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Orientation Week

Buenas Tardes Everyone! My first week in Madrid is coming to a close and I still cannot fathom being here a whole year. I don’t know if it’s because I have been go, go, go since landing and just bobbing and weaving with everything thrown my way, that I haven’t had much time to reflect, and/or that I have been privileged enough to travel quite a bit and feel at home in most places. Stay tuned in case I determine the answer.

In other news, over the short time that I’ve been here for Orientation I’ve had quite a few new experiences. Among them are:

•Walking to lunch, walking to dinner, walking tours of neighborhoods, walking, walking, and more walking which has me logging at least 10 miles a day. After three days of this, every step I took made me feel like my calf muscle was tearing from the bone… I swear I work out haha All is well now, I’ve got them walking legs strong!

•I am learning to love siesta time! I never used to nap but Spaniards take it seriously by shutting down shops around 2 P.M. to have lunch with their friends/family and then nap. I have been siestaing everyday since Wednesday and essentially I wake up feeling rejuvenated, shower and prepare as if I’m just starting my day for the first time. That being said, I now eat dinner closer to 9 P.M. and get home anytime from 4-6 o’clock in the morning. The late mornings are due in part to me getting lost with friends on walking “adventures” with inadequate GPS routing and an illogical street layout (not in a grid with typical number or letters for street names like major cities in the States). Late morning arrivals are also due to losing track of time by getting caught up in socializing and being so enthralled by the sites, sounds, and smells of my new home.

•I have encountered a 24 hour pharmacy where essentially the Pharmacist is trained to diagnose most issues without me having the hassle of going to a doctor to get a prescription. I walked up to the pharmacy at 11 PM because I got poison ivy/poison sumac from Watershed (camping festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre) and showed her the rash on my heel through the glass pane separating us from roof to floor. She asked me “what you do?” and I said I don’t know and that I think it’s hives or something and then she proceeded to bring back some antihistamine pills and asked if I wanted a cream too. I said “sure” because I just want it to stop bothering me. I gave 10 euros into a metal box, she shut my side of the box and opened her side, proceeded to take my money out and input my change, receipt and the drugs, shut her side of the box and then opened mine back up and then I was on my marry way. Fascinating.

•I love me some 3 dolla Rioja Tempranillo! It’s red wine which I typically disapprove of but Spain doesn’t add sulfites to their wine so it’s delish and I wake up feeling refreshed! Looks like I’ll be having grapes for dinner quite often…

•WhatsApp is the primary mode of communication. Everyone has a data plan and can often find WIFI so that’s how the Spaniards and foreigners can best communicate. That being said, WIFI is much slower here vs. the States. I personally appreciate it because it discourages me from being glued to my phone and electronics.

•I have the best roommate I could have asked for! Her name is Elaine, from Georgia, used to work at an Advertising firm and decided to severe ties for this opportunity. We are enduring the challenges of having a host Senora that speaks zero English. The first day was a real challenge but we are starting to get settled in and Google Translator is coming in clutch.

P.S. I’ll start being better about photograph inclusion moving forward. I just haven’t been photo snappy happy.

That is all for now. I’m off to go help the roommate find a neighborhood for housing so you know that that means, more walking! Woo! Toodles for now!

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