Segunda Entre

Nicholas Newman

Universidad de Burgos, Spain

Major: Psychology: Behavioral Science

It was a long week.

Arriving in Madrid was an experience and I had two days in which I was able to explore the city and meet people along the way. The city itself is very much alive, the steady flow of people from the airport into an array of intricate streets (which seems to multiply by the thousands each day) symbolizes a ventricular exchange that breathes life and experience into its being. I found myself lost for some time, hopeless and worried my first day would be a constant series of unfortunate events, however, quite fortunately, it was not.

The bed was good and tough, not in an uncomfortable sense, it was supportive, and my body was in need of consoling, and I just wanted to sleep. 23 hours from the first beginning my trip I found myself alive and ready, it was time to go to the area named La Latina, join the party persay, and yes, there was a party. The Day of the Virgen de la Paloma or more commonly known a “Paloma” is a holiday in Spain, falling conveniently on a Saturday this year, where prayer and vigils occur during the day a parade happens at night and thereafter festivities commence where the city is experiencing an extreme influx of people till almost 5 a.m. At this point, if you are Catholic, you may find yourself wanting to confess the sins of the long night, and in the spirit of properly paying homage, pray the rosary to the Virgin Mary.

Day two was more about seeing the sites: I saw a palace in its greatness, called Palacio Real, where the King of Spain lives, I also saw a free museum named Reina Sofia, which contained many of Salvador Dali’s works and finally I saw the city outside of the hectic nightlife in the stereotypical sense, and I talked freely with an incredible Finnish man who housed me for my final night in Madrid.

I was up late and awoke early Monday morning. I was definitely late for the bus, but at this point I was too tired to care. On the ride to Burgos I met the people I would stay with. When I arrived to the house I was tired. I was more than tired, I was spent, and there was nothing that I wanted more than to sleep…this unfortunately was not an option, I needed a phone. So, one hour after arriving in Burgos on the bus, setting my suitcase in my room and barely meeting my mother with a half-hearted sense of gratitude, I was off to the center of town. The trip seemed to go on for some time and after the deed was done we all decided to meet the next day in front of some statue I didn’t care about at some absurd time I tried to forget. The night after was filled with sleep and dreams of a new tomorrow, one without cell phones and buses, without early mornings and agendas, a world where I woke when I woke and the rest was an adventure.

At 9 a.m. I awoke to a heavenly smell of a great breakfast being made, I knew I had arrived. The day was full of orientation, mobs of photographers and a great time with the new classmates in-between. The last part of my fourth day in Spain was filled with tying up loose ends and getting tapas with the whole class where we got to know each other now on a more intimate level as the conversations flowed.

Wednesday to Friday was a blur of classes, churches and monasteries. We visited the cathedral of Burgos, which stuck out the most in my mind because of the Gothic architecture and the intricate design of the tombs. We learned a lot about the rich history of this town and it being the home to a mercenary named Sid who was basically a god-knight with a tendency to gravitate towards bloodshed and betrayal. Outside of the curriculum, that started at 9 am and ended 7 pm, we went out at night. Thursday we danced, and made our new home aware of our existence.

Saturday I ate, and at the end of it all, independently and cohesively, we all decided sleep was a necessary sacrifice we would make in order to continue. On Sunday, August 23, 2015 that is exactly what I did, I slept. The rest of the day was filled with conversation and I began to get to know the people of my household, Pilar, my mother and her daughter Laura. We watched nothing but mindless Spanish reality T.V. and talked about my life in the states. Overall, it was a good week.

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