The piso search: Part II

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I’m no longer homeless!

Hokay so I’ve been bad about updating this blog so far, but it’s because I’ve been so busy with finding a place, moving, starting work this week, etc. Today is Friday so I have my first off day from work, so I thought I’d try to knock out a few posts!

Ok going back to where I left off a couple of weeks ago: On the first Friday I was in spain, I actually found a place I really liked. It was super cheap: 280 euros rent, plus about 35 in utliities a month. It was super close to the train station I needed to be near for work, and I really loved the neighborhood it was in: Not too boring, enough going on so that you still know you’re living in a big city, but the kind of place where you can become a regular.

So I told the guy right after he showed it to me that I wanted to rent the place, could I move in? He said I couldn’t until next Monday or Tuesday, though, because he actually had 2 rooms free and he was trying to rent them to a pair of friends so that he could knock them both out. I said ok, whatever, I’m still booked at the hostel until Tuesday anyway, I can just wait it out. So I was feeling pretty good about things all weekend, I didn’t even go visit anymore pisos because I thought I’d find a good one at a great price.

So I call the guy Monday afternoon and ask if I can rent the place and move in; he says call again that evening. I call again Monday evening — he says call again Tuesday. I call on Tuesday, he said call again later.

At this point, I chose to give up on this guy. He was being wack as hell, clearly just stringing me along as a backup but he would def give the rooms to a group of 2 if he could, and then I’d be out on the streets. Plus at this point my original booking at  the hostel was done, so I started making individual bookings for 2, 3 nights more. I just decide to not call the guy anymore, it’s not worth my time.

Then Wednesday afternoon, he finally calls me and says yes, I can rent the room, I can move in Friday afternoon. I was ecstatic! Felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Then Friday rolls around, and I check out of my hostel at 11:30am, per requirement. I look down at my phone to call Adrián, the guy with the piso, only to found a text message that made my heart drop. It said more or less, all in one text message, “Hello I am not in Madrid today so you can’t move in today, bye.” Like, that was it.

I was furious. This guy was being all kinds of things that I can’t print on the Web. Two other things had already concerned me about the place: One, that there was no contract, and this guy had already been suuuuuuuper sketch, without a  contract he could technically kick me out whenever he wanted; and two, I would be living with him, and he’s the landlord, and I’d heard from tons of diffierent auxiliars that that is definitely not something you wanted to do.

So I was freaking out at this point, because I HAD JUST CHECKED OUT OF THE HOSTEL. I had nothing. I jumped onto like 5 piso-searching websites and started searching like crazy. It was rough; I was finding actually a number of cool places, but nobody would responsd to my calls or messages. But some God-given bit of luck, I stumbled upon a piso that had just been posted 10 minutes ago, really really close to where I was in the hostel. And it was cheap — just 300 euros.

So I call the number provided, and I get a response on my first try — biiiiig smile on my face. I set up a time to go see the place (literally one minute walking from my hostel), and I go with another homeless auxiliar because she was still buscando también.

Simply put, the place was incredible, and so was the roommate, María, I met who showed me the place. She asked us what we thought of the place, and I actually said in Spanish, “Look I have 400euros in cash and my passport with me, I’m ready to go.” I think that caught her off guard a bit, haaha, we were actually the very first people to see the listing.

She said she wanted us to meet the other two roommates, and then they could decide on if we could live with them. That was fine with me — yes, I needed to make ANOTHER new booking at the hostel, but the place was amazing, and it was all going pretty well. I felt confident that we would get the place.

We meet the other roommates Sunday afternoon, and all went well, they said they’d get back to us as soon as possible. Well 10pm sunday night rolls around, and I’m still homeless. Legit just been chillin in the hostel’s common room all day, I’d checked out in the morning because I was confident we’d get the piso. I can’t explain to you how long I lived at that freakin hostel. A solid 13 days, wayyyy longer than 95% of the 30-or-so auxiliares who were staying at Way. Like, I’d lived there so long I’d had longgg conversations with the cleaning ladies about their life stories (I met one from Peru who was super nice!), and I’d legit lived in three different rooms and checked out three separate times. Work was beginning in two days, and I needed to visit my school tomorrow. I was ready. To. Go.

I JUST WANTED TO UNPACK!

Anyway, I was about 5 minutes away from booking another night at the hostel (which I mean was a fantastic hostel — best hostel staff I’ve ever met, super accomodating), when the gods looked down on me and I got a call from María saying — WE GOT THE PLACE!!! I was so happy. I said look I know it’s late (11pm), but can I please go ahead and just move in and unpack?? She said yes, of course, and unpacking felt incredibleee!

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I was thinking about it the other day, and although it took me a really long time to find a piso (and forget that Adrián guy, what a jerk), I literally could not be happier with the place I’m living in now. It is ridiculously spacious for a spanish apartment, and my personal closet is stupid huge, I’ve never had one so big (in contrast, most apartments I saw had wardrobes that wouldn’t hold all of my clothes). It’s decorated really nice, and I love the huge living room with so much natural light and the balconies; that’s where I spend most of my time, that’s actually where I am right now. The kitchen is simply incredible, and the place has 2.5 baths with 5 bedrooms, which is outstanding for spain. Plus the location is incredible: 10 minutes walking from puerta del sol/the center, so it’s really good for when I go out, and really well-connected for going to school (My school’s actually outside Madrid in another town called Getafe, so I have to take a regional train to get there; my commute each way is only one hour though, which is pretty good for Madrid).

But hands down, the best part of the piso is my roommates! I originally wanted to live with only spaniards who couldn’t speak much English, so that  I could practice the language, but that actually proved pretty difficult to find (51% of the people who live in Madrid are actually non-Spanish, what with all the university students from across Europe, etc.). I live with one other auxiliar from the States who’s around my age, her name is Mercedes; two 28-year-old Spaniards from Galicia who have been dating for a few years, María y Guillermo; and a 33-year-old Italian named Antonelo.

The roommates are awesome. We speak in spanish most of the time, but Mercedes and I also like to speak English with them because they want to improve their own skills. Everybody is very nice and polite, and I actually usually have conversations in Spanish with María and Guillermo most nights during dinner (Guille doesn’t get home from work until 10:30), and we talk a lot about spanish culture, how things differ from the states, etc. It’s everything I wanted in an apartment, really.

And it all always comes back to the people. That’s why I didn’t mind terribly much living in the hostel for so long (except for not being able to unpack, that was pretty rough), because the staff at the hostel were incredibly helpful and welcoming; it actually felt like a home to me, and because I’m so close to the hostel I’ll still go visit those people and have a caña with them. I’ve met a lot of cool people here — it’s like study abroad, only a certain, outgoing type of person is going to choose this kind of going-abroad-somewhere-new adventure — and I have a lot of good friends. And I love my new compañeros. La vida está bien.

more to come soon!

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