I am reporting to you live from the South of the good ol’ USA. If this is your first time here, allow me to give you a recap.
“De Compras in Madrid” is a blog that offers an insight to the Spanish culture through the art of shopping. It is my hope to take you to the streets of Madrid without leaving your home, or encourage you to leave your home and go shopping if you live in Madrid. The information is gathered throughout my 2 years of living in Madrid and is analyzed by yours truly, a 23-year-old self-proclaimed avid shopper.
But before going on a shopping spree in Madrid, I was on the other side of the counter. To save for my summer study abroad program (and later, a Master’s Degree), I worked part-time in a department store while attending classes full-time. My title…
Welcome to my 2nd post! Before getting lost into the world of fashion, I’d like to present some beauty products to live for in Spain. While some brands will sound familiar due to their global presence, others are exclusively available in the EU and/or Spain. So, please, take advantage of your location and swing by your local Primor or Juteco and let my spirit be with you. Keep in mind that I am not sponsored in anyway, just here to spread the words. These products (found in Spain but not all are made in Spain) saved my life and helped transform me from an insecure college girl into a presentable, happy-go-lucky intern in Madrid. Without further ado, here is a list of my treasure:
The truth is I´m not the best writer that I can be. I feel like I need to go back and take some basic writing classes and read more. After all this time, I´m still struggling to find the right words to convey my thoughts and emotions. So much for a cum laude graduate.
In the my whirlwind of problems, who would think a mere memory and what it could have been would continue to haunt me, and worse yet, affect my concentration to deal with the actual problems right in front of me.
Yes, guy problems.
Like I previously said in an older post, I met someone that I fell for in a ridiculously short amount of time. I wanted to make it work knowing full well that it wouldn´t. Somehow I managed to build on from his words uttered drunk. The idea of ¨long distant¨ relationship had gone from a absurdity to a possibility.
But bro sobered up, went home, and insisted on being friends.
I´m sorry but I won´t be able to watch him get back with his ex. That is just offensive to me and all women he had come across after the ¨breakup¨. A la mierda la amistad.
The cold treatment is what I get for overlooking his looks and him not telling me that he is a FATHER of a little girl, who, according to a recent post, has just turned 4.
There is just no place and time for me to be in his life. Not because I don´t want to, but he doesn´t make room. And he shouldn´t.
What´s disgusting is the fact that I had been reduced to think that I´m not worth it – not worth the time, the effort, a second thought. No one, NO ONE, should ever be made to feel this way.
While I am grateful of having the chance to meet him and have a nice time, I´m afraid I have to be the decisive one and retreat silently. He is doing just fine, marvelous – actually. He is at the top of the game professionally and personally. It´s time for me to borrow his words: ¨I wish you the best¨.
But now I´m gone – like the breeze that brought him joy in the early summer days.
A mere memory that he could forget but can never tell.
Like a song that has not been sung. A beginning that has never begun.
An existence that he will continue to seek in another one.
My tears have flown once, twice, and now thrice – but never more.
I am but a fading figure, leaving through the back door.
My interests in international relations took a literal turn while I was living in Madrid. (Typical blogger’s disclaimer alert). I am not a fan of stereotyping AT ALL and despise when people make assumptions about me based on my race and background, so I will try my best to avoid doing so in this blog. This post, of course, is biased and based solely on my experiences with a small number of men (I sure tried to research as much as possible but this is all I got, y’all). So how do I write without making careless generalizations of millions of men? Easy, I give them a name and pretend I am talking about a specific individual.
*Actual disclaimer, the name has been changed and a person described below may or may not be one actual person or a combination of people with similar traits.
Jorge el hipster
You might spot him smoking outside on the balcony of his quaint little apartment or run into him in cute coffee shops or small bookstores. He spends time in the alternative Malasaña and the hip Chueca neighborhoods. His closet maybe full of plaid shirts and tight jeans, but he loves all things vintage. He may say that he is open-minded, but never expect to see him in El Corte Inglés nor play mainstream pop/raggaeton/trap music near this guy. While his English skills may not be perfect (or near non-existent), he loves to incorporate English vocabulary into his speech. This diamond in the rough could sport a man bun or shave twice a year.
Hugo el hombre de negocios
He wears a nice silver watch on his left arm and carries his suitcase with the other. His hair is carefully styled with the “no-hair styling” look. If his outfit could be any sharper, it will literally cut you. Hugo looks like he steps out of a Massimo Dutti ad and knows where he is going. He can be seen during lunch in the Justicia, Castellana, or Castilla district (take a look here). However, you will lose sight of him during rush hour in the Santiago Bernabeu metro station among the sea of men in business wear. Luckily, black is not the only choice of color, so pay attention to the fashion-forward ones in grey and navy suits. Chances are he lives in the suburbs and only comes into the city for work. Sigh.
Tomás el tinderero (Not sure if that is an actual word but I sure made it up)
Finally, the man you have always been looking for: he is direct and honest. It will not take long for him to be upfront about what he wants (but seriously though, what is ¨cyber sex¨ anyway?). However, he will not be that way when you ask him point-blank about what he is looking for on Tinder. His response will most likely be ¨Lo que surja¨ (¨whatever comes up¨…like, really, bro?). You will see him based on his schedule. Be patient with this one, he is juggling all that he can without dropping anything to wake up his girlfriend. But when he finally makes the effort to take on you a date, he wears shorts and t-shirts…or even a tank top. Yikes.
Pedro el party animal
While he cannot particularly dance, he claims to be a lover of music. He is friends with the DJ’s and knows bouncers on a first name basis. He has a group of close friends that he will always hang out and get rowdy with in the club. He flirts by tapping you on the shoulder or bumping into you from behind. His day may start as early as midnight, but will not end until 6AM. On a 3-day weekend, he will most likely make a quick escape to Gandia or Benidorm. You will most definitely run into him in a foam party somewhere in Ibiza in the summer, if he wasn’t at Tomorrowland, that is.
Alejandro el alumno
He goes by Alex. His goal is to stay in school as long as possible. While he may or may not be a native of the city, he probably lives in a flat in Moncloa. Alex owns hoodies with American collegiate logos and many print t-shirts with ridiculous quotes that make no sense because he shops at Bershka and H&M. He could go “tapeando” in Lavapiés with his buddies if he was in a good mood, but he doesn’t mind eating in 100 Montaditos either. He enjoys his student discounts to museums nightclubs and is often seen in white, light blue, or baby pink long sleeve button-down shirts – it’s a uniform. He will claim to be studying during exam time either to avoid seeing you or lure you to come to his place. My advise is just let him study and finish school already.
Enrique el español
I avoided putting him first on the list because some readers will roll their eyes and stop reading, but we cannot leave Enrique out. While it is perfectly ok for him to criticize the government, his fútbol’s team performance, or the transportation, it doesn’t mean that it is ok for you to do the same. He thinks Spain has the best food despite the fact that he has yet to explore the endless possibility of foreign cuisines. Even though he does not go see bullfights (at least not on a regular basis), he sees it as an art that should not be prohibited. Hates FC Barcelona and makes fun of Shakira. Thinks he is smooth with the ladies but actually isn’t. Far from it.
Luís el latino
If it is anyone who is smooth with the ladies, it’s this guy. Chances are he’s Colombian or Dominican. Unlike Pedro, he knows how to approach a woman and seduce her with words (and empty promises). Soon enough, he will offer to teach you how to dance salsa or bachata. His outfit is usually not as neutral as the others’ and he may not have the best fashion sense, but his seduction game would be strong enough to blind you. He likes to build just enough trust and intimacy to make the sex great, but it doesn’t mean shit that he is genuine. If you confront him about him lying that he was single, he will call you crazy and you might believe him. My advise is run and don’t look back.
André el africano
He is from North Africa and speaks perfect Spanish and English. While your average Alvaro’s are hanging out and about (read: not approaching you first), he is not afraid to come up to you to start a convo. If he wanted to dance with you, he would ask…even though you were clearly already dancing with someone else. André does not care. If you refuse to dance or flirt with him, he may ask ¨Is it because I’m black?” with a straight face. Like Pedro, he has a lot of contacts for the nightlife.
Emmanuel the Erasmus Bae
A possible roommate of Alex, Emmanuel is spending a semester or a year in Madrid. He will use the Bear in Sol as a meeting point despite knowing that there are a thousand people there. While his apartment is somewhere in the dead center of the city, it is ridiculously tiny and he prefers to be somewhere less claustrophobic – like La Kapital, Joy Eslava, or Fabrik. Expect him to send you invitations to university parties and Erasmus events on Facebook. You will definitely meet him at language exchanges. Even though his looks could pass him for a local, the way his clothes are fitted is usually a giveaway. Spaniards generally wear clothes that fit them well (too tight by American standards) and no one is better at it than they are. Well, except for the Italians.
Brian the Bro
Someone has managed to dress worse than Emmanuel. Brian walks around in his old college t-shirts and flip flops (not going to the beach) or sneakers (not going to work out) and carries a backpack. He is studying abroad or doing a gap year teaching English, but is not ready to leave his frat ways behind. On Sundays, he will organize an NFL-watching party at his place or in some American bar. While his goal is to “meet” as many Spanish women as possible, he finds himself in the English-speaking bubble and ends up hooking up with a compatriot. While you may hear him chant “America!” ever so frequently, he frequents Irish bars and gets white-boy wasted. Just because there’s music at the bar doesn’t mean it’s for dancing, Brian. Sigh.
Ethan the Experienced Expat
Lastly, Ethan is everything Brian isn’t. He plans to never going back to America, a place that he feels lacks history and culture for his taste. He does not identify with the “basic” expat circles and has a deep appreciation of the Spanish ways…and tries too hard to fit in. He likes to correct and lectures others about Spain – his adoptive home. Because he cares not for superficiality, he doesn’t care much about his wardrobe. He prefers off-beaten path places, so don’t force him to hang out in Callao. His preferred getaway destinations include places in Asturias, Galicia, or Basque Country. If he was to go to Catalunya, he avoids Barcelona at all costs. Try catching him during his vacay’s by closing your eyes and throw a dart at a map of Spain.
And so I will end with an almost actual meme of myself.
“Who does she think she is to be starting a fashion blog?” Ayyy, my dear readers, I can hear what you are thinking. By no means, I don’t consider myself a fashion role model, neither do I consider another woman as one. True, I worship Victoria Beckham, but as much as I admire her, I […]
This blog was created with the purpose of… Umm… I’m still not really sure. While I wanted to talk about my travels, I ended up documenting my feelings and emotions more than anything, and I have been doing this the most while I wasn’t having the time of my life. Most of the time, I expose my insecurities and personal stories that I should have kept to myself. Consequently, it is best to have readers who don’t know me personally…but that’s about to change.
I want to create another blog with a clear purpose. What am I most passionate about? SHOPPING. I feel like I could give readers some insights about shopping in Spain (specifically, Madrid).
I will be copying the post from my new blog to post it on here as well 🙂 Below is a very rough draft of potential posts. Can’t wait to start on this project.
I turned on the computer with an immediate urge to open Facebook despite the fact that that isn’t the reason why I woke up this darn early.
…Right after I typed that sentence, I did go to Facebook – not due to my social media addiction but I remembered that I had to send a message because some one was concern about my safety.
Why? Hurricane Irma.
The entire state saw an impact from the storm. People were panicking like never before, especially before the storm’s arrival. The stores’ shelves were practically empty and gas stations had long lines for hours. Last time I checked on Friday (before the store came on Sunday), 40 percent of gas was gone in my town. It was apocalyptic – and it brings the worst out of people.
At times like these, you’d expect to see compassion of good Samaritans offering help or at least a mutual understanding. Instead, people were hoarding whatever food and water they could get their hands on at an necessary amount. No one had patience on the road, especially those blocking traffic in a line at a gas station. Even worse yet, looters were out there breaking into closed stores…to steal SHOES. While power was out in many places, the security camera was working just fine and there were bystanders recording their deplorable actions, so, of course, they were arrested.
All of this was going on during my 3-day lock-down. Fortunately, I was safe from harm and even had water and electricity for pretty much the whole time (except when the power went out around 3 o’clock on Saturday but it immediately came back on). Needless to say I had plenty of time to spend on Netflix, Youtube, snacking, job applications, and self-reflecting.
School has started in Spain and this year, I am not returning (thanks to the Spanish law that puts a 2-year limit on the program). As each day goes by, I am missing my old life in Madrid more and more – which is the opposite of what I was expecting.
So I woke up early…from a good dream. I was still in Spain and planning to take my mom and grandma to Granada. I was texting my girl friend to go out dancing on a Friday night. I was going for an evening stroll in Madrid. I was going to do so many great things.
In the dream, my aunt was there telling me that I had it all: I was young, beautiful, had a job and money to do as I wish and go wherever I want – which was easy to do so in Europe.
I feel like she was just a conscious part of me that had been silent about what she said but had been thinking so the whole time. And I am left more confused than ever. What do I really want in life.
I turned down an offer to work at a local embassy in Madrid (due to paperwork complications and me trying to prove a point that hell, I can leave Madrid and travel throughout Latin America – which is easier to do from Florida). I wanted to come back and find a more stable job of something that I wanted to do. Although I am passionate about education, I don’t see myself as an English teacher for the rest of my life. And yes, I wanted to work in foreign affairs – but really? Had I not been brainwashed by my own mother about how great this career would be with its benefits? Do I really wanted that path?
And so here I am – back into the squalid square known as a bedroom that is too big for its purpose.
I imagined 5 years of what I called a “solid” life: stable job, good pay with paid vacations, comfy apartment, decent neighborhood in the sunny South Florida – somewhere close to the water. But it seems like Hurricane Irma has blown this illusion away.
Instead, I am back living with my mom and returning to my part-time job that I despise. I felt like I had cut my own wings and fell down the heaven.