When I am asked “how long is your commute to school?” and I respond “an hour and a half.” Everyone’s immediate reaction is quite hilarious to me. “What?! (they gasp) Your commute is an hour and half? How do you manage to survive such a long commute?” First and foremost, I always love getting asked this question because it allows me to shed some positivity on what others perceive to be a negative experience. That is why I have decided it would be a great idea to “blog” about my commute and explain how having a longer commute doesn’t have to be a “dreadful” situation. I’m going to quickly make a breakdown of my daily commute; Metro-10 minutes, Cercanias-45, Bus-25 and 10-minute walk to get to each destination. One quick word of advice “wear comfortable shoes!” The amount of times I’ve had to run in order to catch the metro, train, or bus; wearing my athletic shoes always came in handy. Nevertheless, I want to be able to help relieve some stress or anxiety for anyone who has discovered that their school placement isn’t near the city center of Madrid. Please don’t be alarmed or discouraged if your school is away from the city. I have learned that this is a great way to explore other parts of Madrid that I may have never explored before. I have listed four ways to enjoy your longer commute!
1. Podcast Galore
This is a great time to download and listen to any podcasts that catch your attention. One of my favorite traditions to start my day in the morning is to listen to “Oprah’s Soul Sunday” podcast. It allows me to close my eyes and to be fully immersed in what is being said. To be honest now that I have made it a daily habit to listen to these type of podcasts I have noticed a positive difference in my life. It set's the tone for me every morning, where I feel truly happy and grateful to live here, and to work with the students and other teachers. A lot of other Auxiliares I have met agree that the commute is a nice way to listen to a few podcasts.
Right after class and my tutoring sessions, I have discovered the best way to wind down & relax is by meditating. While I am on the Cercanías heading back to Madrid I use "Peaceful Meditation" since I go home at 7:30 p.m. I have noticed that hardly anyone is on the Cercanías. According to Healthline "Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health." Here's a link where they list the "12 Science based benefits of Meditation to help inspire you to take advantage of meditation during your commute: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation
3.Pick Up a Book:
When I lived in the U.S I rarely had enough time to read a book. That’s why I truly enjoy my 45 minute Cercanías ride to and from school, it allows me to indulge in a good book (after I meditate). Right now I am currently reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (I highly recommend this book!) Even when you take a moment to observe everyone else, a lot of individuals are reading. This is also a great excuse to go to a local bookstore and find a book (if you want to practice your Spanish get a book in Spanish!).
4.Explore Outside the City Center:
My school is near “Alcala de Henares” which is a city northeast of Madrid. Monday-Thursday I have two hours of free time before I go to my tutoring sessions. This gives me some ample time to explore Alcala. I've also become a regular at "Manolo bakes" a pastelería where you can a fresh cup of coffee and their famous manolitos for less than three euros. This is a stop that you can go to by using your abono card, I highly recommend that you visit this beautiful town!
Ultimately I can safely say; “You got this.” I promise you that once you get to school and see your students smiling faces (and getting ambushed by hugs from them) that hour and a half commute won’t be so bad after all.