Speak My Language: The Five Love Languages

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. -Tony Robbins

How many of you have ever felt like you and your partner are speaking completely different languages? No matter how much you try to understand your partner, and find a way for your partner to understand you as well, it seems like a constant struggle. I’ve been there…shit, sometimes I’m still there if we want to keep it 100% honest! Miscommunication is common and unfortunately, we allow miscommunication to escalate issues within the relationship, rather than finding solutions. Many times miscommunications and above all, assumptions, are due to us not understanding that our partner may speak a different love language than us. What is a love language? Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Love Languages, describes this as the way we feel loved and appreciated. Depending on your personality, you may feel and express love differently than your partner does.

The 5 Love Languages are:

  1. Words of Affirmation: This is using words to express your love and build up your partner, verbal compliments, if you will. Things like “you are beautiful” or “I love you so much.” No matter how minimal a compliment may sound, people with this love language will feel appreciated. On the flip side, negative or insulting comments to hurt your partner will leave them with an everlasting grudge, so choose your words wisely!
  2. Acts of Service: This expresses love by doing acts you know your spouse will appreciate. They often require time, thought, and effort. Most importantly, done with positivity and not out of obligation. So for example, cooking for your loved one or doing the laundry.
  3. Receiving Gifts: This is pretty explanatory, but it does not mean it has to be materialistic or grand. Something as small as picking up flowers would fall under this category. However, don’t mistake this with the previous love language- acts of service are purely helpful and lessen the load for your partner.
  4. Quality Time: This expresses love by giving your partner UNDIVIDED attention. So no distractions like smartphones, video games, and so forth. Doesn’t have to be an extravagant date. It can be as simple as having a game night together. Please don’t postpone or cancel this time with your partner; this can negatively impact how secure they feel in a relationship.
  5. Physical Touch: Nothing impacts a person with this love language more than the physical touch of their partner. This does not have to be drastic PDA. It can be as simple as holding hands, cuddling, and kissing. They will feel extremely unloved without physical contact. No gift or compliment will help without the physical touch.

My fiance and I have VERY different love languages. My primary love language is Quality Time. My secondary would be Words of Affirmation. These two love languages seem to be the most common in relationships, according to an article I read in Elite Daily. I love being told I am loved and appreciated; gives me all the fuzzies. But nothing does it to me like some good quality time! Let’s forget everything and just focus on how much we love and value one another. YES, love it. Because of this, I am often the one who plans dates and trips, along with whispering sweet nothings to him lol. However, my fiance’s top love language is Acts of Service. I cannot count how many times he has cooked for me, washed dishes, or folded laundry without me even mentioning it to him. Because our love languages are so different, it has not always been easy to find common ground with each other. Many times, arguments have been escalated because of it. My fiance is a signed hip hop artist and this keeps him very busy. And although I tag along to the numerous events, rehearsals, and studio time, we really don’t get much quality time with one another. If he is not stepping out of the house, many times he is on the phone tending to some conference call or planning the next event. This has been a huge adjustment for me, and has nearly taken me almost 5 years to come to terms with. I’m still learning and trying to find creative ways to get that time in with each other. On the flip side, he is more aware of how much quality time means to me and will plan impromptu dinner and movie dates. In return, I try to be more understanding and supportive of his music career even if it is as simple as me tagging along on a studio session while he does his thing.

A relationship takes understanding and compromise. Once I figured out that my fiance and I have different love languages, arguments occur less. I am mindful not to take it personally when he is too busy to spend quality time with me, and he is mindful to make more of an effort in that department. Somehow, we make it work. We are constantly learning about one another and granting each other patience and grace. Love isn’t always black and white. There are a ton of grey areas, and to find common ground takes an open minded approach. I challenge all of you to find out your love language. How can this be applied in your relationship? Do you think it will help or hinder it? Find out your love language here https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/ . Spread love, be kind, be understanding, and learn a thing or two. Happy Wednesday loves!

I’ve Resigned from my job…now what?!

Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive. – Anonymous

A resignation from a job could be compared to a break up in a relationship. Most times, it is because you have found something ‘better.’ Other times, it cannot be worked out and you call it quits. I am the latter. And no, I don’t have another job lined up. And yes, I am freaking out. Don’t try this at home, kids. I’m pretty sure a lot of you will think of this as irresponsible. You are probably thinking that it could not have been that bad. Oh, but it was…is. When a situation is so toxic to the point that it begins to affect your mental health and well-being, guess what? It HAS gotten that bad.

Just three days ago, after much thought, I put in my three weeks’ notice. My official last day will be August 9th. It is possibly the scariest decision I have ever made in my life but I stand firmly in my decision. I am sure I will receive a lot of backlash because of it, especially from my family. But if there is anything I have learned in this incredibly difficult year, it is that my peace of mind and happiness comes first. Never again will I allow myself to lose sleep, shed tears, or increase my anxiety over something as temporary as a job. Because let’s face it, at the end of the day, no one is ever really secure. You can be fired the next day, without reason or explanation, especially in FL which is an at-will state. This decision has been weighing heavy on my heart for the past few months. It has been a constant internal struggle, deciding to go with my heart and what has been conditioned in my brain as the ‘right’ thing to do. The past couple of weeks have gotten progressively worse. Some nights with only 2 hours of sleep and waking up with a heavy sense of dread and anxiety for the work day that lies ahead. Walking on eggshells, anticipating my next failure because I cannot seem to do anything right. My lack of confidence after so much negative feedback. Last week was a deciding factor, where I left my job feeling completely defeated and frustrated; crying hysterically in the car on the way home. In that moment, I decided I had enough. I took the next day off to clear my head. I took some time over the weekend to pray on it. Each time the voice screamed louder, my intuition led me- it’s time to pull the plug. And so I did.

Although I do not get along with my superiors, I still showed them the courtesy of respect. I requested a meeting. I decided I would give a three week notice because of how high priority my position is, that way they have time to find a proper replacement to take over the workload. I explained to them that I have not been happy here and my mental health takes precedence. I thanked them for the opportunity of growth and all of the opportunities to become more skilled. This felt important for me to do. I wanted to leave with dignity. But most importantly, I do not believe in burning bridges. I am one of those people that actually feel guilty for leaving a position, even though I am sure I’m disposable to them. My conscience is clear. During my last weeks, I will still work my hardest to ensure all loose ends are tied. Again, with dignity.

Now you’re wondering how the hell am I going to afford my bills and such? Luckily, I made this decision knowing that I have savings to cover at least a few months of my expenses. I strongly suggest for anyone in a situation similar to mine, to make sure you have gone over your finances before you make a final decision. I will be cutting off certain ‘luxuries’ in this transition. Job hunting is still in full effect. Will do side gigs to keep some kind of income coming in. The rest I place my faith in God and myself. Something will come along in my benefit. God has always come through for me and this time is no different. But in the meantime, I will focus on a much needed break. EVERYTHING happens for a reason.

I have no idea what I am going to do with all of this free time lol. I’m used to being busy and never having time to myself, so this will be a nice change. I can finally work on the loft area and finish turning it into a creative space. I will have more time to dive into my writing. More time to cook, exercise, paint, swim…clean lol. I also have my trip to Hawaii coming up, which thankfully, I have saved money separately from my savings for that. More importantly, I will be able to give myself the time, love, and attention I deserve. I have gone through a lot this year that I have not fully processed or healed from yet. In the end, I’ll be just fine. My gut tells me so.

To anyone who is miserable at a job, you owe it to yourself to find better. Don’t sacrifice your happiness for that, or for any toxic situation for that matter. Life is WAY too short, trust me. Stand in your power and know that you deserve better. I would suggest finding a job first, of course. But if you feel like you can’t hold on anymore, then make sure you come up with a plan like I have. Know that everything is going to be okay and it is temporary. Know that there is a rainbow after the end of a storm. To me, this is just another door opening to my path of happiness and self discovery. I am so grateful for the lessons I have learned up to this point, for the growth. The strength. The bravery. Never would I have imagined that I would make a decision like this in my life. Fear usually paralyzes me. But after everything I have gone through this year alone, I have nothing to fear. AT ALL. I’m proud of myself for taking the necessary steps for my well being, despite the opinions of others. I am prepared to take on this next challenge. I got this. Whatever it may be, we all got this! Stay easy friends and say a prayer or two for me, please ❤

Curly Girl in Corporate World.

I am not my hair. -India Arie

I didn’t always embrace my natural curls. My hair has been through extreme colors that damaged my hair. It has been fried and manipulated against its will. It has been chopped all off, AND has been left to grow its own wilderness. I never worried about the kinds of products I used on it. I never cared to condition it or do hot oil treatments. Although my hair was curly, it was never the kind of curls I wanted. My hair is fine and thin. It lacks volume and bounce. My curls are big and loose. I envy those that had massive amount of hair; curls that seemed to shrink and coil up. Those curls were beautiful, not mine. Once I discovered a flat iron, it was a wrap! I thought to myself, this is how my hair is supposed to be. This hair is beautiful. This warped perception began my unhealthy obsession with straight, “beautiful” hair, that went on for many years.

The first time I ever flat ironed my hair was at the age of 15. My Conair flat iron did me no justice when I think back on it, but I loved how long and shiny my hair was when it was straight. I was ashamed of my thin hair and my thinness seemed to magnify when it was curly. The sense of panic I feel, even to this very day, of seeing my hair fall out is ridiculous. I mean, I’m trying to keep what I have still on my head! In high school, I would wake up every morning at 5:30 am just to perfect my hair. There were days that I cried, due to its lack of volume, but excessive amounts of frizz. I decided that straight hair seemed to suit me. In my early 20’s, I began using the flat iron on my hair every single day. I would use a curling iron on the days I wanted to add a little pizzazz. My hair became my prized possession. It was long, dark, and full of shine. It made me look exotic and put together. It made me feel attractive, which is something I still struggle with. Straight hair during that time was my ultimate solution and I was sticking with it.

After many years of using the flat, my hair became very damaged. It became dry and brittle. My hair was constantly breaking off, leaving it filled with split ends. At this point, my curls were non existent. Anytime I tried to leave my hair in its natural state, this is what it turned out to…

I got tired of using my flat iron day in and day out. With curly hair becoming trendy again, I decided I would nurse my hair back to health at the age of 28. I got my first Deva cut in April of 2018 and chopped off over 4 inches of my hair. As I watched my crispy ends fall off the smock, I felt immediate relief. It was a fresh start. However, I was not prepared for the less than favorable reactions of returning to my curly hair.

When I started my corporate job last year, I stuck true to my roots. I started using products that were silicone and sulfate free. I began using masques and conditioners to promote growth and shine. I eased up on the hairspray and started using curl creams and vegan friendly gels. After a few months of consistent care, my curls came back healthier than ever…and it has been a struggle, especially at the workplace. I am one of the ONLY people there with naturally curly hair. It also doesn’t help that I am the only Hispanic as well. The few times I have straightened my hair, you should see the positive reactions I get- “Omg, your hair looks so soft and shiny.” “I had no idea your hair was this long!” “How long did it take you to straighten it?” “It looks so good, you should always wear it like this!” Or my personal favorite, “May I touch it?” Whoa. No the fuck you may not. It’s really offensive to hear these reactions because what they tell me is that you think less of me with my natural hair. One time, I read an article by Elle that stated that women with straight hair are perceived more seriously than girls with curly hair. It is considered more “professional.” Disheartening.

I shouldn’t feel inadequate because of my hair. I shouldn’t feel less put together than the average woman in the workplace. It is these negative perceptions that are causing little girls everywhere to look at themselves in the mirror and feel they must change in order to fit in. Because of these messed up societal ideas, mothers are making their little girls get damaging procedures done such as relaxers and hot combs are being put to their precious heads of hair. Going natural has been a difficult process for me. So many times, I want to pull out my beloved flat iron just to get that sleek look back. To be able to ‘fit in’ with my work peers. Comparison really is the thief of joy. I often remind myself why I did this in the first place. Yes, I wanted to get my natural curls back, but it was more than that. I wanted to learn how to love myself for who I really am,without all of the manipulation and facades. I wanted to learn to be comfortable in my own skin, to accept my unique beauty. Everyday is a struggle paired with a daily reminder. My hair is not what makes me beautiful. It is merely an accessory. I’m hoping one day I will look in the mirror and feel proud of what I see looking back at me. Until then, I’ll keep reminding myself. If anyone else has struggled with this, I would love to hear from you. What are some of the ways you have learned to love your hair? Do you still struggle? Do you ever feel overshadowed and intimidated by the women with straight hair in the workplace? Do you ever feel like you are perceived differently? Leave a comment and let’s have a conversation 🙂

Approaching 30…send help.

“you have outgrown this skin. stop trying to hold it in. stop trying to hold it together. let yourself break.”  ― AVA., you are safe here.

When I was younger, I was positive that I would have it all figured out by the time I hit 30. I was going to be married, with kids, have my own home, take family vacations at least once a year, and thrive in a career I absolutely loved. As I am currently in the last 5 months of my 29th year, I laugh hysterically at the idea. And then I cry. And then I get annoyed with myself for being so damn emotional. You think you have a certain plan for yourself and you believe you can execute that plan flawlessly. In that moment, you become so comfortable with your life. Plot twist: life senses the complacency and laughs in your face while throwing a slew of obstacles and curve balls. And in this moment, you have a decision to make…do you sink or swim? I’m a magician- I’ve done both this year. Everyday feels like a struggle to swim to the surface, gasping for air…reaching for land. At 29 years old, nothing makes sense. And at some point, I’ve stop looking for explanations. I just…live.

My 28th year was AMAZING. It was a happy time in my life filled with travel, brunch/dinner dates, new friends, new higher paying job, and a WHOLE engagement. I thought “Wow, can it get any better?” I thought for sure the next year would be even greater with all of the blessings that had been bestowed upon me. New Year’s came along… and I don’t know, I didn’t feel excited. There was a sense of dread and urgency in it. In hindsight, maybe it was my intuition mentally preparing me for what was to come.

My 29th birthday in January was the first one I couldn’t afford to travel anywhere, and I’ll admit this bummed me out to a certain degree. But I also had some pretty amazing friends who threw me a surprise party. I quickly realized how spoiled I was and to stop being ungrateful. Trust me, I put myself in check, A LOT. I’m human… Shortly after my birthday, in February, I found out I was pregnant and no, it was not planned. The thought of carrying a child scared the shit out of me. I was in the midst of planning a wedding. I had more travel plans. Financially, I wasn’t where I wanted to be. I had to change my whole lifestyle and I don’t think I was ready. After a few days of initial shock, I accepted it. I told very few people because of obvious reasons- it’s usually best to save announcements after the first trimester since it’s high risk. I prepared for this life change and even got in contact with a realtor to look into buying a house. I wanted my baby to have an environment that he or she could thrive in and have a happy childhood. In March, I went to my first sonogram and found out the baby was abnormal and I would miscarry soon unless I have surgery to physically remove it. And so I did…and then I barricaded myself in the house for weeks. Ashamed, grieving, and self loathing. I still blame myself. There’s not much anyone can say to make me feel better about the situation and NOT blame myself. It’s a harsh realization I’ve come to- I simply need time. I never did follow through with the home buying process. (For anyone who wants to read more about this, check out my post https://angiesoul.home.blog/2019/04/24/my-heart-stopped-the-moment-i-found-out-yours-did/).

Upon my return to work in late March, I’ve noticed a change in my boss’s behavior. Quite frankly, she has made my life at work a living HELL for the past 4 months. Still holding strong until a better opportunity comes along, but it does mentally take a toll on me. We spend so much of our time at work, you know? And constant negativity, day in and day out, is just draining. This situation has caused my anxiety to get worse. Some nights I can’t sleep just because of the dread for the upcoming work day. Sunday nights are the worst. I take it all as it comes because honestly, I have no other choice. Each day completed is a personal victory. (For anyone who would like to read more about this, check out my post https://angiesoul.home.blog/2019/05/29/lost-com/).

In June, a friend of 7 years, decided that we were not friends anymore. There was no real reason behind it. She claimed she felt like this for a while and that we were just going ‘in two separate directions.’ That was heartbreaking. Extremely unexpected. I never saw it coming and in some way, I felt betrayed. She decided upon herself, that OUR friendship was over and didn’t even bother giving it an opportunity to work itself out. With everything I have gone up until this point, my response to her was “I see.” I was stunned. I didn’t have the energy to address it or ask for an explanation. I accepted it and let go.

This year has felt incredibly lonely. People have faded out of my life, friends and family. It feels like I’ve lost a great deal. During this process of healing, I have isolated myself. I have cried more days than I can keep track of. I’ve been angry and confused. I have not been very lovable, and some days I’m not even tolerable. It’s difficult to sit in your pain and accept that there is not much you can do to relieve it. I mean, I try. I eat healthier. I exercise. Meditate. Journal. Paint. Bubble baths with bath salts, heavy on the essential oils. Spend time outside. Hell, I even started a blog in April; a canvas to pour my feelings into. I try it allllll 😀 A lot of the time, especially as of late, I shut off my emotions, merely for survival. Because it’s easier to bury the pain. But when it comes up…man, it’s heart-wrenching and it knocks the wind out of me. In those moments, I just sit with it. Wait it out like it’s a passing storm with its roaring thunder and lightning that illuminates the night sky. Not all days are bad. Some days I am vibrating so high that it seems like I’m glowing; I physically see it. When those days come around, I cherish it. It’s a nice reminder that eventually I will be okay. I might even be…happy lol like on the regular?? What a thought! Until then, I am patient. Patient with the process. Patient with myself. I’ve learned to find the beauty in each day, no matter how minuscule it may be. And as I am writing this, the song ‘Beauty Hurts’ by Jack Be pops up on Spotify. Ironic. I’m back to my travel plans kicking off with Hawaii next month. Super looking forward to that! I’m back to planning the wedding; the venue is booked 🙂 details will come soon. I’ll be looking into therapy; I think it’s safe to say I need it. I continue to push myself out of my comfort zone by being openly vulnerable and being unapologetic about it! Throughout the year, I have felt like I was being punished by the universe. My faith with God has wavered. All of this time I have looked at this year as a conspiracy. A ploy to guarantee my own failure. Realistically, it’s the opposite. I’ve been stripped down to my very core, have shed many layers. It’s a new start. A caterpillar transitioning to a butterfly. As my 29th year begins to approach an end, I’m in awe of myself and my resiliency. I don’t give myself enough credit. I look forward to a new chapter and I welcome a new decade with open arms. If you currently feel like you’re failing at life, or nothing seems to be in your favor, just hold tight. It just might be a blessing in disguise. I’m patiently waiting for mine. And when that day comes, when it all finally makes sense, I’ll be sure to share. Stay easy, friends.

Travel Series: Wanderlust takes Spain!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -Agustine of Hippo

A part of me did not want to cover this destination on my travel series…not because I did not enjoy it- this trip was nothing but life changing. It was my first trip I ever needed a passport for. I remember the excitement when I received it in the mail. It was a college graduation gift to myself. It was the trip that started my wanderlust desires. The first longest flight I have EVER taken- about 7 hours, but considering the time difference, the jet lag was REAL. I spent 13 days in unknown lands, and I am eternally grateful for this experience. However, this trip took place 4 years ago and I am afraid my memory won’t do it justice! I visited so many cities in Spain! I saw, I conquered, even got a tattoo! And I also had the opportunity to meet extraordinary people who shared the same passion for travel. I will do my best to paint the beautiful picture Spain truly deserves, a trip I wish I could re live and re do over and over and over again.

I’m sure you guys know the drill by now 😀 here’s a few fun facts about España:

  1. The currency used in Spain is the Euro. This was fun trying to figure out while I was there. You can convert your money at the airport into Euros. The US dollar is actually worth less than Euros. $1.00 equals to 0.89 Euros, so make sure you spend wisely!
  2. The largest city and capital of Spain is Madrid. Madrid was one of the cities I visited during my time at Spain. Definitely has all of the big city vibes!
  3. Spain has a variety of foods and unique dishes such as paella (a type of rice dish) and tapas (a range of small snacks or appetizers). First of all, the paella was delicious! Don’t even bother ordering this dish in the states, because I promise it won’t taste nearly as good as the authentic paella in Spain. Second, I lived off of tapas! You can literally get any full size entree as a tapa upon request, and they are super affordable. One of my favorite tapas was papas bravas, a potato dish fried in oil and topped with spicy tomato sauce.
  4. The second largest city is Barcelona. Another city I visited- although it is considered the second largest city in Spain, I feel like you can’t ever get lost. It’s literally a big circle; you’ll eventually end up where you started.
  5. Flamenco is not actually a dance; it’s a musical style which can involve dancing. I saw a flamenco show in Barcelona, and fell in love ever since.
In Barcelona, waiting for the flamenco show to begin.

One of the first cities I visited while in Spain was Barcelona. It is a very elegant city, rich in art and history. The day we landed, we literally hopped off the plane, dropped our luggage off, and was out to explore! My Spain trip was booked through a college tour, and they had a full day planned for us. We headed to the city square and immediately dived into the culture.

We visited Park Güell, a public park composed of gardens and breathtaking architecture with amazing views overlooking the city. The park’s design was inspired by nature and the artist, Antoni Gaudí, was very adamant about the architecture containing no straight lines. He committed to this theory because in nature, he stated, “there are none.” Being one of the popular tourist attractions in Barcelona, the park was incredibly crowded. Many of the pictures I did have are floating around in Google Drive space, but I was able to recover these!

Another amazing tourist attraction I was able to check out was La Sagrada Familia, a large unfinished Roman Catholic church in Barcelona. It is a church that has been under construction for over a century! And no, it is still not finished. Designed by the same architect mentioned earlier, Antoni Gaudí, he knew this church would not be completed in his lifetime. Talk about the detail involved in his vision! And when I say detail, I mean it- The story of the Holy Trinity can be found in the sculptures in the altars, and the builders of this majestic building are immortalized in stone. That doesn’t even cover half of the building; stories of Christ are narrated in the sculptures throughout. It is the tallest religious building in Europe and is said to go through its final construction stage in the year 2026.

While in Barcelona, there was also a bike tour that took place…except I didn’t join…because I don’t know how to ride a bike and I definitely missed out! Don’t get me wrong, I definitely attempted. But after a few failed attempts, the tour leaders decided it wasn’t the best idea for me to go on the tour, for safety reasons. *insert sad face* Barcelona is considered a very bike friendly city. Many locals choose biking as their main source of transportation. However, this can leave beginners like me unsafe because they ride at FULL velocity. I’m accident prone as it is. So instead, I roamed the city alone and blended in with the locals.

I watched people get attacked by pigeons in the city square lmao

After Barcelona, we continued on our journey. We traveled to Figueres, the birthplace of artist Salvador Dalí. Yep, that’s right- I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the original Dalí museum in Spain; although the one in St. Petersburg, FL is amazing, the one in Spain is permanently engraved in my brain! So different and creative.

From Figueres, we spent overnight on a train to Granada. That was an experience! The funnest, most uncomfortable night of my life, SERIOUSLY. We had 4 girls to a cabin and all had bunk beds. Also, there were no showers. Only a sink in the cabin and a bathroom stall.

I sipped on coffee while enjoying morning views on the way to Granada.

Sleep deprived and anxious, we arrived to the beautiful city of Granada. By far, one of my favorite cities! It was magical with secret gardens, cute fountains, and mini boutiques throughout the city. With its medieval architecture dating back to 711, it was exactly what I envisioned for a city in Europe.

Granada also blessed me with the experience of La Alhambra, a hilltop palace surrounded by beautiful gardens and mind blowing views. Go on, take a peak below ❤

I also discovered that there is no such thing as Dunkin Donuts, but there is Dunkin Coffee. Mind. Blown.

Our days in Granada ended and we headed to Seville, a city known for its flamenco, Moorish architecture, and cathedrals. This city was another favorite of mine. While there, we visited the Royal Alcázar of Seville, a royal palace built for the Christian king Peter of Castile. This castle was surrounded by stunning gardens filled with the most vibrant colored flowers I’ve ever seen. I may be biased because of my love of purple, but you can decide for yourself.

Other cities we traveled to were Cordoba, Marbella, Toledo, and Madrid. I wouldn’t be surprised if I am missing any cities. We traveled around Spain so much! Cordoba reminded me of Roman cities we read about in history class filled with cathedrals. Marbella is gorgeous, a luxury city filled with Mediterranean beaches, villas, and night lounges. We only spent a night there but I took full advantage and hung out at Wallace Marbella, which was walking distance from our hotel. Toledo is an ancient city known for its medieval Arab, Jewish, and Christian monuments. I appreciated how quiet and traditional it was. A city that sits on hills high above the ground, it offered unforgettable views.

One of the last cities we visited was Madrid. Being the capital and the largest city in Spain, I was not surprised to encounter a busy lifestyle where the streets buzzed with energy all day and night. It kind of reminded me of New York City and immediately made me homesick.

By the way, it was 9:00 PM and the sun was just setting!

At this point, I was so accustomed to lack of sleep and being on my feet all day exploring. To think that it was coming to an end, stung a bit. It was a harsh realization that I would be returning back to reality. But I also have to admit, I missed my then boyfriend (now fiance) terribly. I wish I could have shared this experience with him. The experiences I made here were priceless. Spain taught me that it was okay to slow down and be present in the moment. It taught me that it is acceptable to drink wine at any time of the day. And that most times, dinner will be served at 10 PM. It taught me that bread served before your meal will cost you extra money lol. It taught me to be open to a different culture and way of life. There is so much more out there folks, trust me. Much more than we can ever imagine. I can’t express how grateful I am to have made the decision to go, despite my dad lecturing me of ALL the horrible things taking place outside of the U.S. I wish I could have went into greater detail with all of the cities in Spain, but then you would probably be reading for hours. Spain-you hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for all of the lessons and experiences with open arms. I hope we have an opportunity to meet again!