Madrid! It’s my fifth day here as an ‘auxiliare de conversacion’, and so far, Spain has been difficult. Adjusting to the 9 hour time change, trying to understand the rapidfire Spanish being thrown at me, looking for a place to live, navigating my way around a new city… I’m very lost pretty much all the time. The benefit to being lost is that I accidentally stumble upon cool sites without meaning to. Por ejemplo (see that? pretty good, huh), the other day while I was on an apartment hunt I turned down the wrong street and ended up in front of an ancient brick basilica. Not bad.
The hardest adjustment of all might be trying to figure out the ‘madrileño’ time table. I tried to live life like I was from Spain yesterday, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how these people do this day to day. After visiting yet another apartment, I went and met a friend for tapas and sangria at 10:30pm. We finished around 11:30 and went to another auxiliare’s apartment, leaving there around 1:30 to head to a bar. After buying a big gulp size mojito and a plate of tapas for only 6 euros (will definitely be coming back to this place), we hung out until 3:30am, and while the rest of the gang headed out to a different bar, I returned to my hostel and used Skype to catch up with my buddies back home, since it was only 7pm in California.
This morning I woke up at 10 45, feeling like a complete zombie, which seems normal after going to bed at 4:45 (how do they do it?!?). My first priority was finding a cup of coffee and some breakfast, and on my walk around the block I actually did a double take at the rows of frosted donuts in a window display. And that is how I discovered that Madrid has a Dunkin’ Donuts. Except it was more than that… it was big, and shiny, and the tables had engraved ash trays. The other customers mostly consisted of women wearing elegant scarves, and fancy boots or heels, and when I ordered a coffee, the man behind the counter steamed my milk. Who knew going to Dunkin’ Donuts could be so classy?
Anyways, it’s time to go visit yet another apartment. Hopefully by the 1st I will no longer be homeless, sharing a bathroom with the 30 other girls on my floor is getting tiresome. The most important ‘advice’ of sorts I received is ‘la prisa mata’, speed kills. So I will have to learn to adjust to this new time table here in Madrid, and learn to let things unfold at their own (slow) pace. Vale? Vale.