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2 posts categorized "Claire Trescher"

The rain in Spain

I’ve been told time and time again that it rains only a handful of days during the summer here in Madrid. What did it do the first 3 days here? POURED. I’m going to look past that and say it’s not a sign because at least we were stuck in orientation the first 3 days.

The first week was jam packed with things to do. Day one dragged on forever because I refused to take a nap and I felt awful. (Highly recommended though, because I slept 10 hours that night and woke up free of jet lag.) On top of that, I was trying to get to know people, but honestly I think everyone was on the same page to make it a no judgment zone because we all were exhausted.

Orientation sessions were actually super helpful. They got a little repetitive at times because I’d spent the last 2 months reading up on Spain and being an auxiliar.* However, the CIEE leaders packed so many helpful tidbits and examples to help all of us little baby birds spread our wings.

Things covered in orientation:

  • Cultural differences between the States and Spain
  • Tips for teaching
  • Accessing hospitals: emergency, non-emergency, and mental health
  • Process for opening a bank account
  • How to get a phone plan
  • Advice for apartment searching
  • Submitting documents to get our metro card
  • Applying for our residency in Spain (the most helpful thing we did!!!)

We didn’t just do logistical stuff though!! Our orientation leaders took us out on the town and showed us some of the wonderful things Madrid has to offer. After our first morning of sessions, our group of 10 found a tapas place to eat, and then we wandered around the city. Eventually we made our way to a Flamenco show at Cardamono. We tasted a little vino tinto (red wine), gazpacho,** and of course bread. 

Flamenco at Cardamono

The next day, I signed up for a tour of Northern Madrid because that’s where my school is located. I also eventually found an apartment in the Northeastish part of the city, but more on that in my next post. That evening, the program organized a Sideria. Delicious sidra (cider) and food all around. A Sideria is typical to Northern Spain, but we made an exception and it was soooo delicious! 

A picture of how the cider is supposed to be poured to maximize natural carbonation

Last, but not least, we went to Matadero, a slaughterhouse/restaurant/event space, where we ate lots of pinchos (little bites of food). This was my favorite dinner by far because it was incredibly delicious. Plut we’d made it through orientation so it was like our little send-off into becoming real people in Madrid.

Now it’s a month later, it hasn’t rained since orientation, and I’m finding myself settling in more each day.

*Assistant. Our official title is Auxiliar de conversacion y cultura = conversation and cultural assistant
**A soup that is made up of raw blended vegetables

Nothing ventured nothing gained

            My mom always said this quote to me growing up. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I slowly understood the meaning more and more as I gained more life experience. How am I supposed to gain anything, whether it is personal or professional, if I don’t venture and immerse myself in new experiences? Shoutout to my parents who instilled the adventurous quality in me. Exploring is now a deeply rooted part of my identity.

            Ever since I studied in Chile 3 years ago, a little voice has been nagging at me to move abroad again. It wasn’t until the voice was shouting that I took the big first step: I applied to a bunch of international programs and jobs. In the midst of other applications, I got accepted to the CIEE teach abroad program in Spain! With only 10 days to decide on my fate, I said, “why not!” and accepted the position. Since that monumental day of acceptance, my decision to move to Spain feels as good as a snuggly glove.

            I don’t know where my life will take me next summer when my teaching duties have been fulfilled. Will I stay in Spain? Will I continue on as a teacher? A writer? It’s anyone’s guess. What I do know is that from the moment I step off that plane, each and every experience I gain will water those roots that allow me to keep growing.

            So despite the last minute packing chaos and pre-departure nerves, I feel more ready than ever to leap into a new chapter. I’m pleasantly surprised at myself for making such a big life change and I hope this sets precedence for bold decisions throughout my life. But before I get ahead of myself, I’m soaking in this moment in time when my journey is taking me to teach English in Spain. I’m grabbing the bull by the horns (Pamplona, anyone?) and jumping into my madriculous adventures.

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