My first week in Madrid has been a great success! I found an apartment, got my new Spanish phone number, took care of my legal documents at the BEDA orientation and made a few friends along the way. While it has only been a week, I feel like I’m already becoming (re)accustomed to la vida española.
However, the stress of apartment-hunting makes it feel as though I have been here for way longer than just a week! Everyone had warned me that finding an apartment would be tough, but I had no idea how much patience and energy it would take. During my piso-hunt (piso = apartment) I stayed in an 8 bedroom hostel near Sol. Once the wifi café around the corner started to recognize me as a regular, I realized that it was time to pull the trigger on the search. After countless awkward phone calls in spanglish and over a dozen piso visits I picked a place in a local neighborhood south of the center called Lavapiés or Embajadores.
For all family and friends my address is Calle de Arganzuela, 18 2D, 28005 Madrid.
So while studying in Sevilla last year did prepare me for living in Madrid, there are a few funny things that I had forgotten about Spanish lifestyle…
- Jamón. People here really do love their ham, almost to the point of obsession. You see legs of ham hanging in windows, on posters and there is even a Museo de Jamón. In Sevilla I never really appreciated ham, but the other day when I tried some I was reminded what all of the fuss was about.
- You will walk slow and god damnit you will enjoy it! Whether you’re behind tourists or madrileños you will likely be walking at a glacial pace. Somehow Spaniards seem to never be in a hurry, always just casually strolling and chatting with friends. So I’ve been trying to appreciate my longer city walks just people watching and looking at buildings.
- Three words: Tinto de verano. Most people have been complaining about the 100 degree weather, which is very rare for Madrid in September. My favorite way to beat the heat is to duck into a bar and ask for a tinto de verano. It is basically like sangria, but even more refreshing (my personal opinion).
- ¡No te preocupes! While this whole first week I could have been freaking out about not having my FBI background check, not knowing where I’m going, or basically being homeless in Madrid, I had to remember one thing… that I was finally in Spain! Spanish people kept telling me not to worry about it, and they were right because worrying would not have changed anything. There is very much a “chill” atmosphere in Madrid that things get done when they get done, and there is nothing you can do to change that. So with that one must accept their lack of control and just learn how to go with the flow.
- Vale. I hear this a gazillion times a day. It is basically just your answer to everything. (Ok)
While I am learning so much really quickly, I always have questions unanswered: Like why is there only one type of pasta sauce? How do all of these beautiful Spanish ladies wear heels on cobblestone? Why are curtains so hard to find? When will my landlord answer my Whatsapp messages? And still… for god sake WHY does no one here like peanut butter!?
Since my bags are finally unpacked, the next few days I can relax and enjoy the city a bit more. This upcoming week I’ll have my first BEDA class, I’ll start teaching at my schools, and *hopefully* I’ll be getting my metro card and taking a day trip to Toledo. Stay tuned for more pictures and adventures!
To learn more about my bilingual teaching program (BEDA) or the school where I have been assigned, check out these links… they may be in Spanish.