Our story could start in an attic studio in central Madrid. I am sitting at the kitchen table with my Greek-German-Spanish friend. Lets call her “the historian”. I am sipping the greek coffee, and eating the traditional spanish sandwich with jamon and cheese she just prepared for me. The historian is a perfect host. Her greek mother raised her well. We share moms with very similar mentalities. It is rainy and chilly outside but I don’t care. I am feeling happy because we are catching up on our lives and looking at the architectural beauty of Madrid through the skylight windows that surround this little piece of home, the historian created for herself.
My 24 hours in Madrid were so wonderful that I felt that old energy that comes from new discoveries and time well spent with friends, come back to me once again. The historian has lived in Madrid for the past 5 years and she knows the city probably better than most locals. She took me on a walk through the old streets of the city center, explaining the history and cultural anecdotes about the places we passed by. Her Madrid had all those little things that I like. Historical buildings, beautiful balconies with greenery, cute coffee shops, local bars, foreign flavored bars, little pots and plants in people’s windows, ancient carved doors (a personal favorite of the historian that I learned to appreciate as well), a local market where I could buy some cheap cool jewelry (damage of 10 euros for 3 pieces) and a small community rose garden where people come on weekends to have a snack while reading their newspapers.
A lunch of local deliciousness (some more good cheese, ham and vegetables) with a glass of red wine (2!! euros, this country is incredible) made perfect sense to be had at 6 pm. It gave us some hours to relax before we hit the bar scene once again at 11 pm, to meet another friend I haven’t seen for a while. Some more delicious snacks were had by your truly and co. and washed down with a few glasses of chilled Cruzcampo tap beer. I liked the lively atmosphere at the bars we went to, where people of various nationalities and ages were commonly untied by a good time with friends. This is what life should be about.
A mojito then had to be consumed at bar number 3. Our jolly old time continued as we were people-watching (is the aging couple in advanced PDA mode across from us a client with a prostitute, or just a normal couple on a first date?) and discussing the differences between Brazil and Portugal portuguese as well as Spanish (which I consistently kept butchering). It was suddenly 3am when, our loyal historian responsibly reminded us that I have to catch my flight the following morning. We headed home, once again through those magical alleys, dotted with lit bar windows, through which the livelihood of the city were to continue to sparkle until the early morning hours.
In my deja-vu moment the following morning, as I was once again eating my spanish sandwich and drinking the historian’s aromatic coffee, I felt so grateful for two best interrelated types of assets I have in life: my friends and my memories of the times I spent with them.
Awesomeness is when a russian-israeli-american girl can find so much in common with a greek-german-spanish girl, despite having a completely different life experiences, circumstances and plans. This simply has to become the basis for a plot of a great story.
Update: I also got the tip of the year from the Historian – Put a reminder on your phone, to repeat the same question that you have to answer at the end of every day: “What made me happy today?”.