Everybody knows that when you study abroad you are bound to have plenty of adventures. Whether you go out a lot or a little you WILL have adventures! My only input on this is that the number of adventures you have depends on how willing you are to do things. In order to combat this a few friends of mine from UC Irvine came up with the slogan YOMO – “You’re Only in Madrid Once”. Before someone asks, no, Rome was not ‘ROMO’. Rome was “When in Rome”.
No matter the city we were in, adventure was calling, and you cannot send that call to voicemail! Though our main purpose for coming out here is to study and work, we cannot just stress ourselves out with our duties. As I have said before, you play as hard as you work and you work before you play. If you don’t apply this methodology to your study abroad then you my friend are in for a very rough ride!
Everyone has a different level of adventures. Some people are perfectly fine with just reading a taking a different route home than they normally do. Others require something more daring such as flying to Morocco and riding a camel. Whatever the case may be, as long as you are safe and not doing illegal things you won’t regret the experience. Even if you didn’t enjoy the experience at least it will make a heck of a story when you get back to the states.
Some of my favorite parts of adventures I go on are going back to the apartment. Since the Metro system stops operating at a certain hour you are sometimes more or less forced to take a taxi home; this is where things get interesting. Every taxi I have ever gotten into I have always greeted the driver and asked him a few small talk questions so I can get a conversation going. Normally it always starts off the same. I ask him for his name, where he’s from, and how he is doing, but after that it is the cab driver that starts asking the questions. After his initial small talk questions and my rather entertaining answers I wait a few seconds. After this awkward 8.7 – 19 seconds is when they ‘break’. The driver seems almost compelled to tell me all these wonderful stories that they have been waiting to share with someone who is willing to lend an ear, and let me tell you these are some of the most amazing stories I have ever heard!
The really cool part about their stories is that more often than not, taxi drivers tend to be what I like to call ‘once foreigners’. I have met Cubans, Peruvians, Ecuadorians, Chileans, Italians, and even Americans who for one reason or another ended up working as a cab driver in Madrid. I would share some of their stories, but my story telling skills cannot begin to compare to theirs. They have a way of smooshing their entire life story into the most amazing 8.7 minutes of your life!
This post goes out in honor of all the cab drivers who have been through all their struggles and yet they keep on hustling day in and day out (in some cases night in and night out).
You do you!