Toledo

Hola Amigos!

This weekend’s adventure included a day trip to the historical city of Toledo, about an hour and a half south of the city center of Madrid. If you visit Spain, I highly recommend stopping to wander in this beautiful city! I took a bus there with my friends Elin and Kate and it was only 9.84 euros roundtrip. For lunch we stopped at this place called Las Rascas, which is apparently the name of a mythical creature, and the food was muy delicioso. In Spain they have this amazing thing called the menu del día which means that you get a drink, 2 main courses, and a dessert or café for 10-12 euros. I had the paella, beef chili, and custard for dessert. After our bellies were full, we rode the Toledo Train Vision and it took us for a 45 minute ride around the city and it had a headphones program that educated you on the history of Toledo. The city’s roots are multicultural and back in the day Muslims, Christians, and the Moors lived together. A surprising highlight to our day was visiting the antique torture instruments museum which enlightened us on the insane methods of torture that people endured for breaking the law back in the day. It had a guillotine, face masks, chastity belts, cages, and many other cruel instruments. 

Our day trip to Toledo reminded me why I came to Spain in the first place-to experience that euphoric feeling you get when you visit a new place and immerse yourself in a completely different culture. Despite those moments of euphoria, living abroad has been equally as challenging and frustrating at times. The night before our Toledo trip, I spent probably an hour crying to my mom on video chat. It’s so hard to constantly be out of your comfort zone. I’ve spent plenty of time getting lost by myself, taking the wrong train, and not understanding what the people around me are saying, and it can get very discouraging at times.

However, learning how to love yourself and practice self-care during overwhelming situations both abroad and at home is key. There’s this great quote from Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self be true”. It basically means to stay true to yourself by living honestly and authentically. Crying to my mom that night was the form of self-care that I needed, but self-care can also come from exercise, eating well, being with friends or family, watching a movie, etc. Anything that makes you feel good and show up for life more wholeheartedly is something that everyone needs more of in their lives. There is this beautiful park called Santander by my señora’s place that I like to visit in the mornings to stretch, move, and people watch. I’ve noticed that this simple morning routine helps me feel more grounded and show up with more love and patience throughout my day. So, I encourage you to carve out time for self-care during your day because I promise that you will feel good for taking care of yourself! 

Love,

Manders

P.S. Thank you Mommy, Daddy, and Ezra for always being there for me! I wouldn’t be here without your support and encouragement. Also thank you Jordyn, Jules, Chummy, and Rachel-you beauties are my soulmates! 

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