1. You’ll realize that everything you thought you knew about Spanish is wrong.
The difference between colloquial Castilian and what you were taught in high school is astonishing. You’ll get lectured by locals on using the vosotros form and teased for saying ‘ahorrita.’
2. You’d rather look cool than stay cool.
Appearance is everything in the city. The heat of early fall won’t deter you from wearing your scarves and boots. You’ll be determined to dress as well as the Madrileños and learn to cool off by bringing your abanico on the metro.
3. You’ll stop taking pictures of buildings.
Every day you’ll walk past gorgeous historical monuments like La Plaza Mayor and La Palacio Real without a second glance. You’ll stop noticing them altogether and living amongst such beauty will begin to just seem normal.
4. You’ll obsess over Spanish food markets.
Countless nights will be spent near Sol at Mercado de San Miguel and in Chueca at Mercado de San Antón. You’ll happily fight the crowds to find the best jamón Ibérico and pincha de tortilla.
5. You’ll adjust to a late-night schedule.
The idea of a 7pm ‘early’ dinner will soon seem odd. Instead, you’ll have dinner at 10pm, pre-game around midnight at Dubliners Irish Pub and head toward the club at 2am. The sun will rise before your head hits the pillow.
6. You’ll wonder if/why everyone is fighting.
Spaniards and generally loud and expressive. You won’t always be sure if people are yelling or just chatting, but you’ll learn to do it too.
7. You’ll meet with friends in a common square for ‘El Botellón’ nightly.
Gathering together to drink out in public squares and parks before going out will become your favorite pastime. You’ll wonder why the rest of the world doesn’t do this to save money.
8. You’ll stop rushing through meals at restaurants.
Relaxed, long dinners are how you’ll make it through the night. You’ll no longer be bothered that the staff can’t be bothered by you and you’ll learn to ask for ‘la cuenta por favor’ after a few hours of lingering over tapas.
9. You’ll stop asking if people speak English.
Many Madrileños are overconfident about their language skills and you’re better off chugging along in Spanish. Eventually you’ll give way to Spanish after labored exchanges destroy your hope for intelligible conversation.
10. You’ll start and end every sentence with ‘Vale.’
You’re not a true Spaniard until this word, meaning ‘ok’, is interjected into everything you say. You’ll even blurt it out when you’re not speaking Spanish.