Madrid has been great so far, for several reasons. 1) Cristina’s mom is writing a cookbook, and she’s trying out her delicious recipes on us. I’ve already had vegetarian paella, a Spanish tortilla (what we know as an omelette) and an incredibly rich chocolate cake. Yeah, I’m definitely gaining weight here. 2) Like many Spanish families, Cristina’s brothers and sister still live at home and they get along better than any siblings I’ve ever met (“Can I borrow your cream dress?” “Of course, what’s mine is yours.” “I love you so much.”) It’s like living with the Brady Bunch. 3) I’m sleeping on a mattress again and am no longer being eaten alive by vicious insects while I sleep.

Last night, I went to a club inside Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, home of the 2010 World Cup champions. I drank liquor for the first time in ages because it’s not popular for clubs to carry wine here (for some reason I thought people drank wine all the time in Spain, but that’s not true). We left around 2 a.m. and Cristina’s sister Sandra asked if I wanted to go somewhere else. I should mention that she had just returned from a 100-mile, 10-day pilgrimage with her dad. Our conversation:

Sandra: Do you want to go somewhere else?
Me: Aren’t you tired?!
Sandra: A little, but it’s so early.
Me: It is?
Sandra: Yeah, if someone asked me if I went out tonight, I’d say no, or maybe that I had one drink, because it’s so early.
Me: I would say that I had been out all night.

Haha. Spain is a great place to visit, but I could never live here! I’m definitely trying to go with the cultural flow, but it’s taking all my strength not to fall asleep at the dinner table at 11 p.m.