There’s no better feeling than a countdown to something you’ve been looking forward to. Be it Christmas, going on holiday, seeing your best friend for the first time in months, whatever it is, there’s something exhilarating about being able to mark off the calendar and being yet another day closer (without wishing life away of course). My friends and family know I’m serious about something when I stop talking about weeks or days and start measuring the concept of time in sleeps. “Only 3 more sleeps”. That’s exactly how long it is until I finish up work this week for my summer holidays.
Here in Madrid, the month of August is pretty much a write-off. It’s essentially like the whole country finishes up for school holidays. Everybody takes time off work and school and escapes the unbearable heat and humidity of the city, taking refuge in the hundreds of pueblos and playas Spain has to offer – at a much more reasonable temperature of course. As a non-Spaniard, the concept takes a lot of getting used to, and to be quite frank, it still baffles me that everyone can take their holidays at the same time and yet things, businesses and economies, stay afloat. That being said, it’s quickly become one of my favourite parts of Madrid culture. I mean who doesn’t want to relive that feeling of finishing up for school holidays?
That school holiday countdown was one of the best as a kid, wasn’t it? You’d start to get less and less homework to do each night, lessons would get less and less serious as the days went on until you ended up pretty much colouring in for 4 days straight in the last week of term. Everyone was in a better mood knowing that in a matter of days and hours, freedom would ensue. That’s the exact feeling I have this week. Everything seems less of a chore knowing I’ll soon be putting my out of office on (the adult version of running out of the school gate for the last time that school year).
To be completely honest though, the lead up to my summer holiday countdown has been spectacular itself. One of the great things about living in Madrid is how easy it is to travel about and go on weekends away – staycations as they’ve now familiarly become known post COVID. Since the start of June, I’ve already been lucky enough to go away on 4 mini holidays, meaning I’ve been living in a constant state of “only so many sleeps” until the next adventure. Work hard to play hard, right?
And to top it all off, summer’s only just beginning as I’m finally flying home to Scotland for a few weeks to spend time with family and friends. Admittedly in this context I use the word “summer” loosely, as by the looks of the weather forecast (lots of cloud and lots of rain) it seems I’ve missed out on the heatwave back home. But regardless of the weather forecast, if my weekends away are anything to go by – filled with memories I’ll cherish forever – the rest of summer is going to be incredible. Only 3 sleeps. Complete disconnection and quality time with loved ones pending…