02 October 2013

La vida española

Ok, so I know I disappeared for quite some time, BUT I promise it's for a good reason...I didn't have wifi.


And then Blogger deleted my post and I had to write this entire post again so there's that.

I have now been in Spain for almost a full three weeks, and I'm going to attempt to summarize my first week here by breaking it down into sections. I'll write more on other stuff (namely, school!) in another post. Let's boogie.


On the morning of my departure from the States, I still couldn't quite wrap my head around leaving. I'm not really sure if it was denial or just a general numbness to avoid feeling anything too extreme. Saying bye to my little kitty was sad, since I so enjoy cuddling with her, but it was a bit easier to leave when she scratched my arm.
I was fine at the airport. Truly, I was. Until it came time to hug my mom goodbye. I don't really know how to describe it, but there's something different about a hug from your mom, and more so when you know it will be quite a long time before you can do it again. It was so incredibly hard to let go, turn my back on my family, and walk through security to catch my first flight to Boston. I'm not much of a public crier (though I do admit I cry a lot), but I couldn't help it on the three-hour flight. I was leaving behind almost every single person I love and hold dear, and as much as America drives me nuts sometimes, it's still home.
My flight overseas was much less tearful, especially once the tiredness set in. I arrived in Paris at 7:30 in the morning and used my broken French to cross what felt like the entire city of Paris just to get to the Air France terminal. Y'all, seriously, install some trams or something.
And then of course I went to the bathroom to put on some makeup because no way I was showing up in Madrid looking like something out of American Horror Story.


Going back to my point of being a cry-baby, the opening scene of Love, Actually always gets to me. There's just something so great about arriving at an airport and having someone there waiting for you with open arms and lots of love.
In a way, my arrival in Barajas was the closing of a giant circle. In the same spot where we said goodbye so many months ago, my Novio was waiting for me with a huge smile on his face. And yes, his hair was much longer and we were both dressed in summer clothes and we had individually been through so much in our time apart, but in that moment I swear I could have been in a movie. No photographs, please, paps.
My program provided us with accommodations in Moncloa, an affluent neighborhood in northwestern Madrid. I was really impressed with our hotel, namely the shower and bathroom were rocking. I was really lucky to have a great roommate who I got along really well with. After a brief chat, I strayed outside to explore my new home for the next 9 months. I took the metro directly into Sol, the dead center of Madrid, where I proceeded to get myself some cheap wine and a new SIM card. Spanish phone number, ca-ching!


CIEE provides us with four days of orientation while the government provides us one day after we're done with CIEE's. Even if at times the information was similar to things I heard before studying abroad or even just plain dull, orientation made me really thankful for choosing to go with CIEE rather than the Ministry program.
Topics we covered include:

  • Metro passes
  • the Spanish school system
  • Phones
  • Apartment hunting
  • Banking

I promise I'll write a post on all these to try to help fellow auxies out because...it's a lot.
As for the government orientation...well, I'm just glad I brought my phone and some pen and paper.

Moving abroad might seem extremely glamorous, especially moving to Europe (anyone else remember that That's So Raven episode where her cousin comes from Paris??). In a lot of ways, it is. Spain is a wonderful country and Madrid is a large city and it's always just bursting with life. But it's not always easy. I don't know anyone here, so I'm still trying to find my "group" of friends and even people for other things like a hairdresser, manicurist, etc. I'm terrified of screwing my students up or of being pick-pocketed on the metro. The transition hasn't been easy, but I think being off the internet for a while made it easier to sort of not hold on desperately to everything at home and try to find my own footing here.

I'll update y'all on whether I'm successful or not. Actually scratch that, you'll know if I'm successful based on whether or not I write. Ha.

Hasta luego!

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