The Intentional Expat

Living Your Best Life Abroad

30/30 Bday Challenge Week 4

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In honor of turning 30 this year, I’ve challenged myself to do one new thing a day for 30 days: the 30/30 Birthday Challenge. It’s not always easy to find something new to do, but I’ve managed to pull it off. Read below to see what new things Week 4 had in store for me:


Day 22: First time getting in touch with so many Facebook friends.  I took advantage of my participation in the Big Blog Exchange contest in order to send personalized messages to over 150 of my Facebook friends that I hadn’t been in touch with for awhile. While my messages did earn me a few more votes in the contest, the best part of all was to catch up with so many of my friends whom I hadn’t spoken with in too long.


Day 23: First time calling my host mom. When I did an intensive language course for two months in Madrid back in 2008, I lived with a sixty-something year old eccentric Spanish woman. When it was time for me to leave Madrid, she gave me this ceramic elephant, which she said was a symbol of good luck and she made me promise her that I’d return to visit when I came back to Madrid to teach English in the fall. But as it turns out, I didn’t come back in fall 2008 because I got a great job offer to travel around Europe with a group of study abroad students. And when I did finally return to Madrid to teach English in fall 2009, I didn’t call her. For the past five years, I’ve frequently thought about giving her a call….but the years kept passing by and I never made that phone call. Then, when cleaning out my room at my parent’s house this summer, I came across the ceramic elephant once again and I knew that calling her was going to have to be a part of my 30/30 Challenge. The short version of the blogworthy story is: I called her up, we had coffee and even after seeing me, she has no recollection of who I am. But the lesson still stands–it’s never too late to get back in touch with someone.

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Day 24: First time visiting “El Surtidor,” a bar in the Embajadores neighborhood of Madrid. I’m trying to get better at saying yes to spontaneous plans and this was just one of those. For the past week, my friend and I had been  trying to find a time to meet and catch up after summer vacation. We’d finally decided that Saturday would work when she sent me a follow-up message saying “Why don’t we just meet in an hour?” It turned out to be a great evening enjoying what’s left of the sidewalk cafe weather around here,  in a part of Madrid that I don’t know nearly well enough.


Day 25: First time discovering the park across the street from the Canal metro. Yet another reminder to me that even after five years in this city, there are still places that I have yet to discover. While life in the big city sure has it’s downfalls, whenever I need to get in touch with nature, there’s always a green space nearby here in Madrid.


Day 26: First time submitting a proposal for a TEDx mini presentation. The 30/30 Challenge has been teaching me that when an opportunity crosses my path, I’d better seize it. Or when I feel inspired to do something, now is just as good of a time as any. Which is how I found myself uploading a proposal for a discussion group for this month’s TEDx conference that will take place here in Madrid. I’ve now spent every day since asking myself what I was possibly thinking in doing so, but like it or not, it’s too late now and I’m sure there will be lots to learn from this experience!

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Day 27: First time playing “Concept” board game. At first I felt really frustrated by this game. It seemed way too complicated to even give it a try. But before I knew it I found myself getting wrapped up in competing with my friends and challenging myself to think outside of the box. In the day to day routine, sometimes we need to force ourselves to step outside of the familiar and just PLAY!


Day 28: First time attempting to see the sunset from a new spot in Madrid. What could have been seen as a failed attempt to try something new, ended up inspiring a blog post and my next 30 day challenge!

Stay tuned for how the last two days of my 30/30 Challenge turned out, my reflections on the experience and the revealing of the next challenge that’s in store for me! 


Author: Melissa

Born in the rainy, green Northwestern corner of the United States, Melissa relocated to the almost-always-sunny city of Madrid, Spain five years ago. After getting her master's degree, traveling to places her friends at home drooled about, falling in love with a Spaniard, and having her heart broken by said Spaniard, it's safe to say that she's learned firsthand about the less than glamorous side of living abroad. Thankfully, she gets to use this experience, along with her professional expertise, in her work as a mental health therapist in Madrid where she helps other expats learn to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of living abroad. This blog is designed to be informative and is in no way intended to serve as a substitute for therapy.

One thought on “30/30 Bday Challenge Week 4

  1. Love this idea for challenge! The little ceramic elephant is adorable.


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