I feel like a girl from Mean Girls, but in a good totally not a Regina George way.

Regina George was a judgmental pack leader and Lindsey Lohan tried to fight back, though she did give in a little… and the rest of the Plastics clique followed Regina's lead. They made made it clear that they would judge someone on first glance, if you were cute enough, devoted enough and had the potential to be the queen bee's workers, you were in. They looked you up and down, sized you up and took your first impression to be their final impression. 

This confuses me, not Mean Girls, the rule of first impressions. People always say you can tell if you are going to get along with someone and fit in with them after a conversation or two, maybe even after a cup of joe, but I have always picked a bone with that - it's the second impression that makes things a little clearer and can solidify your decision. 

The summer of my sophomore year in high school I came to Madrid with a friend and her family. The mother was originally from Madrid and each summer they returned to their apartment in Tres Cantos, a suburb of Madrid, to visit the mother's side of the family. They showed me the incredible art museums, explained what a Cino was, (a dollar store, primarily run by immigrants from a Chinese country) made the ever so easy and fast public transportation system seem world class, and introduced me to beautiful people. It was only after a few days that I knew I loved the city and wanted to return another time. 

Four years and one month later, I am back and the second impression has reminded me that my first impression was not wrong. The country seems even more beautiful than I remembered. The way the sunlight hits the bushes and trees on the Calle del Prado and the smiling couples who walk hand in hand (thank gosh the PDA has subsided a bit, so far…), and the language rolls off peoples tongues in a mesmerizing way I am only hoping to reach. A girl can dream and succeed, right? (Rhetorical, don't answer that folks).  

Before I was here for enjoyment, but also to improve my Spanish but this time around I'm here for strictly academic reasons, however that didn't influence my second impression because Madrid is a city that has a place for everyone. If you like to run there are plenty of parks that can also be used for a picnic or a romantic date. If you're into shopping, there are many locations in the city that has streets filled with stores. There are also several Zaras throughout the city. For me it's a combination of everything, except for shopping since my suitcase was already almost overweight. 

Here are a few things a lot of students think about when you say study abroad and what my experience with them has been:
  • I actually go to school, believe it or not you are required to do that when you're abroad.  
  • Yes, I enjoy it. Call me a nerd, see if I care. 
  • I eat delicious food and am most likely going to eat even more once I move in with my Señora. 
  • No, I don't go out every night (shocking, right?). 
  • And No, I don't pull a Lohan move and give the slender girls of Spain a Kaltene Bar to make them gain weight because they are all super nice. 

I didn't know what to expect my second time in Madrid. Was it going to be the same? Was it going to be different and make me nervous? Well it isn't the former and the experience definitely makes me nervous at times, but all I can say is that my second impression of Madrid has confirmed my belief in which Madrid is a beautiful country with wonderful people, art and food. I had my first impression like Regina, but I didn't make it my last. Can you say four month fiesta of knowledge? I can. 

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