It has been a whirlwind of a week - lots of adjustments and excitement. Orientation went well and offered a good deal of insight in terms of banking, phone plans, important documents and appointments, meeting people, learning how to get around and a nice introduction to the culture of Madrid. (I posted a couple of pictures at the end of the post, so if you're interested in checking them out make sure to scroll down!)
At this point, I am sitting in the lobby of the hotel, surrounded by other auxiliars all looking for housing. It is here that I find myself so relieved. I happened to log onto Facebook the last night of orientation (Thursday), right before we headed out to our "Farewell dinner", and saw a post for a family looking for an "au pair" near Arganda del Rey (the suburb where I will be teaching). I sent a message and got in touch with the woman and, next thing I know, I was making my way the next morning to the very school where I will be teaching to meet with this lovely woman, who is a teacher at the school I'll be working this year.
That in itself was a blessing, I met a lot of the teachers at the school, the bilingual coordinator, the director of the school... And everyone was sooo wonderful! I spoke with Raquel and had a really good conversation with her about the possible situation and everything sounds very reasonable. I think it is going to be a great experience...
So, the plan is to meet her again tomorrow at her house, to see where I will be living and meet her boys! I am excited for the new journey (and what seems like the ideal situation). There are still a few more things that I need to do in the meantime - print out paperwork, make copies, pick up my bank card, and go to my TIE appointment (to apply for my residency card) - but I recognize that I am in a really good place right now.
The only "glitch" in my living situation is that Raquel asked for a week before I move in - and we have to be out of the hotel by Wednesday (unless I want to pay to stay a couple more days - which was a pretty definitive "no"). I decided, in the end, that I would make the most of my break between Wednesday and Saturday to travel back to the first city I ever truly experienced in Spain - Salamanca. I booked a bus to and from there and a hotel for when I am there. I decided that, since I won't be putting down a security deposit or needing to pay rent, it is a good way for me to spend that time (since I'd be paying to live somewhere for those three days anyways, why not make it a place that I'd like to go and see again??).
In the meantime, I will finish working on all the final paperwork and appointments as I look forward to my first adventure outside of Madrid. Feel free to check back and hear more about the upcoming excitement! Until then, ¡buenos viajes!
A look back at the week...
(The Crystal Palace, as the sun is starting to set, in Retiro Park. Fun fact, at one point Retiro park was only open to royalty - that's a lot of beautiful space for a very small group of people!)
(The "center" of Madrid, located in Sol.)
(My "café con leche" in a local coffee shop, where my orientation group stopped before heading to watch Flamenco!)