Making Madrid Mine: Is this really my life?

Rachel Chea

More stories from Rachel Chea

The Single Life
March 23, 2017

Photo by Rachel Chea

Almost every day without fail, whether it is when I wake up, go to school, stroll around Madrid, go to the grocery store, go shopping or even go to sleep, one thought always pops into my head: Is this really my life?

Since freshman year, and maybe even before that, I knew I wanted to study abroad and I knew it had to be Spain. As the years turned into months, and the months turned into days, it never truly hit me that soon, I would be spending a semester studying in Madrid.

Of course I received subtle reminders of this reality. For example, when I was approved to study abroad last spring, when I packed up my room in Foery and especially when I said a tearful goodbye to all of my friends; some of whom are graduating in May, who I may never see again [or at least for a while.] However, it all still seemed like a dream.  Even as I was packing my suitcase at home, saying goodbye to my family, and embarking on my more than 10 hour journey here.

I have been here for a total of six weeks so far, and somehow I’m still in awe that I’m living a life I had been dreaming about for so long. To be able to have this opportunity to study in a new and exciting place, to meet new people, and experience new things every day (good or bad), is a blessing. Every day, no matter how mundane, stressful or frustrating, is a new adventure and I never cease to learn something new.

There are days and moments though, when it dawns on me that I’m in Madrid, living life and [unfortunately] going to school. These moments range from the most obvious, such as hearing everyone around me speak in Spanish, to walking or taking the metro everywhere I go, to having to be conscious of the time-difference when I want to speak to my family and friends.

Although I have had many exciting and incredible experiences so far, part of me thinks that the reality of it all hasn’t completely struck me, because I haven’t had that one pivotal moment or experience yet. Then again, this feeling may never go away; who knows. But, until May, this is my life and I plan to milk this experience for everything it has to offer me: the good, the bad, the happy and the sad.