I’ve been in Madrid for a week, visiting friends and living my life in museums. I think most people think I’m crazy, but I really like art and architecture, so I plan my days around what museums I’m going to visit. I spent four hours in the Prado last week. I find it comforting to see the Velazquez, Goyas, El Grecos and others that I’ve seen before. I actually started to cry when I saw the original of a painting that my father had hanging above his dresser my entire life and I had memories of my great Aunt Lola, seeing some of the Goyas she used to have in her apartment in Riverdale, NY.
When I’m not at museums, I’m hanging out with friends. We eat together, I drag them to museums, we’ve gone to plays and tomorrow there’s a party.We laugh and I try my best to still be amusing in another language. I’ve lost so much vocabulary and my verbs are pretty much focused around present, past and future tenses, but thank god, I’m in a country rich with gestures, so I can make myself understood most of the time. As it is, I speak with my hands a lot anyway, so picking up on some important Spanish gestures helps. I told my friends here that one of the things I’ve noticed on this trip is that the Spaniards tend to speak with their shoulders. They hunch inward and shrug to express consternation and annoyance. It’s a very exaggerated movement and it’s comical to watch. I once saw a bus driver who was highly frustrated with traffic tap the horn, then perform this highly exaggerated shrug twice.
For a quick lesson for your next trip to Spain, take a look:
At this point, my trip is starting to wind down. I fly out to the east coast of the US in less than a week where I’ll visit family and friends before heading back to the rainy hinterlands. It is bittersweet. I miss my friends, but am going back to work uncertainty. For now, I’ll just enjoy more churros and do my best to walk off the calories.by