Well I cannot believe it had been two months since I landed back in Madrid, and I have only just last night unpacked my belongings into my own cosy apartment in Malasaña. I feel like I haven’t stopped moving in two months and as much as it has [mostly] been a lot of fun, the relief I feel now I have a bed to call my own is delightful…
After gaining a Helper position at a Hostel, my life felt like it went full speed ahead. I wasn’t working many hours, but I’d be hanging out all day long with guests and of course of partied quite a bit. I was living a totally different life on a street I had passed through a hundred times, in an area I thought I knew quite well. Every day I’d meet new people from around the world, and every week it felt as if I’d made a whole new bunch of friends. At the same time I was still connected to my old life as I went to teach my students from the year before, and visited my host family on a weekly basis. However, all but one of my friends had left the city. Saying hello and goodbye to awesome people everyday, and having no one close nearby put me in a weirdly vulnerable position. I was alone in a city I’d made my home, putting a lot of faith and trust in absolute strangers.
I was a bundle of emotions and thoughts, but it certainly was not a bad thing. As I sat twiddling my thumbs waiting to hear back from the Comunidad de Madrid about a job as an Auxiliar, all was well. However, after I simultaneously moved from a private room to a shared dorm and started working 3 jobs, it all became a little too much.
The month of October 2015 taught me a valuable lesson – sleep is fucking precious and I am not a nice person without it. I was hella grumpy, and my usual patient self got lost somewhere between my hour commute to work and my 2am bed time. Living in a hostel meant privacy was no longer a luxury I had time or space to enjoy. I was trying to live a normal life working in a school, but coming home to constant pressure to party and socialise with everyone around me. Drunk Germans falling on my bed and a roommate with sleep apnea eradicated my ability to get a good night´s sleep.
I was working 52 hours, Monday through to Sunday. The most frustrating part was that the real extent of my workload was out of sight and out of mind. Each workplace would only see me for the hours that I was there, and would just seem slightly bemused when they saw bags under my eyes, or (after a full morning cleaning) saw me packing my backpack to then travel for one hour just to teach a private class. So, for example, when the full-time cleaner made a comment about how I´d forgotten to put away the mop bucket and rubbish after my cleaning shift (because I had to then spend 10 hours voluntarily painting guests faces for Halloween), I sure as hell wanted to scream!
Thankfully, aside from a few trips into a locked cupboard to take a breather or two, I kept my cool and powered through the exhaustion, and it was well worth the wait. I ended up moving into the receptionist´s apartment and now have my own beautiful room in the best barrio in Madrid, for significantly less than the usual rent price. Had I not stuck around, I may not have been so lucky.
I´m still a busy bee, but now have a few evenings and one day off a week to pursue my interests and chill
the fuck out. Every week I discover a new corner of the city I’ve never been before, and every week I fall in love with Madrid even more. I’m excited to be able to have time to pursue my passions and try out new hobbies. This city is la mierda, and as slowly piece together my return to South America next year, I can’t help but feel almost homesick at the thought of saying my final goodbyes!