 50-minute flight from Barcelona felt like an eternity. I stepped off the plane and immediately felt a sense of belonging.

I didn’t cry because there were people around, otherwise there would’ve most likely been waterworks.

I made my way to the metro and everything felt familiar: the food areas I had stopped to eat at, the gates I used to wait at for my flights, the accent of the Spanish people. It all felt normal.

As I rushed down the escalators to catch the metro—which I still missed—I laughed because I remembered the struggle of trying to get into the metro car before it warned the doors were closing with a loud ring.

The hostel my sister and I stayed was right in the center, Gran Via. It’s a stretch that’s filled with shops and nightlife right down the street. I went to the sandwich shop I used to always go to, Rodilla, and got my 3,50€ deal—the equivalent of around $4.13—which included two slices of a sandwich of your choice and a drink.

Going out was a breeze. We would just walk down the street or take the metro to the club and unlike in the U.S., there were no worries about having someone to drive us home or driving an hour to San Francisco to go out.

It’s honestly so easy to fall in love with this city, with its beautiful streets, numerous plazas, and peaceful parks you can relax at.

These are the prices I remember, this is the air I used to breathe, these are the streets I used to roam, these are the people I interacted with. This is my home. Madrid will always have a huge chunk of my little corazón.

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