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One of the best parts about living in Madrid is the close proximity to so many other cities, giving you plenty of options for day trips. My first trip to El Escorial was over seven years ago when I studied abroad my junior year of college. I knew what to expect, but I was still just as impressed as the first time.

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Friends and family have been asking for updates and wanting to know what I’ve been up to since I arrived in Madrid last week. And to be honest, my life has been kind of boring. Since I had a list of things to do when I arrived including finding an apartment, I haven’t been able to see the sights or do much of anything fun. Here’s what I was up to my first week. I know once I’m settled and have a routine, my life will be more interesting. Hopefully.

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I’m so excited to finally share that I’m moving back to Spain! After over a year of planning, with lots of moments of excitement and uncertainty, I’ve purchased my ticket and am in the process of packing my bags. Deciding to move back to Madrid was a little more challenging for me this time around. Given how close I am to my parents and my sister just getting married last month, I feel at times I’ll be missing out on a lot, but I also know I’m not getting any younger and this also may be my last chance I get to do something like this.

Ever since I left Madrid over five years ago I’ve been trying to figure out how to get back, and not just for a visit. While my plan may not be an ideal move for most adults in their late 20’s, it feels right for me. This opportunity to go back to Spain will allow me to travel a lot more, something I’ve been anxious to do for a while now. I’ll be teaching English through The North American Language and Culture Assistants program, the same program I did right out of college. I’ll also be living in Madrid again, my favorite city in all of Europe. I know I’m taking a huge risk (and a little bit of a pay-cut) but I know I’ll regret this if I don’t go. I don’t ever want to look back on my life and wonder what it would have been like to live in Europe again.

Ever since applying to the program in January of this year, being accepted in February and finally being placed in July; I’ve been obsessively planning and preparing for this move. Everything from getting a new passport to picking out all my apartment decor at Ikea, my friends and family have been listening to me talk about Spain non-stop all year even if they didn’t want to hear about it.

While I spend my last two weeks in the states finalizing everything and saying my goodbyes, here are a few things I’m looking forward to most once I’m back in Madrid.

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Located about 22 miles northeast of Madrid is Alcalá de Henares, birthplace of Spain’s most well-known author, Miguel de Cervantes. If you’ve been living under a rock all your life, Miguel de Cervantes is the author of ‘El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha’, or just Don Quijote as its more commonly known. The book is a series compiled of short stories about Don Quijote and his sidekick, Sancho Panza.

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Toledo, a World Heritage Site and former capital of Spain is rich in history and culture. I first fell in love with Toledo in the Spring of 2003 during my first trip to Europe. I've been back a few times since, and each time is more magical than the last. 

Here are 10 photos that will make you want to visit Toledo right now. 

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