Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Day

Some interesting, non spanish related things first:

Got off the plane in Charlotte and met up with Jake (another guy in the program). He mentioned there was a Barcelona soccer game on soon, and that it should be playing at the airport bar. We head over to the "Fox Sports Skybox Bar" where everything is Fox Sports Net (tm) themed. After ordering our food we ask the waitress if she can put on the game, she says no, to which we tell her its on Fox Sports, to which she replies "Oh, we don't get Fox Sports here". Something to do with the satellite I guess.

Eventually I went to a news stand and picked up a "Dream Water". It comes in a small bottle like 5 hr energy, but is supposed to help you relax and fall asleep. I had my doubts but it worked like a charm. Slept probably seven of the eight hours on the flight.

Got off the plane in Madrid, picked up my luggage (with no problems thankfully) and headed outside baggage claim. There Teresa (our host family) was waiting for us. We took the bus back to her place. Along the way, in very broken Spanish, we started talking to her. Although I can usually grasp the important ideas of what she is saying I only understand about half of what comes out of her mouth. Its a combination of vocabulary I've never heard and verb tenses I don't remember. Extremely nice lady though, very funny.

Her apartment is on the 9th floor of a building right next door to a large park in Madrid called "Retiro". The apartment is large in terms of actual space but small in terms of the layout. Everything is compact from her dish washer to her kitchen table. Everything is only as big as it needs to be to function. It doesn't feel cramped though. There are five rooms, I share a double with a guy named Jack. We arguably have the best room in the house as we have the only other balcony besides her, over looking the city (see pic below).

She cooks us three meals a day, and does our laundry. The food is awesome and I hate doing laundry.

After lunch we decided to explore the park (Parque Ritero). "Park" is a bad name for it, really its a giant collection of everything spanning a few square miles. There are gypsies trying to sell you "healing herbs" and people selling fake DVDs/Glasses/Bags that all scatter when the police come by.

There is a building called the "Palacio de Cristal" (Crystal Palace) which is pretty interesting. Its basically a big glass building resembling a green house with a steep slide in it. I'm sure there is some historical significance (the building, not the slide) but all we saw was little kids going down the slide. Speaking of which, its incredibly weird to hear little kids speak spanish, I don't know why.

Dinner is served at 9pm here, which is hard since I usually eat dinner at 4:30pm haha. Then my first day of school tomorrow.

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