27 Jun Triunfo en Madrid
Jami Steen from the University of Southern Mississippi tells us about her experience as a Marketing intern in Madrid, Spain as one of Absolute’s Summer 2017 Intern Heroes.
My day of travel was nothing less than horrendous—delays, rebooks, lost luggage, the works. I was so tired when I got to Madrid I didn’t even try to be social and watch the soccer game with everyone downstairs. Honestly I felt defeated. I was in a strange environment, knew no one, knew no Spanish, and didn’t even know what country my luggage was in. I sat in my all-white room and cried—because of the time difference my mom didn’t even answer the phone. The moment I decided to feel better was the moment it happened. I opened the window for some fresh air, and sound filled my room. The city was electric. Real Madrid was winning the Champion’s League final, and the streets were flooded with screams and chants. The other Absolute girls must have noticed at the exact same time because about twenty minutes from the moment I decided to open my window, we were on the streets chanting and singing too. I was surrounded by so much happiness that night—little boys cried tears of joy and ran wild singing in the streets. Wild-eyed strangers hugged and laughed and congratulated each other. On this night, locals, refugees, tourists—the entire city, and the four new American girls, were united by victory and laughter. We chanted, sang and danced in the Plaza Cibeles under a banner that read REFUGEES WELCOME—and I haven’t felt alone since.
The first week of my internship was tiring—I got up really early to make sure I had time to get to work in case I got lost, I wore super professional clothes so my boss would know I’m ambitious, and packed EVERYTHING in my work back-pack—just in case, and I walked hurriedly everywhere. It only took about a week to literally get more comfortable with everything; I wear sneakers to work, only bring the essentials, and could navigate the metro with my eyes closed (seriously I close my eyes sometimes to make myself listen to the metro stops in Spanish). The best part about slowing down is that you find yourself moving at the speed of the culture. I got lost the other day by myself, and instead of freaking out and frantically scrolling through Google Maps, I had a glass of wine and asked a stranger (in Spanish) where the metro was. I told Alex I loved the tiny balconies everywhere, and she taught me a new word: miradores. It refers to the big windows that open to the street and are usually decked out with sweeping plants and succulents. The best English translation for miradores isn’t simply window; it means “the place from which I look.” And if that’s not a sign to switch up your perspective, I don’t know what is. So what’s the take-away from Week 1 with no luggage and no language? Open your window, let the air in, slow down, and let yourself like it.