Two years ago today, I packed my life into a 20kg suitcase and got on a one-way flight to Madrid. Which is weird.
There have already been one or two posts about what happened during my year in Spain on this blog so perhaps no more needs to be said. But anniversaries or milestones like this always bring on a massive nostalgia attack, and it has made me think how much has happened since I moved back to England 14 months ago. So, for the benefit of future me, and anyone else that actually reads this blog any more:
I finished my last year in university. Throughout the year I talked at several open days for prospective uni students about the year abroad opportunities at Leeds, and the most common question I got asked was whether I was worried I would have no friends when I returned. But my final year at uni was by far my favourite, and it would not have been the same without the incredible new set of friends who kindly never allowed me to feel like the loner fourth year who sits alone in lectures. So, thanks pals. Sean and I stumbled our way to the final of the negotiating competition (where we were machine-gunned by Bethany single-handed, but let’s not focus on that bit). I did a work experience placement in the legal department of Marks & Spencer in London, and also managed to write 12,000 words about prisoners’ voting rights. Plus I somehow graduated with a first class law degree, which is nice.
I got rejected from a whole load of jobs, from law firms to recruitment firms to MI5, but as the saying goes: before you find the right job, you have to kiss a few frogs, or something like that. An intellectual property firm in Manchester simultaneously rejected me from the job I interviewed for and offered me a different one. So now, in an unexpected turn of events, I live in Manchester. Even more unexpectedly, I absolutely adore this city. I WAS PHOTOGRAPHED BY HUMANS OF MANCHESTER IN MY FIRST WEEK, LITERALLY TICKING OFF A LIFETIME DREAM. It has been so great to go for a wander around the city at weekends, and I’m really enjoying my job and the office life.
My new job meant I had to cut short another festival-packed summer, but I still managed to squeeze in Latitude Festival just before graduation. As I have said before, Latitude is by far my favourite of all the festivals, and this year’s was my favourite festival ever. My nighttime shifts as supervisor of three campsites were pretty brutal, but it was worth being exhausted for the rest of the weekend. I made some brilliant new friends, hung out with loads of old ones, packed in so much great music and even managed to watch George Ezra, Clean Bandit and Lykke Li from the side of stage (in the company of one or two Haim sisters, naturally). I plan to go to Latitude every single year. One festival a year just isn’t enough though, so I impulsively bought a day ticket for the Sunday at Leeds Festival. Along with Leah, we ran frantically from stage to stage and caught so many bands, culminating in a heavenly back-to-back session of Bombay Bicycle Club and Arctic Monkeys, even bumping into the beautiful Rae Morris along the way.
Oh, and I also hung out with Lorde, Haim, Clean Bandit, George Ezra, Foxes and MØ this year too.
At the start of summer, I went back to Madrid for a post-exams treat with Heather. We kept commenting how weird it was that it didn’t feel weird at all; it genuinely felt like I had only returned to England for a weekend and was still living in Madrid. We spent our time hitting up our favourite spots like the Rastro market, the San Miguel food market, Ochoymedio club and of course, the Retiro park. I was reunited with my former flatmate Pablo and his friends Júlia and Paula, who cooked us up a Spanish feast. It was really positive to feel like I do have friends in Spain. Madrid certainly has my heart and is definitely one place I will always return. In fact, I might book a one-way flight now…