I know. What a morbid title. But here’s the thing - I have exactly two weeks until I’m back in (apparently crazy hot and humid) Toronto.
I don’t want to leave.
Yes, I’ve missed my friends and family (and good luck KO in Lake Louise!) but more than that I’ve made a home for myself here - with a different, though equally special, set of friends and family. I’ve learnt so much about myself; what I’m capable of, what I value, what I need to work on and where I want to end up. I’ve actually surprised myself with how quickly I adapted to life here and how comfortable I was right away.
Because my time in Madrid is winding down I’m learning to really appreciate this opportunity that I’ve been given. And to think I almost didn’t make it here! I know, crazy right? The long and short of it is that along with being president of the Glendon College Student Union comes a summer job that is very important in its own way - and I had to think seriously whether or not I would take the York job and stay in Toronto or pack up my things and move to a new country for three months to work at the Embassy. I can more than safely say that I made the right decision. And now I know that it’s ok to take risks, that everything happens for a reason and that the opportunity to grow is present everywhere.
London: I hear you’re coming for a visit. Make sure to bring layers - the weather’s a good 20 degrees lower than the 42 Madrid had the other day!
Andrée: Noted! Anything else I should be ready for?
London: Oh, you know…perhaps a chance encounter with Prince Harry. And the premiere of the other famous Harry - Potter that is.
Andrée: Sounds great! I’ll also make sure to bring a nice outfit for when I go see the Lion King.
London: Perfect, see you Wednesday!
I think that last weekend was the first time I’ve ever spent a Canada Day outside of Canada. Instead of being in my home and native land I was in Oporto, Portugal.
After having worked the Embassy’s Canada Day party, held at the Official Residence on June 29th, I went to work on the 30th and then went straight to the airport when the workday was done. Along with three friends, I boarded a Ryanair flight (which we almost missed because we joined some Chinese tourists for exercise) to Porto.
Initially I thought that a flight from Madrid to Porto was 15 minutes. For months I was looking forward to going to Porto just so I could tell people that I’d been on a 15 minute flight. I mean, who’s ever been on a 15 minute flight!? Well, not me. Probably no one in fact. Turns out there’s a one hour time difference between Madrid and Porto so the flight is not 15 minutes but rather 1 hour and 15 minutes. You learn something new every day…
Anyways, back to Porto. Besides my first “15 minute flight” I also experienced my first hostel. I have to say, I was quite pleasantly surprised - though my travel-mates did let me know that it was a very nice hostel and that they’re not all like that. I hope it hasn’t set my expectations too high for any further travels!
During my four days in Porto I went to the beach, experienced the night life, ate a ton (probably literally) of custard tarts, tasted port wine and visited some tourist spots. Did you know that J.K. Rowling was inspired by Porto when writing her Harry Potter books?! The university traditions and a charming old book store are some of what you can find in her best-selling series.
Porto definitely has its charm, but being there was the first time I physically saw ”The Economic Crisis”. Granted, in Spain there is alot of talk about unemployment - and it is a big problem - but in Porto I saw an innumerable amount of “for rent” or “for sale” signs. Porto is also a city that is quite old, and has areas that are literally falling apart. I understand this is part of its character but it did shock me a bit.
All in all I really enjoyed Porto. And after having slept in its airport (parents - I’m fine; its an experience everyone should have) because our flight was so early, I was back in Madrid and ready to start the week. I’ll be posting pictures soon, so stay tuned!
when one becomes so used to the 35+ degree weather in Madrid that 25 degrees in Porto is freezing