There are a lot of reasons to envy bears. They are adept at catching fish with their hands, which I haven't seen a human doing outside of Mulan, they are outfitted with a nice and quite fashionable coat that works with all seasons, and their diet of berries and honey works for me. Yes, bears have a lot going on for them, but I would say the best thing they do is hibernate. I mean, what a concept, you know? All summer you work up to being a fatty no-friends, gorging yourself on all of the wonders of the forest, getting chased by bees, all that fun stuff. Then, when the weather starts getting nippy, you find yourself a nice warm cave, kick out and wolves that happen to be in the vicinity, and just curl up and sleep. I mean, doesn't that sound amazing this time of year? As someone who doesn't do the whole Christmas thing, honestly, right about now I could use some cave time.
The problem with Madrid is, well, let me stop myself right there, because, when we start talking about the problems of Madrid you need a snack and a comfortable chair and a bathroom break and maybe a drink or two because that's like a whole day right there. But one of the MANY problems of Madrid is that as a catholic nation, Spain is all about the Christmas in a big way. Now, I myself have no problem with "La Navidad" back home in my native land. Sure, lot's of things are closed and, frankly, red and green looks good on approximately NO ONE (sorry to burst that bubble there), but as long as movie theaters and Asian communities stay open I'm pretty much good to go. The trouble is that here in Spain things don't actually work that way. This place truly does shut down for the birth of Jesus, everything just stops. Cafes, shops, supermarkets, pretty much everything but the churches, for some reason, are shut down from the afternoon of the 24th to the morning of the 26th. I know. Crazy.
So really, the truth is that I have no choice but the hibernate at this time of the year. And that is exactly what I have been doing. Curled up in my little cell-like room, gorging myself on Spanish cookies and endless cups of tea, I've honestly almost forgotten that the outside world is all about decking the halls with boughs of whatever. However, while bears sleep all winter, I myself will be exiting my period of self-imposed hibernation, and, in fact, the Spanish Empire, in two short days. That's right, gentle readers, I'm off to Bundesrepublik Deutschland, or Germany, for those of us not born with pretzels and beer in our hands. In the beautiful and, might I add, very cold city of Berlin I will be checking out museums, cafes, some famous wall-thing, and spending time with my delightful compadres in struggle, Ben and Michael (hi, guys!). So even as my struggle in Spain draws to a close I can see the next struggle on the horizon, glowing in the light of the northern European sun. Bring it on, Berlin. After my battles with dusty Spain, I think I'm ready. And as for Madrid, well, suppose I must bid it a semi-fond farewell. It's been, at the very least, emotional.
Leah Franqui is a fairly interesting person/director/writer/reader/eater/drinker. She likes ugly dogs and dislikes her hair in the morning. She's a sucker for environmental causes and plays hardball with deals on chewing gum. She is a struggle.