This past week has been a bit crazy. We've gone from sunny Madrid to green Scotland, from our own apartment with our busy life with jobs and friends and whatnot to living in someone else's house, and becoming a part of their family and social circle and relying on them for our daily bread. Our pace has slowed down significantly - in fact, our life is nearly unrecognizable in almost every way to the one we were leading last week at this time.
One of the more unique (and least Spanish) sights in Madrid is the Templo de Debod. It's a temple that was originally built in 200 BC in southern Egypt, and dedicated to the gods Amun and Isis. After the Spanish helped save some other Egyptian temples in 1968, the Templo de Debod was given as to Spain as a gift, and dismantled and transported to Spain in the 1970s.
When we were planning our trip to Sevilla, I knew for sure that I wanted to take a trip to Ronda. I didn't really do any research (I was busy planning our big Christmas/New Year's trip and Sevilla was kind of an afterthought, to be honest), but when we were binge-watching Rick Steves in preparation to leave for Spain back in August, he went to Ronda and I knew we had to go. Somehow, I grouped it together with Sevilla and didn't consider anywhere else. Even though our friends, our Airbnb host, and our students and their parents all gave us confused looks when we said our chosen day trip from Sevilla was Ronda, I plowed ahead.
It's hard to believe that in two days we're leaving Spain. Maybe for the spring and summer or maybe for...ever. Regardless, the majority of our time spent here wasn't gallivanting around from country to country. We were mostly in Madrid, living our lives, going about our business. In the fall (September till December) that looked a lot like taking TEFL classes, looking for English students, teaching here and there (not as much of the latter as we would have hoped), as well as taking quite a few day trips on the weekends from Madrid. In the winter (January till now), we found more clients and so we mostly filled our days with teaching.
At the end of January we took a quick (think 45 minutes) Iberia Express flight from Madrid to Sevilla for a long weekend. Whether by plane or by train (although I'd say if you can get a train deal - do it!), Sevilla is the perfect weekend getaway from Madrid. Compared to bustling Madrid, Sevilla felt peaceful and relaxing to me, although it's no village with a population of nearly 700,000. We found great food, sunshine, perfect weather (in January, no less!), a very walkable city, and a manageable amount of sites for a weekend getaway.
Making: my very last lesson plans...this is our last week of teaching as Semana Santa (Holy Week) is about to begin and most of our will students take off for their villages for an extended Easter break.
Cooking: these pulled sweet potato BBQ sandwiches and they're our favorite right now. Usually we switch things up every two weeks or so, but right now we can't quit these.
In January we decided to stop spending money from our savings, and to start living entirely from the money we were making from teaching English in Madrid. This was easier said than done, because paychecks, or rather, envelopes of cash (which is how we get paid here), come once a month rather than every couple of weeks like we're used to back in the U.S., but we decided to go for it. Part of not spending anymore out of savings meant doing so in all areas, not just with our daily expenses. The hardest area for me to let go of was travel. We decided to stay around Madrid unless we had the money to leave the city, and we haven't had that ability until the past week or so - and now it's kind of too late (we're leaving in just 11 days!).
However, it was sort of a blessing in disguise, because we've really made an effort to see Madrid in the last couple of months.