27.10.18 — Journal

My Last Week at Erretres

This week I’m back to the usual format of journal-style blog posts, bringing updates from my previous week or so here in Madrid. If you read over my last blog post, you’ll know that this past week unfortunately marks one of my last here living in Madrid, and it’s been my last working in the Erretres office. More on that soon, for now I’ll go over what else has been going on in the meantime…

First up I had the pleasure of being able to spend a few days chilling out with Thuy, who was on a fleeting visit to Madrid in between changing jobs. Luckily her visit coincided with a national holiday, so we spent a Friday working at her flat, before then heading out in the evening for some delicious food in the city.

The sunset over Malasaña

After a delicious dinner of Japanese food, we spontaneously decided to climb up to the roof terrace of the Hotel Óscar in Chueca. There we grabbed just one drink, mainly because they were wildly expensive, but also because we were getting sleepy rather early in our old age…

Cheeky drinks on a terrace
A gorgeous sky down the road

We were treated to quite the sunset as we wandered home.

The next day the two of us met up once again with Thuy’s friend, heading first for a Korean lunch and then to the Archeological Museum for an afternoon of culture. Once again, however, we eventually grew weary, and all headed our separate ways in order for an early night, which I spent watching Netflix surrounded by candles.

Wandering around Ópera

The day after was then spent with another troublesome duo, Cami and her puppy Luke, who had a few hours to spend in Madrid as they traversed Spain from Murcia up to Asturias – a bit like I did a while back!

Luke, Cami and me

I met Cami and Luke down in Atocha train station, and we headed straight to a spot that I’d chosen for lunch. There we filled ourselves up on satay chicken and Vietnamese bao, before heading out for churros and chocolate to fill up our secondary dessert stomachs. Luke was very well behaved throughout, and so we headed over to Retiro, Madrid’s big park, to stretch his legs whilst we saw the sights.

Lunch with Cami
Luke enjoying the sights of Retiro

All too soon we had to head back to Atocha, where I waved Cami and Luke off as they headed northwards in their carshare. I then headed back to pick up my stuff from Thuy’s flat, but she had to dash for the evening to meet friends, and I had things to think about as I went home and prepared to let Erretres know of my decision to leave.

Out at a shopping centre for tea

I treated myself to tea out that evening. I had a lot to think about.

Once my decision to head back to England was finalised, I let HR know and then began to wonder how best to announce it to the rest of the team. It wasn’t going to be easy, as I will miss them all a lot, and so I thought the blow would be best softened in the only way I knew how – with cake. In a little gesture to apply a bit of Spain to my British Victoria Sponge recipe, I decided to flavour the cake with chocolate and hazelnuts, imitating Spain’s answer to Nutella: Nocilla.

Making the Nocilla cake

Having loaded the centre of the cake up with the chocolate spread goodness, the following morning I gathered the team and announced my leaving, and was met with an outpouring of love. Keeping my cool, we shared the cake to positive reviews, and then I sat down for what was otherwise a relatively normal Friday.

The weekend after, I went out to visit an exhibition at Caixa Forum that I have been wanting to check out for quite a while. The “Arte de contar historias” (The Art of Telling Stories) exhibition was a look over Disney’s history of retelling and creating stories through his movies.

The vertical garden outside Caixa Forum
Heading out into the city afterwards

Unfortunately, photography in the exhibition was not allowed, but I spent over a few hours exploring all the artefacts and reading up on all the stories that were on display. It was a really fabulous experience, and if you’re in Madrid you should definitely give it a visit! Given that it was quite a pleasant day, I decided to walk my way home from the exhibition, wandering down through Lavapiés and exploring a few streets I’ve never seen before.

A Saturday stroll through Lavapiés

The day after marked my last day in the flat I was living in, as I’d found a friend to replace me and booked an Airbnb for the last two weeks of my stay in Madrid. Packing my sole suitcase and dragging it once more through Madrid’s transport system, I eventually settled down in my new room, and before I knew it, it was Monday morning and the beginning of my last week at work.

Walking back to the Metro after work
Heading towards the Jardines Orientales

This week was spent working away ready to publish a new project on the Erretres website, which I think will be live soon come next week, but for now I’ll have to keep an eye on the website and let you know when it goes live on there!

As my last day approached, I had a plan to bring in some British snacks – just like the last time when I left after my internship! For this I had to head to the east of the city, and to the Spanish incarnation of Poundland which I was introduced to soon after I first arrived here back in early 2016.

Wandering around Madrid's east end
A Metro station stripped bare
A Metro station stripped bare
Arriving back home

All too soon my last day came along, and I headed in with my bag full of snacks and a bowl full of coronation chicken for a little send off party in the office. I arrived to an office full of leftover pizza from a company event the day before, and thus commenced a relaxing final day full of grazing on unhealthy food!

Looking from my desk

After working away all morning, it was soon time for our monthly company meeting in which five people present projects they’ve been working on, both in and out of work. This time it was my turn, and I was nervous as it was my first time standing up and presenting wholly in Spanish. I can’t talk about the project that I presented as it was a wholly confidential, but I think I managed to explain it quite well, as afterwards I was met with a round of applause.

Presenting to the team

Upon wrapping up my presentation, the food was rolled out, and I spent a good hour in the office chatting away to everyone and saying my goodbyes – that until I realised that we’d not touched the coronation chicken I’d made, and so we agreed I’d simply have to come back on Monday to share it with everyone. My final goodbyes have yet to be made, then, and so I didn’t feel too bad as I wandered out of the office.

Next week I’ve got lots of stuff coming up, including many goodbye lunches and then the arrival of my dad on Thursday, and so unless I grab a minute during my hectic week, I expect that the next time I write to you all will be from the cold countryside of the north of England.

I could leave this until Monday, but I think it’s fitting to mention it now, and that’s just that I’d like to thank the whole team at Erretres for the amazing times we’ve had over the past two years or so. From arriving the first time without speaking much Spanish at all, to crazy Christmas Dinners with the team and plenty of exciting projects along the way, it’s been an honour to have the opportunity to work with some of the funniest and talented people I’ve ever met, and an awesome chance to live in Spain and enjoy all that it has to offer.

I shan’t turn this into a boring wedding-style speech, so I’ll cut it there and shan’t start getting soppy or listing names – everyone knows who they are. Until I return, wish me every bit of luck, as the main thing stressing me out right now is the idea of having to fit my life into a suitcase and not get stung by Ryanair if I go over the 20kg limit…