Monday, May 24, 2010

Spain: May 22-24

Hoy es mi dia tres en Madrid. Es muy bonita aqui. Los edificios y monumentos son muy vieojos y grande—pero magnificos. Me gusta mucho Madrid : )

Translation: Today is my third day in Madrid. It’s beautiful here. The buildings and monuments are very old and big—but magnificent. I like Madrid a lot.

See? I am learning Spanish! Yay me!

We arrived on Saturday around 10:00 AM (that’s 4:00 AM Georgia time, for those who were wondering about the time difference), after a plane ride upon which many of us attempted to sleep (note the word attempted). I was nervous as heck when Karin and I met our madre, Felcitatas. She understands NO English whatsoever. She might have thought we were deaf, dumb, or nearly mute for the first day because we pretty much just smiled and nodded with the occasional “Si” thrown in for good effect. We were so overwhelmed. It’s gotten so much easier to converse with her now, though. She actually has a friend that occasionally comes to visit who we met Sunday night who is bilingual, so she can tell us any Spanish words we can’t think of. The apartment is nice, too. It’s bigger than I was expecting, and very clean. Karin and I have a pretty lavender room with a window that we open to get some airflow (no air conditioning is not fun). The apartment is also near one of the main centers of Madrid, and theoretically we can get to anywhere in the city very easily and quickly by bus or metro (the subway, which our madre says not to ride as much as possible because they will cut off our fingers for our rings…her words, not mine. Thankfully, we’re not wearing any rings.)

If you noticed I said “theoretically,” it’s because Monday (my birthday, no less) we got lost TWICE trying to get to the school and then to the correct bus stop. We probably spent an hour and a half put together walking around the Salamanca burrio (the most expensive shopping district in Madrid…Prada, BCBG Max Azria, Bebe, etc.) trying to find both these things. We are seriously lacking in map skills…haha. We’re totally safe, no worries, but we’ve pretty much figured out where we’re supposed to be now. Once lost, never lost again (hopefully).

Our Sunday was spent in an orientation meeting in the morning and then a tour of the city in the afternoon. Orientation got me so very nervous, I was almost sick. It didn’t help that I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before (I tossed and turned for almost two and a half hours before falling asleep), and I felt really homesick. I got over it pretty quickly, though. The tour was fun, and then we attended a church service at the First Baptist Church of Madrid. Singing hymns in Spanish was amazing, especially because some were just translations of English songs I already knew. We went out to eat tortillas potatas (potato tortillas…muy deliciosas!) at a little place called Mason de la tortilla, and then some of us hung out in the Plaza Mayor until almost midnight. We were waiting for the subway home when the clock struck tweleve, and Erica, Kelly, Molly, Karin, Logan, and Erin all sang Happy Birthday (en espanol, of course) to me. It was quite an experience.

Classes today were really awesome. The profesoras are really chill and nice, and we get a little thirty minute break at 10:30 (class starts at 9:00). It lets us get out of the classroom and go down the street to get a smoothie or coffee or fruit or something. Me gusta! There are eight people in my class, all from Samford (Erin, Karin, Laren, Logan, Christin, Victoria, Taylor, and myself). It’s a lot of fun, and if the first day was any indication, class will not be too difficult or boring. It’s still hot, though. But Madrid is just hot PERIOD.

An interesting note: One of the landmarks we use to remind ourselves which bus stop to use is a cow/bull in a matador costume. It confuses us because it has spots like a cow, but horns like a bull (and the costume suggests bull, too), so we’re guessing this is one seriously gender confused bovine (that’s our name for it: Gender Confused Bovine). It’s quite fun.

Tonight our madre came into our room at 11:00 going "Fuego! Fuego!" and running toward the door. She wanted us to come see the fiesta for the Virgin Mary at the high school down the street. They had fireworks, a DJ, and lots of dancing. Even the grandmas (including our madre) were dancing! It was so fun(ny)!

The first three days have been a whirlwind, but a good one. I’m looking forward to the next five weeks.

Hasta luego!

Faith. Trust. Pixie Dust.