Spain is truly vibrant and exciting when a festival rounds the corner. As Spain celebrated its independence this past month, people from all over the country came to Madrid to watch and take part in the annual representation and acknowledgement of the monarchy. This also included fly-over and a military parade. In Spain there is a different military that represents each province. They all have different uniforms and types of marches. I ended up going a bit later than expected so I had to fight my way through to see the diverse excitement. No worries though, I blend in very well with blonde hair and blue eyes, so many people let their fellow Spaniard through. This may be a little off topic but I truly feel like the minority in Spain. Little kids stare at my hair all the time and I constantly here “rubio” behind my back.

There are also many days where they celebrate the saints of importance to Spain. These days always fall in the middle of the week.

My favorite experience so far is when I decided to take a day trip to a very small town called Avila. I had read about the enormous historic wall that surrounded the city and protected it for many years. I couldn’t find any one that was interested in it so I eventually bought a ticket and went by myself. The morning that I left my host mom told me that Avila was the most boring and depressing city in Spain. For me I feel like I need to see everything that I can. In my mind if I don’t get to see as much as possible whether it is interesting or not at least I won’t look back years from now and wish I would have checked it out. So, I went to Avila and it was just my luck that it was the feast day of St. Theresa, the patron saint of the city. There were celebrations everywhere. There were parades, bands, and events on every street.

I came up with a thought when I came to Madrid and it has served me well. Embrace every opportunity that is in your path. Not everything is going to be placed directly in front of you and made easy. Opportunities and experiences are always going to be available, but you have to be the one to seize them.

Spain is a wonderful country and I am very fortunate to be part of it.

Paul Krechel is studying abroad at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija in Madrid, Spain.