A lil wisdom goes a long way…

It’s been a long year full of ups and downs. I’ve learned a lot and wanted to share a little wisdom (the little I possess). These are obviously based on my personal experiences so some may be oddly specific and others might just apply to your life! This is my last post from Madrid as I will be on a plane to the U.S. tomorrow! Thanks for keeping up with my journey. I’ve enjoyed sharing my pictures and experiences with you all and am happy with the positive feedback I’ve gotten. I think this has been a great way to keep everyone informed, and it helped me feel like I wasn’t so far from home. I will hopefully see you all soon!

  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Your progress is yours alone, and there will always be someone doing better or worse than you.
  • You’re going to make a lot of mistakes. This doesn’t mean you’re stupid.
  • But when in doubt, play stupid because the Spanish bureaucracy lives to make life difficult.
  • Trust your gut, keep your purse close, and keep your metro pass in the same spot.
  • You’re likely overthinking others’ perceptions of you. You don’t stick out as much as you think.
  • If you’re not into dry red wine, tinto de verano is the best thing to happen to you.
  • There may be no free refills or chips at the table, but at least alcohol is cheap.
  • If it smells like tuna, then it’s probably tuna. AVOID.
  • Spanish people will say they have the best food in the world. You will try not to roll your eyes too much.
  • Washing machines are slow and everything must air dry. Plan accordingly so you have pants to wear.
  • Reusable water bottles are basically nonexistent here so you probably should have packed your own.
  • Spaniards (and a lot of Europeans) dress for the season, not the weather. So yes, everyone is wearing pants because it’s still Spring even though it’s 90+ degrees out.
  • Yes, everyone walks slowly here. No, you will never get around that old couple.
  • Almost always take the metro over a taxi. Better make use of that metro pass you pay for every month.
  • Don’t hesitate to take that seat on the metro. As soon as you do, it’s gone.
  • Sometimes you might get stuck in apartment complexes. Just search every inch of the walls for the button to open the door out or worst case scenario, wait for someone to come in (not that this happened to me or anything…).
  • Someone calling you “guapa” (hot, attractive, beautiful) is more a term of endearment than derogatory, but it will still make you feel kinda weird.
  • Dos besos is the standard greeting, and it will happen A LOT. So get used to it even if you hate it.
  • You will never be carded, and it will become so normal that you’ll probably go back to the U.S. and be grumpy about getting carded.
  • Yes, that old lady is staring at you. And she will continue to.
  • Children are brutally honest but that makes it all the better when they say you are beautiful.
  • If a student is being pouty about his coloring page, take it away from him. Suddenly, he will really like it.
  • No one will ever understand you when you say the name of the town you teach in. American accent + Arabic word in origin = incomprehensible.
  • Go to an intercambio. You’ll feel much better about your Spanish and much more accepted in the community.
  • You might get told you speak like a Mexican. Which is perfectly fine! You don’t have to adopt the Spanish way of speaking, especially if you’re going back to the U.S.
  • You’ll always pack too much.
  • But eventually you’ll care less and less about your belongings the more you have to survive on a backpack’s worth of stuff for a trip.
  • You have a better sense of direction than you think. (Or if you don’t, find someone who does.)
  • Advice to college graduates: Don’t think that you have to land your perfect job your first try. It doesn’t even have to be what you think you’re going for. Try something new or something you’ve been wondering about just to see. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but trying something will get rid of those doubts and “what ifs.” If it turns out good, great! If not, no big deal. Now you have some more guidance about what you really want to be doing.
  • You really do have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. If you’re like me, the unknown is uncomfortable, and there will be a lot of it coming at you.
  • You can keep a blog running of your travels! And it’s really not that difficult.
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5 thoughts on “A lil wisdom goes a long way…

  1. dcmason83 says:

    Nice summary of your Madrid/European experience! I (and many others) have loved reading your blog over these past months. I have enjoyed seeing the world through your eyes; I’m so happy you’ve been able to travel to so many interesting places. It was wonderful being able to come visit you in Madrid and get to see where you have been living and learning — you were an awesome tour guide! Thank you for showing us around, translating for us and giving us a taste of Madrid. I am so proud of you for taking this risk to “get comfortable being uncomfortable” and admire your bravery. It’s a wonderful thing to see the world outside of your comfort zone; the experience alone sheds new light on everything. But that’s why it’s called a comfort zone — the truth is “There’s no place like home” Now click your glittery, ruby red heels three times and come home — we’ll be waiting for you! Safe travels!

    ❀ you, Mom

    Like

  2. Dad says:

    Lauren,

    I have really enjoyed your blog, and appreciate how much you put into it. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow night!

    Dad

    Like

  3. Aunt Donna says:

    Lauren,
    We have really enjoyed reading your blog and it has helped us all feel closer to you…..closer than Madrid for sure! You are a very adventuresome young lady and I know your mom & dad can’t wait for you to be back home. Just remember, like your mom said, “there’s no place like home”….but you’re not in Kansas anymore! 😎 Welcome back to the USAπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

    Like

  4. Gail Pearson says:

    While it’s true taking away a kid’s coloring page will make him or her pout, I’ve found taking away their test will not. πŸ™‚

    Like

  5. Julie says:

    I had no idea you had posted this blog. Thanks so much for spending time with the “Mason” side of your family. I enjoyed hearing about your travels, both through your blog and in person! I hope you will continue your blog and discuss your travels in the U.S. (California to St. Louis to Columbia to New York) and about your transition to a California girl!

    Like

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