Yesterday, I did not have any sort of agenda and just decided to explore the beautiful city of Madrid. I was in good company with my roommate and two girls she introduced me to the first weekend I arrived. We initially were in search of some Moroccan tea houses, but failed to find any, so we decided to head to Sol and walk around. I somehow navigated everyone in the right direction (I mean I had to ask two people, but hey, I still did it). Our walking around did not last long as we stumbled across an adorable little shop and I ended up with two pieces of clothing. I mean, I know I do not need more clothes, but I could not resist. The girls I was with did not help me as they convinced me to buy them. I returned the favor by convincing one of the girls to buy two pairs of shoes. I only did it because they were really cute and sometimes it is necessary to indulge and treat yourself. After, two of the girls were exhausted and decided to head home early. So, one of the girls (the one with two new pairs of shoes thanks to me) and I decided to walk around in search of a snack. I had a craving for some gelato and walked into the first place that I saw. We sat and while I enjoyed my chocolate gelato on a cone, we just talked. At one point, I looked at the TV screen playing music videos and there was this beautiful girl singing a song I have not heard yet. It is "Youthful" by Foxes, which I have linked below. Take a listen, it's good.
♫♪ Foxes-Youthful ♫♪
My friend and I continued to get to know each other. We talked about some serious things and some other not so serious things. She opened up to me and told me about her past and her hopes for her time here in Madrid. It was starting to get late and I had to make it home in time for dinner. We parted ways and on my way home via Metro, I thought a lot about the importance of sharing stories. Stories link us from person to person as they are a part of us we have trusted another person with. I have actually been thinking about this a lot because I have had some really great conversations recently. For example, with my home stay mom. I have mentioned her before and she is not so much a mother as a grandmother. She is probably around her 70s or 80s. She has four older children, all married with families of their own. She lives alone, with Nana of course, and has opened her home to students studying abroad since 1998. Initially, it made me sad to think about her alone at home while my roommate and I were at class or out for the weekend. She stays at home all day and only travels to the closest grocery stores due to her bad knee. All three of us have already set up a routine, as she spends most nights watching TV and days cleaning or organizing her home. Due to her limited hearing, she has special ear phones she uses to hear the TV better. Before I go to bed, I love seeing her sitting in her nightgown with her slippers and her giant earphones. Anyways, I no longer feel sad when I think of my home stay mom alone at home. The stories she has shared with me has changed my mind completely. She has seen a lot of the world, she has traveled to Italy, France, Switzerland, different parts of Spain, Mexico, New York City, New Orleans, and so many more places. Over the last fifteen years, she has made some really great memories with students and has little souvenirs around her home they have brought her and from her own travels. She even kept a note one of the students wrote her. She loves history and art museums, having visited all the museums in Madrid. When she tells me all these stories from her past, I keep thinking to myself, wow, she has lived a great life. She has taken advantage of her surroundings and traveled far and close. She has opened her home to strangers. I would have never known any of these things about her if I only was going off her life at home. Her stories have opened my heart and mind.
I hope I can look back on my life and share stories like these with others. Even at the age of twenty, I have heard some some amazing stories from those younger and older than me. I feel blessed that others have trusted me with their past and their hopes for their future. Through each story, I am realizing how young I actually am. I mean, I did just enter my twenties a couple of months ago...I am feeling very youthful right now. The reason I am in Madrid is to travel and experience new things, so that is exactly what I am going to do. Inspired by Foxes song, I will end with this:
"Don't tell me our youth is running out, it's only just begun"