Monthly Archives: September 2013

La primera semana: This is hard.

Sooo: After going out the first night, I ended up not getting up the next day until 1pm. Which was good, because after forcing myself to not nap upon arriving in Spain and then staying up til late-according-to-spanish-standards, I got some good rest and think I adjusted well to the time difference. After the first day, I don’t think I’ve experienced much jetlag.

Step 1 on Day 2: Get some damn coffee. Made me a whole new man, ya gotta love the delciousness of the café in these parts. Then, made a visit to a Día just down a way from my hostel (my favorite grocery from sevilla!) and got some familiar items — jamón, pan, this weird but delicious juice/milk combo. Suuuuper cheap, like 4euros for it all and I still have some ham left 2 days later. It’s definitely going to be possible to live cost-effectively here, I think, if I just do things the smart way instead of the easy way.

Plaza Mayor, en el centro de la ciudad Plaza Mayor, en el centro de la ciudad

Then, spent an absurd amount of time looking for converters for my American electronics. Like, an hour and a half, which constituted visiting a dozen stores and traversing the entire city center. Chinos in Madrid aren’t quite as obvious as they were in sevilla, where the stores were actually named “Chino.”

I went on the converter-hunt with Andrew, and the two of us have actually become pretty good friends. I mean, it’s kind of easy for that to happen when you’re two Americans together in a foreign city. He reminds me a lot of Gabe, my roommate from Sevilla and to this day one of my very closest friends. Except that, while Gabe was perfectly fluent in Spanish and mine stunk at the time, this time mine is pretty decent but Andrew has zero knowledge of spanish. Like, actually zero. It’s an interesting perspective, being on the other side of this friendship/language situation. Just interesting.

That reminds me too, me and Andrew were discussing how just surprising it is too see non-Spainards living in Spain who speak Spanish just like Spainards do. For example, the people owning the chinos, or the people working at the Doner Kebap (which by the way, KEBAP thank the lord you are back in my life!). In the U.S., immigrants who do speak English speak it with an accent remniscient of their native tongue. But here, if I couldn’t see the person, I would think this person of non-Spanish descent was just another español. I mean, it might be a bit dumb to talk about, and it makes total sense that these immigrants have grown up here speaking the language as their first — like I grew up speaking English in America — but that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t catch me by surprise all the time. Just blows my mind. Makes it seem like Spain is […]

La primera “update” mientras en España! — Day 1

The foods I missed the most from Spain The foods I missed the most from Spain

¡¡Ya estoy en Madrid!!

Ok so I’ve been real bad about updating this blog so far, but I promise it’s with good reason — I’ve been busy settling myself into the city and searching for an apartment (or “piso”, which means floor but how españoles refer to an apartment), which has proven extremely difficult.

But I’ll start at the beginning. I left Greenville, SC Monday morning for Atlanta with my two checked bags and one carry-on backpack — to me just the right amount to pack for a year. Flight to ATL was easy enough, just 30 min. Had a five-hour layover in atlanta, but it was and I actually used up every minute of it by way of catching up on emails, reading, etc.

Flight from ATL to Madrid wasnt bad, for being 8.5 hours. Had some mechanical trouble at the beginning. I was supposed to have an aisle seat, but I switched to a middle seat after a husband and wife wanted to sit next to each other. This, after being moved up closer 15 rows — just goes to show you there’s two sides of every coin, I guess. Anyway, the flight wasn’t too bad for a middle seat; I had planned on watching a few episodes of The Newsroom and reading my book during the flight, but both of the people on my sides were asleep for pretty much the whole flight, so I couldn’t reach my stuff. But I ended up getting a lot of sleep on the plane, and the food was great really, so no pasa nada.

(Also if you havent caught on yet– this is going to be a very detailed post. I like to keep records of everything I do abroad, so just fyi!)

I get to the airport, and I can’t even express how good it felt to know I was back on Spanish soil. Coming back to España was something I have wanted ever since I left my semester abroad in Sevilla — NOT to try to re-create that very experience, but to create a new one in a country I absolutely love. I was a bit scared […]

Cada final es un nuevo comienzo.

Packing

It takes a lot of steps in order to get to Spain

2013-09-11 17.39.20

I write this while sitting down on my couch, about halfway done with my packing in preparation for a year in Spain, with just a few days more to go — and not much else to do other than wait. Alas, it has taken a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of patience to get me to this point.

If you’re interested at all in the Spanish government’s program for allowing Americans to enter their country and do some teaching of English, or you think you may ever be, then you’ll probably find this post interesting. Myself, I’m writing it down just so I have a record of just how crazy it was to jump through all the hoops of the Spanish and American governments (but for which I am very thankful to have the opportunity to do so, of course).

When I first firmly decided to do this program, I realized that there weren’t that many application materials for it. Just one letter of rec, a statement of purpose that allegedly never gets read by anyone, no knowledge of Spanish required (I mean to them, if you speak not a lick of Spanish that’s a-ok, because then you’ll be doing nothing except speaking English — which is your job). The main thing that stood out to me is that this program is strictly first-come, first-served: The sooner you submit your application, the more likely you are to be accepted into the program and the more likely it is that you’ll be in the location you want.

VIsa paper CUThey didn’t release the date of the app’s opening until just a few weeks prior (typs of the spanish government, always keepin ya hangin), but as soon as it was official I honed in on the date and made sure I had my materials ready. I unfortunately was working the evening the app opened up (opened at midnight spanish time = 6pm in SC), but as soon as I got home I sped through the application. I was […]

So this is real life

So begins another adventure, so begins another blog! And this adventure, it is coming up soon. In just about 6 days, I will be leaving good ol’ Greenville, South Carolina, USA, to begin a year of teaching English to elementary schoolers in Madrid, Spain. It’s a dream I’ve had ever since I returned from studying […]