Life presents a plethora of challenges no matter where you go and Madrid is no exception. My four month internship flew by in a flash and during that time, I was always hoping to let joy become second nature and characteristic of every experience and moment. However, I have come to find that this is not always possible.
One of the main hardships to endure is realizing that nothing lasts. With the Intern Group, people are coming and going every month so even the friends you make are fleeting. This engenders loneliness to an extent, which I found to be a continuous struggle after university. It makes it remarkable to be fully charged every tomorrow when you awaken with a mind full of sorrow.
Focusing on work is an alternative but even that comes with its own burden, as the sheer amount of brain power entailed to sort through hundreds of pages of legal cases for instance does take it out of you. You lose the time and energy to do all it is you want to, such as seeking enlightenment through meditation and reading to conquer ignorance, as well as going to the gym and playing guitar. So suffice it to say, sacrifices have to be made despite the length of the day. The heat certainly doesn’t help, especially in a suit! At least, I don’t wear a three piece… Still though, no air conditioning in our abodes tested our resolve, as it is arduous to feel carefree and delight in being alive when you’re sweating from places you didn’t know you could perspire from.
Interestingly, one’s values come under self scrutiny almost on a daily basis, as those in need on the street plead to you for help during lunch. It makes you think about whether it’s every man for himself or whether a society is as strong as its weakest link. This kind of overthinking is a trait of mine that tends to create anxiety, but also ideas – you just hope they are a positive contribution to the bank of thoughts running through your mind. (Constantly supervising what I’m surmising…)
Another thing I tend to ponder regularly is whether this is what I am destined to do – an existential question that plagues me. Also, falling into a routine tends to kill spontaneity, which exacerbates my addiction to nicotine I think. The Romans believe that we breathe our thoughts. So in the future I would like to stop smoking too much and be more health focused.
I did pick up some Spanish in my time here, however it is still difficult to comprehend everything when someone talks fast. So my proficiency remains limited unfortunately. Although, it is quite funny when things get lost in translation.
Having spent a third of a year in Spain, it came to feel like home. It will be tough to leave behind. However, it is even tougher knowing you will always be an outsider. Nonetheless, I am truly grateful for this journey.