Today's one of those days when I love living in Europe. Here are five things I love about Madrid:
1. The smell of the air from dusk to dawn. It smells of rain and autumn and orange blossom all in one, and it floats through my big square windows like a secret just for me.
2. Young children, walking around with their parents, dressed alike in a way that seems so utterly dear here in Spain: the girls in matching red sweaters and corduroy skirts, thick, red bows in their dark hair; their brothers in cordoroy short pants, crisp collared shirts, and matching red V-neck sweaters. They look so happy (even when they are crying) and loved.
3. Warm baguettes for breakfast, topped with olive oil and tomato.
4. How Spaniards gesticulate so much and speak so passionately that it took me a full year to understand that they were just conversing and not having arguments on every street corner.
5. How buildings here all have interior patios that face one another and so I can open my window in the evening and hear neighbors putting their children to sleep, smell the sizzling fish in someone's frying pan, and listen to the faint music from someone's radio. It's comforting, like someone's arms around you, like being a child and hearing your parents downstairs when you are trying to fall asleep in the dark.