Welcome home.

I’m sure you were all assuming I wasn’t homeless here in Madrid anymore. Excellent assumption, I’m not! (thank god). Here are the new digs and the story of how I found this incredible place.

IMG_6750 IMG_6748  IMG_6751

If you, like me, browse AirBnb while daydreaming then you also know how crazy and depressing it can be to realize that your apartment is a piece of s#*! in comparison to what you’re looking at. A significant portion of the listings are jaw-droppingly well located and something only an amateur interior designer could dream up. Coming back I decided to book one of these places while looking for something more permanent. The one I found was well-priced, clean looking and basically 100 meters from my old place (that’s about football field’s length for you yankees 😉 Not to mention this host seemed sane – all systems go! Once I made it here I immediately got to looking for other places in the meanwhile getting to know my new host and chatting with her about the apartment hunt. Living in a building last year that was about two steps removed from a cardboard box taught me a little lesson in quality of life versus money spent – this year I was willing to pay a little bit more for things like, heat and hot water to name a few. My second day in the place I was having coffee with my host and she told me her old roommate wasn’t coming back and offered me the room for the year. Seriously???! Yes. Yes. The apartment as you can see in the pics is pretty killer there was no doubt in my mind once I knew it was available and in my price range. We have two cats, two terraces and my new roommate is very low-key. Best of all she said the kitchen is all mine… Read: food posts.

IMG_6752

Advertisements

Champagne!

I knew on this Paris trip I would need an escape from the city so I booked an airbnb in a small town called Dormans in the Champagne-Ardenne region. This place was stunning and on top of being a great little retreat it was crush season so the valley is buzzing with harvesters! I walked across the Marne to an even smaller little town and was stopped multiple times by caravans of gypsy families asking if I needed a ride to go cut grapes…I politely declined but totally tasted some grapes off the vines on the way. Oops 🍇 This side trip was for nothing other than relaxation and I ended up drinking tons of champagne and speaking a lot of french.

IMG_6650

Blogging like a pro

Blogging like a pro

My last day I went to Disneyland Paris. JUST KIDDING! Hehe but I did end up finding the second best, E. Dehillerin, the cooking supply store of my dreams and also made me wish I had more money. Paris made me a better window shopper.

Pistachio escargo from du pan et des idées. outrageous

Pistachio escargo from du pan et des idées. outrageous

IMG_6706

Live from Paris

Before I left for Spain I saw some tickets to a Beyoncé + Jay Z concert in Paris that were reasonably priced and reasonably far away from Madrid. My friend Leo from Portland tagged along with me and we made it a long weekend. Nicki Minaj made a surprise appearance at the concert so now my life is complete and on top of that I seem to get along well with Parisienne people (it’s all about confidence I think, I shouldn’t have doubted my French!) The best advice I received about this city was to have no plans; Leo and I spent all day walking from our apartment to the Eiffel Tower, stopping for steak-frites and a bottle of wine en route and discovering lots of little shops and cafés. On the way home as night fell we found a little bar near the canal with a bar tender who’s dad was, from all places California…close enough to Oregon for free limoncello he thought. Next up, I leave Leo and go hiking in the Marne Valley. Stay tuned 😉

La Rotonde: electronic music and sculpture garden bar...don't get more hip than this

La Rotonde: electronic music and sculpture garden bar…don’t get more hip than this

The bathroom at La Rotonde

The bathroom at La Rotonde

Figs, Camembert and bread

Figs, Camembert and bread

Etsuko Kobayashi's studio in the 3rd arrondissement, she's part of an artists cooperative that provides free studio space in the city

Etsuko Kobayashi’s studio in the 3rd arrondissement, she’s part of an artists cooperative that provides free studio space in the city

da Cruz graffiti artist, one of the Parisienne originals

da Cruz graffiti artist, one of the Parisienne originals

Yoncé + Jay: On the Run Tour http://youtu.be/lNcJg5svv9A

Yoncé + Jay: On the Run Tour
http://youtu.be/lNcJg5svv9A

image

Lets talk colonialsm.

I’ve returned to Europe, kicking off the school year and hoping it cools down a little bit – and already I’ve had two nosebleeds because of the dryness. Need to hydrate!

Okay so I’ve been thinking about how to breach this somewhat cloudy subject on my blog for a while. While I know this is the tip of the iceberg I hope its clear and inspires questions/convo for you!

A friend of mine from back home gave me a book for the journey called American Nations, I thought it would be slow since it’s an historical recounting of how the States were settled. Girl was I wrong! I got so wrapped up in this book that I still can’t manage to put it down. I even started reading it slower so I can enjoy it longer. Flipping through this on my way to Madrid got me thinking about how much of a foreigner I can feel sometimes in Spain. I’m here not only to improve my Spanish but also to learn the culture and, honestly, assimilate in a way. As open as I try to be with values and traditions here there are still hiccups. Some of them are easier than others to understand but a few really ruffle my feathers. One of them is inheritance. This concept is totally pervasive in Spanish culture – you are what you’re parents were. If your parents came from South America then you will always be the South American, which most definitely presents barriers to opportunities and employment here. Do your parents/grandparents own a house? It’s yours when they die. No taxes, no payments. The laws make it very easy to pass generational wealth. Maybe you’re thinking Parents paying for their kids? This happens in the US all the time! Yeah, it does I know it does but here it’s standard. In the same way families are very close and extremely generous with each other. Spanish people think its sad that we move out before were 35. (I happen to think were sane!)

So this is a hiccup. For whatever reason it’s a major one for me here. I have a lot of idealism in this category and think that people can be whatever they want to be if they try (and are circumstantially empowered). Being your own maker if you will. The book I’m reading says that’s because I’m from the West Coast. It also posits that the places in the US where we find hardcore traditionalism, where social hierarchies are felt and reinforced are thanks to the Spanish colonizers. Heavy.

I want to know what you think. Where are you from? How do you define social mobility?