Why am I here? Or, better put, why am I here again? For those of you who know I spent a semester studying and working in Madrid a few years ago, you might be wondering if I’ve moved back here to re-capture the days of my youth, to relive the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is study abroad, to try to re-piece together what I left behind over two years ago. “It won’t be the same,” you say. I know; that’s not why I’m here. Let’s get one thing straight right now: I didn’t come back here to re-live my life. I came here to live my life.
I am not exactly who I was two years ago. I won’t go as far as saying I’m a totally different person, but I’ve changed and grown the amount that you can expect pretty much any person to change and grow between the ages of 20 and 23, which I think is quite a lot. And I’m not in the same place, despite the fact that I am, geographically, in the same place.
FACT: Madrid, Spain is located just 0 miles (0 km) from Madrid, Spain.
But you still might be wondering why I chose Madrid again; why I chose to revisit a place where I have so many memories, rather than choose a new place, or stay in Santiago, or in Chicago.
Even I might be wondering, at times, why I’m here: Why I turned down a job at a company I loved working for, why I left my friends in Florida, then Chicago, then Chile, why I moved further away from my family, why I put an ocean between me and my boyfriend, why I packed all my things into two suitcases (the only thing I hate more than packing is suitcases!) and came all the way back to Madrid, where there was nothing waiting for me except a long list of to-do’s in order to resume my life here and a part-time job as an English teaching assistant at an elementary school, which is not what I want to dedicate my life to. Simply put, last time I was in Madrid, I sort of fell in love. Yes, slightly with the food (a moment on your lips, forever on your hips), slightly with a guy (long over), but most most mostly with this city and what it did to me. As Golda from Fiddler on the Roof once said, “Maybe it’s indigestion.” Maybe it is. I have, after all, been prescribed omeprazole by 3 different doctors in 2 different countries. But if not, it must be love.
Coming to Madrid last time changed my life. I got here, turned around and I happened upon the best study abroad friends in the world, and I happened upon an internship at a music distribution company that would change the course of my career, and I happened upon the version of myself I always knew I could be but the context of my life never quite drew out. I am myself many places, but I grew into myself in Madrid.
A very wise lady called My Mom always says, “You are where you’re supposed to be.” It’s easy for me to feel that I’ve somehow tinkered with the Big Plan, messed with the gods, disturbed the natural pull of the universe by choosing to leave “there” and come “here.” Maybe I’ve thrown everything off base, off balance, and who knows when the consequences will come. (But then, aren’t we living the consequences of our choices right now?) It’s easy to feel that I’m not attached to anything here, that I’m missing out on so many things elsewhere, but something made me want to come back here and I’m not one to ignore “something.” For some reason, somehow, I’m here now and dammit if I don’t feel that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.