In Madrid there’s no such thing as ‘cardigan weather’, at least not for longer than a week. Spring, autumn? Forget it. All you get served up here is the kind of heat that makes you want to tear off your skin, and the kind of cold that is only acceptable at Christmas when you’re carolling round the fire (does anyone actually do that these days?). It’s just got cold here, and somehow it went from leather jacket weather to full-blown coat, scarf and gloves weather in literally 48 hours, and when I went out a couple of Saturdays ago I could barely feel my nose. This is SPAIN for goodness sake; I haven’t seen a single palm tree or golden beach in the eight weeks I’ve been here. Granted, I couldn’t be more slap bang in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula if I tried, but it’s disappointing nonetheless when stereotypes are not reinforced.
In Spain there has just been a long 4 day bank holiday weekend and, motivated by homesickness and ageing family members, I decided to take a trip back to the UK. For a couple of weeks leading up to the trip I’d felt completely miserable and isolated until one day I decided that enough was enough and blew over £200/200€ with easyJet. The sly gits, knowing that it was a bank holiday in some of Europe, put their prices up for this particular weekend so the flights cost me double what it did for the ones that I booked for Christmas! Thank god I booked the latter ones waaaaaaayyyy in advance.
Anyway, 4am on Halloween arrived and I was stumbling around my room in the dark attempting to look presentable and to remember my passport. 5am came and I was on a bus full of equally knackered-looking Spaniards, all of us headed for the airport , and by 6 I was already sat on the floor in departures watching House on my Mac – I mean what better way is there to kill time in an airport at el crac o’ dawn? If you’ve never been to Barajas airport then there’s really only one word to describe it: fuckingmassive (yeah yeah, I know). As the bus pulled into terminal one I practically fell out and straight through the revolving airport doors as I wrestled with my suitcase, hand luggage and sheer exhaustion much to the nuisance of the other disgruntled travellers who all seemed to be perfectly poised for the situation. Once I’d pulled myself together and made it inside with the last shred of my dignity I realised that I had absolutely no clue where the hell my check in desk was, and after walking what seemed like miles I was finally blinded by about the same length of the luminous orange roping I’d been seeking – hallelujah!
Over in departures the boarding call came and I lost my final shred of dignity and composure as I bolted, arms and hand luggage flailing, to gate B26 batting Spanish men, women and children out of the way as I went. My love for Britain (not a nationalist P.S…) and excitement for going home had become too much and I simply HAD TO BE first on that beautiful orange plane. As fate would have it I was sixth in the queue which isn’t too shabby at all, and I got my seat just a few rows from the front to ensure as early a cuppa as possible. Hidden amongst the Spanish majority on the plane, I was all snuggled up in my snood, with my book, cup of tea and pot of porridge – an almost perfect stereotype. Upon departure I admired the snow-capped mountains which skim the capital of Spain and by the end of the flight I was gazing down at miles upon miles of green fields, trees and cows. I was home. Well not really because I still had a 4 hour train journey to make, but you know what I mea
The rest of the day was tiring and spent mostly travelling, save for the couple of hours I was afforded to spend with a good friend in London. I hopped (as elegantly as one can with massive suitcase and handbag in tow) onto a train from Gatwick to St. Pancras and admired the sights of our capital as I went. Even in the freezing cold and with a skyline clouded by cranes, London is beautiful. By the time I hit central I was dire need of more caffeine, so nowhere could have been better placed than the Starbucks I stumbled upon, and nothing could have prepared me for the problem that I was about to stumble into… I couldn’t understand the barista! I told her my order and she reeled off the usual questions which I assume were ‘drink in or take out?’ and ‘would you like cream on that?’, but I could not for the life of me understand what she was saying. In Spain that’s a daily occurrence which I’ve become accustomed to, but in my home country and my mother tongue this was quite confusing. So when I heard ‘dirbf wiry tjajeio titt?’ and ‘wiofyf cfhjeya?’ I managed to muster up a flustered ‘err drink in’ and ‘yes please’. (What is my life coming to?) By the time I’d got to the King’s Cross Prêt à Manger things were running a bit more smoothly. I’d caught up with the pace at which London moves and finally learnt to understand a native English accent, so after a quick bite and a chat I was ready and raring to get on with getting home.
The rest of my week in England was pretty relaxed and spent mostly catching up with old friends and close family, as well as pigging out on my fave Brit snacks! It was an endless 5 day feast of Walkers crisps, McVite’s biscuits, pub lunches, Nando’s and of course my mum threw in a good old Patak’s curry! The trains were on time, appointments were adhered to, it was completely freezing cold and wet, and I loved it. It was home :)
On the Saturday night I topped off my trip by heading to Nottingham to visit my old flatmates and friends from uni who aren’t doing a placement year. It felt so strange being a guest of people I’d lived with for two years, but after about an hour I was already helping myself to the contents of their cupboards and nail polish collection. It felt so right being back with them, like I belonged, and it felt like I should be there for the year! It was so hard to say goodbye to them, even more so than to my family, because I know that things will never again be how they were in first and second year and I think that’s been the hardest thing for me to adjust to this year. Nonetheless off we trotted, true Trenters, to Ocean for Climax and we had a totally awesome night. It was completely hilarious and care-free and of course no night in Ocean would be complete without crappy VK, the lone middle-aged pervert (how do they get into student nights?!) and the guy in the carrier-bag nappy gawping at wasted freshers making out in the middle of the dance floor. 4am kebabs, perving on freshers in Coco Tang, late night last minute essay writing, and making stupid X Factor videos (and screaming when we actually get on TV); I miss my uni life and the people I’ve shared it with <3