My name is Jasmine. I currently live in Madrid. And I am completely, totally, irrevocably daunted by my new life.
I enviously envisage Freshers now, conscientiously turning up to every departmental meeting, shoving each other for the sandwiches that have more than one filling in the Union’s meal deal, as they quake in their boots about not having yet paid society joining fees. I’ve been there. I forked out fifty quid to only attend one University organised social activity. I quickly learnt which lectures and ‘events’ were not worth getting out of bed for, and on the final front, I’m a vegetarian so I belong to the minority of students who would fight someone for a salad sandwich. But with what I’m currently tackling, my concerns seem much greater than those of Freshers or Leeds-based students.
I understand that right now, I am probably not gaining your sympathy. But it’s really hard not to resent people having fun in Leeds when you’re in capital city panic mode. Where I come from, there’s three buses an hour to take me to my required destination. Here, I tackle twelve lines of Metro hell on a daily basis. I sweat profusely as I cling to the overhead bar in sweet hope that my choice of safety over security means that the person next to me will not steal the contents of my bag. I speak in a Spanish accent, yet still not one living Madrileño understands the way that I pronounce my l’s. I have people following me, chanting “ghost, ghost, ghost” to expel my pale self from the near vicinity. If I do not get a National Identity Card soon, there is a chance that I will not even receive my depressingly paltry pay from my internship at The Glossy. I have entered the real world, and it is a jungle out here kids.
I must say, I have committed acts of rebellion to make my time here seem slightly less surreal. The 10-6 slog I do at The Glossy goes so much more quickly when I try and secure at least one article of cultural importance to be submitted into the magazine every day. But at least I get to go on weekend trips to a royal palace and slosh down €1.50 bottles of wine. I get to see things that I know are beautiful in spite of the fact that I cannot see properly through my hangover glaze. I survive in the sun because I wear factor fifty. My constant smell of perspiration reminds me that I should not be vain. I’m even nice to my boyfriend now. These little victories, remind me that this entire experience was all worthwhile.
Even if I still do not seem convincing, please just come over here. Not only is this life an Amazonian, sublime mess, but the Madrileños have some really cracking mojitos.