May. 22, 2007

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Well, I made it home safe and sound. The flight was long as expected but free of delay and complication, so it was good. Being in familiar surroundings does feel great, and seeing my family and friends feels even better. I have almost a week left in Georgia before I make my way back to Boca Raton. How I have missed sunny South Florida. My experience abroad was one that I will never forget. I have come to the conclusion that Spain has a crazy culture. They like to party until wee hours in the morning, close stores for siesta from 2 in the afternoon until 5, and really enjoy the essence of living. Ian Gibson once said, “I always get the feeling in Spain that something unexpected is going to happen at any moment. You never quite know what is coming.” I definitely agree with his assessment. From the Spanish fiesta to their sacred siesta, it’s a come and go as you please culture.

It’s much different than the American don’t stop until you drop work ethic. I feel like we take a lot for granted in America. For example, my senora would restrict our hot water use, and every time I left a room I had to turn the lights off. She was very conscious about little things that I don’t feel we are as concerned with in America. The cultural differences are crazy – from the time of day they eat, to the language they speak. I now have a much greater appreciation for other cultures. America is no better than Spain, it’s just different. From my experience, I feel like you tend to enjoy the customs you were raised with – at least I know I do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fall in love with something different. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to Spain, but if I did, I think I would go to Valencia for Las Fallas. It’s a huge fiesta that involves the burning of 350 massive paper mache and fiberglass sculptures (some are several stories tall and cost more that $75,000 to construct). It sounds a little crazy to me, but it’s a fiesta that one could only find in Spain. I am glad to be home, but I will miss Spain and the Spanishness that I have absorbed in the past four months.


Hello, Laura

Hey, it seems you had a great time here in Madrid. I don’t agree so much with the siesta cliché, but it’s true some people still have one (a very long one!) some days. Do you think you’ll ever come back? I suppose there aren’t very good job opportunities, compared to the US.

I have a one-month summer job in Boca Raton in July. I found your blog because I was trying to find info on Google! Could you recommend something to do there in my free time? I like sports and music. I won’t have a car, is it easy to get around by bike? I’m trying to find bike trail websites, but there doesn’t seem to be any… (?)

I’d appreciate some pointers. Thanks a lot, and good luck with your career.


Hi John!

I did have a wonderful time in Madrid, and I miss it already. Are you from Madrid? Boca Raton is beautiful, but the public transportation is not so good (at least compared to Madrid). Depending on where you are living in Boca and your proximity to the beach, you will be fine! As for sports, a lot of people swim and surf. I really don’t know anything about bike trails. I wish I could be of more help. But as for music… there’s an amphitheater located in Mizner Park. A lot of good music comes through there. I hope your experience in Boca is awesome! Let me know if you have any more questions. I’ll do my best to answer them. :)

Hey again, Laura

Thanks a lot for your answer. I’ve contacted some bike organizations and I’ve decided to rent a bike for the summer. I’ll be staying in a dorm at Lynn University, so I think I can cycle from there to the beach and to various locations. And also to Lake Worth, which seems to be an awesome spot! I will have a lot of free time, so hopefully I’ll do a lot of cycling and sightseeing. I hope the heat doesn’t kill me!

It’s great to know there’s good music around there. I’ve already checked Mizner Park on my list.

Yes, I’m born in Madrid and have lived here all my life. In case you’re curious, the summer and its heat have already arrived here. You’re lucky you left before it becomes unsufferable. Though I heard Boca Raton is even worse? Well, at least there’s the beach…

Well, thanks a bunch for all the useful info. Keep in touch if you need updates on Madrid, ok?


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