Some remarks and details about Madrid, my internship and the experience I have been having so far!
14.06.2010 16 °C
Here I am as you all know, in Madrid, a city which shows the perfect combination of modernity and tradition.
I have been here for more than a month!!! I cannot believe how fast time has gone by; and truthfully I feel like it’s been more than that because I have gotten used to the city and all the experience of living here. What does it feel like? It’s really hard to explain with words, but awesome would be a good one. I feel like I am in my element and the transition from Mississauga to Madrid has been smooth and reinvigorating. I missed living in a city which is full of life and absolutely magnificent. As you can see from my pictures, it is truly a beautiful place, so definitely no complaints there.
Working at the Canadian Embassy so far has been a wonderful experience. I have been keeping busy and it is really great to see the inner workings of a Canadian mission abroad and learn how I can contribute. This really is a top professional experience because it makes think, put in practice my skills and all the knowledge I learned in the classroom. The working environment is really incredible; everyone has been welcoming and helpful. One thing I really enjoy is the fact that throughout the day everyone communicates in three languages: English, French and Spanish. I think this makes my workplace really unique and truly shows the importance of respect, acceptance and appreciation. I would say that, to a certain extent, this is multiculturalism in practice.
And that is a very brief summary of my first month in Madrid.
Now for some comparisons:
Traffic: I take public transport (subway and bus) so I can certainly tell you that the traffic on the subway is sometimes really heavy and I might have to take the next one due to lack of space ;p. However, I cannot complain because the metro system is well developed and you can virtually get from one end of Madrid to another without any problems. As for the car traffic, it is usually really busy; the biggest problem drivers in the city have is that they never wait for pedestrians to cross, and not only that, they get so close to the people crossing the streets that is looks at though they are ready to hit them over. Yeah, this needs to improve... quite a lot. And finally the streets are really busy in especially on the weekends and considering how small some of them are... you can imagine that not everyone has space on the sidewalk
Compared to Toronto I think traffic is better here because people have smaller cars, but they honk like no tomorrow . However, the good thing is that there is no smog and the air is certainly not as polluted which helps. Whoever said Madrid is a polluted city was wrong because so far I have had no problems of the sort. And it is really impressive to see how often the streets are cleaned and maintained.
Food: Food is not only good, it is also cheap. I never pay more than 5 euros to buy vegetables and fruits, locally grown. Definitely yummy! Of course tapas are really amazing, however some are better than others. There is a great variety of food that can be bought from the supermarket and it is definitely fresher and more tasteful. I think food is important. Most Spaniards eat really late in the evening and it is definitely important for them to have their time for lunch and for coffee break.
Observations: People are certainly friendly here. It’s great to walk down the street or even just entering the elevator and have someone say hi to you. I feel that everyone is more relaxed and they are enjoying life as much as they can. They walk slow, they take their time and they live stress free (cannot say the same about Toronto). Despite the major economic crisis, people still go out and enjoy themselves, something which I think is sometimes lacking in our society.
Well, this is it for now. More info coming soon about my trips and about how good I am feeling here. ¡Hasta luego!