I’ve had a touch of writer’s block recently and have been a bit bemused as to why. Moving to Madrid just over a month ago is giving me loads of experiences that I could be writing about. It’s not everyday I up sticks and move country without so much as a backward glance. (Well, maybe there was a sneaky backwards peek!) After going back and forth for two years for weekend trips I’ve finally made the move. Yes, I’ve actually done it! So what have I been doing since I got here? And why am I not writing about anything? It’s not that I’m not doing stuff. I spent a couple of intense, exhausting, frustrating weeks house hunting. We’ve moved once and still have another two sofa surfing moves to go before the final move in December. I’ve walked around nearly every barrio in Madrid. I’ve got lost in many of them. I’ve got lost on the trains. I’ve got lost on buses. I’ve lost my inhibitions drunken dancing at 3am. I’ve met strangers who quickly became friends. I’ve spoken Spanish badly and been misunderstood, unsurprisingly. I’ve spoken Spanish quite well. And been understood, surprisingly! I’ve done touristy stuff like galleries and a walking tour of the city when I learned a little about the cruel Spanish Inquisition and Juana la Loca (not just the name of my fave restaurant then!) and the Habsburgs. I’ve been for lunches which started at 2 and finished at 8. I’ve also had days at home reading, listening to podcasts and watching Netflix when I wouldn’t step outside if there wasn’t a need to buy some more tonic to put in the fridge! I’ve done so many things but I can’t find a reason, or a way, to write about any of them.
I was talking to my new friend Kim (a new friend! Yay, I’m making friends!) about why I wasn’t writing when I was having all these new experiences and she suggested I could be suffering from new experience overload. My senses are being bombarded every time I leave the house. A light bulb went on. That’s it! There is so much whizzing around my brain there is no clarity. Nothing is normal to me. So many things are a challenge. Trying to buy a train ticket is not easy when the machine isn’t working. Trying to buy simple ingredients is baffling when the words on the packets are a mystery. Trying to recognise something familiar from my GCSE Spanish classes in a stream of babble is bewildering. I’m not moaning. I am loving the experience but my brain really hurts sometimes and this leaves little space for any creativity.
Yesterday we woke to no water in the flat and I immediately felt my stress levels rise as I realised that I may have to deal with a plumbing problem. How the hell was I supposed to do that with my pocket Collins dictionary and notoriously unreliable Google Translate?! I once asked a waitress if we had ordered too much food and said I was ’embarazada’. I got the evil eye for the rest of the night as I drank copious amount of red wine. I had in fact told the waitress I was pregnant!! Embarazada is not embarrassed! I have to say I can’t blame Collins or Google Translate for that slip up, just my inadvertent use of a Spanish ‘false friend’. Anyway back to my troublesome waterworks. Luckily for me it was a problem in the whole area so I just needed to relax, not worry about the pile of laundry, leave the washing up and remember not to flush! Outside in the street there was a constant stream of angry and frustrated chatter. I was simply happy, very relieved that I was not faced with a mission impossible!
Also I am in unsettled limbo at the moment. We have left Dos De Mayo and are waiting to move into our new, permanent Madrid home at the beginning of December. Lovely friends are letting us live in their lovely flats while they are away which is great and we are enjoying exploring different barrios. But I’m itching to get into my own home where I can really start to put down my new Spanish roots. And hopefully my brain will relax a bit and my creative juices will start to flow, my fingers will start to twitch and I will want to write about some of the stuff that’s happening to me as I embark on my new Spanish adventure.