Last Words from Madrid: the end of an era

Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
Trip End Jun 07, 2009

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Flag of Spain  , Autonomous Region of Madrid,
Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Last Words from Madrid: A Modest Farewell

Currently, I am sitting in Barajas Airport in Madrid anxiously awaiting my flight to London and eventually Boston. I left this morning from Maruja and family's apartment, parting ways somberly and tearless, at least on my part. As I try to do in occasions like this farewell, I try and think of all the wonderful things that transpired with the family:  the laughs, the lessons, the life. Maruja could not hold back her tears as she fought her way in saying goodbye to me. I said, "Gracias por todo" (Thanks for everything) with a huge grin on my face and half-chocked up. Maruja told me "thank you for behaving so well and being such a good chico and some other mushy stuff. After a final somber look at the family, I got in the cab and headed for the airport, reminiscing in all the incredible experiences that I had in not only Madrid, but also other areas in Spain and Europe.

I realize I have not written in a couple weeks due to complacency. I skipped a couple events at least worth mentioning: a classy Mint Julep at Bar Cock (yes, that was the name and it wasn't a gay bar), Museo de Reino Sofia (twice; features modern art), visit to Aranjuez (old school town with a palace very similar to Palacio Real; also features strawberries but we couldn't find any that day), a fun night out at Pacha (great club), and a visit from Dad and Melissa to Madrid where we enjoy two fun-filled packed days of walking and touring the city with rigor.

At this point, I no longer care to implement detailed stories of my happenings here in Spain that leave me short of utilizing my ever-present wit and humor into this blog entry. Consequently, I am going to list the things I will miss most about Madrid that will be sure to bring about immense amounts of nostalgia.

1.    Botellóning in the streets
2.    Buying a Beer on the side of the street at 2 am from a small Chinese man or woman for 1 euro
3.    Shotgunning beers in the street with no hesitation
4.    Maruja's cooking
5.    Pedro's ability to explain and expound upon the most rudimentary things
6.    Tapas Bars
7.    Beer and wine with lunch, dinner, and basically whenever
8.    Speaking the Language
9.    Euro Club Dance Music
10.    The Look of Ira-the dog (ears back, mouth open, appearing as if she wanted to speak, and the 'mutated' mouth/teeth/gum combo that looks like she had been shocked after biting an electrical cord-oh wait, that actually happened)
11.    Observing Public Affection on the Metro
12.    The Metro System and all forms of efficient public transportation
13.    The Pool in our living complex (that I did, in fact, go in once my last night, albeit prohibited. I am rebel without a cause [going platinum!] what can I say)
14.    Maruja doing my laundry, cleaning my room, and making my bed every day
15.    Sangria
16.    Being called/Introducing myself as Jacobo
17.    Having various nicknames created for me in lieu of my name, Jacobo (let's see if I can list them: Ják (pronounced like Hock), Cobo, Cobro, Jacobro, YaAk (elevated pitch in the middle), Jacobo Barachu, Cockobro, be continued
18.    The Maruja-isms:
a.    Ya está (that's it)
b.    Toma! (Take it, she commands with conviction and assertion)
c.    Coge un bon-boncito (just have a little chocolate she says with slight innocence)
d.    Ehh?? (Obviously means the same, but in Spanish, it's said with a greater frequency for 'What?' but she always says in such a high pitch as if she heard or understood nothing that you said)
e.    Pues nada...(well, alright then)
f.    Yogúr-the manner in which she said Yogurt literally cracked me up every time she said it following a meal. As such, it has easily become my favorite word in the Spanish language in terms of pronunciation)
g.    Juaaagggnnnnggg-yes, she calls Jon, my roommate, as if she is an Asian Pop Singer singing about a failed relationship with a man named Juannnnnnn)
h.    Madria mia...literally, every time something moderately upsetting, dramatic, excessive, alarming, exciting, every clip on the news...Madre Mia...)
i.    Achych!
j.    Echate más-Take more! No matter how much food we had, we always had to take more or else she'd give us the look like, "Are you crazy? How could you possibly not want to eat more of my food? It's delicious! Don't be ridiculous!")
19.    Parque de El Buen Retiro-my favorite place in Madrid
20.    Spanish women-their style, swagger, sass and sexiness
21.    Working out to Spanish radio stations-Máxima FM!
22.    Bizarro Hunting
23.    Finding Jacobo bizzarros since everyone in Europe looks like me
24.    Easy classes
25.    The crisp cash of the Euro. Thinner, easier to fit in the wallet

Although you see I will miss many things about Madrid, I also feel perfectly comfortable leaving behind some things. Here's what I wont miss about Madrid:

1. Jamón. HAM.
2. Ira's barking at annoying hours and times whenever someone comes to the door or rings the doorbell
3. Expensive drink prices (especially in clubs)
4. Dog shit all over the place
5. Misplaced or excessive piercings on girls (most notably lower left facial area)
6. Euro Mullet - shaved head on top, dread locks in the back. Absolutely repulsive...kind of like this:

I can't really think of too many more at the moment, but that should do for now.

I am actually on my way to Chicago now, and I think I have developed a few last thoughts. Someone asked me how my abroad experience might have changed me. In essence, I guess you could say that it helped me develop a better perspective about life outside of the United States-the discrepancies in culture, family life, linguistic value, the socioeconomic strata, education, etc; However, it goes further than that. Although I only experienced 3 other countries for a brief period of time (Netherlands, Portugal, London), I can now further appreciate the nuances of this world, and the uniqueness that every culture and its people exude on a day-to-day basis.

At this juncture, I very satisfied with the level to which my Spanish has progressed. But I cannot stop here. I need to find a way to continue my skills this summer and onto my coursework next semester back at school. But in reality, I do not think I can stop learning Spanish until I am certified bilingual (perhaps via a fluency test). Consequently, I believe a return to Spain (or a new adventure to a country in South America) is absolutely essential. Thus, perhaps in a year or so, we will see The Return of Las Aventuras de Jacobo on the near horizon.

I want to thank all those who have kept up with the blog. Hopefully my writing has catered to most of you and you all took some enjoyment out of it as well. With that, I bid you farewell as I embark a new journey in Chicago for the summer of 2009.


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