Buenos días! Last year was an amazing year in my life because of the incredible experience I had studying abroad in Costa Rica - memories I still think about constantly. Here I am, Summer 2011, and I am fortunate enough to be spending it in Madrid, Spain. Well...almost Madrid. I am living with a family, to be their English tutor, in Boadilla del Monte which is just outside of the city.
I left on Tuesday, May 31, from Madison at 7am and got to O'Hare with 2 hours to spare before my flight at 12:45. The lines were crazy, I think there was a group of about 30-40 Italians in front of me for check-in and they were also on my flight. I arrived to Atlanta at 3:30 and misread my ticket which meant I went to Gate A when I was really supposed to go to Gate E to board my connecting flight at 4:05. Needless to say... I was running. If there is one thing I dislike, it is running. If there's something I dislike more, it's running through airports. I looked like a fool I'm sure but I made it just in time. The lady next to me on the flight was very sweet. She and her family are from Georgia but live in Madrid doing some sort of mission work and we had some nice chats about jobs and travel and teaching. When we landed she gave me her contact information if I ever needed a "change in scenery". The line through customs was also long and once I got to the baggage claim I thought that my larger suitcase was lost, but it turned out it had just fallen off the roundabout thing and the same woman on the plane helped me find it. My host mom and dad were waiting with a sign that said "Katie" and they had been quite worried since the flight technically landed at 7:30 and I didn't get out to meet them until 9:00am (Wednesday). They brought me to their house and we chatted along the way and I know already I am going to get along great with them. They are very, very nice and easy going. I was completely exhausted since it was technically 3am for me so when I got to the house they let me nap until lunch at 2. When my mom came to wake me up I felt like it was a different day and I was still totally exhausted. I had my first Spanish meal. Not really sure what it was. Two different kinds of pasta, one made with a tomato kind of sauce and the other was a bit like tortellini. I made the mistake of telling my host mom when she asked me if there was anything I didn't like to eat that I didn't like milk so now she thinks I won't eat anything that's even made with milk. She could not believe it when I told her. "But...everyone likes milk, no??" I laughed and she said "No really....in Spain everyone likes milk." So the tortellini pasta she told me not to eat because it is made with milk. I laughed and had to tell her that I CAN and like to eat things made with milk, I just don't like to drink it by itself. We had a nice lunch, talked about lots of different things, mostly in Spanish but sometimes in English. I see that Spanglish will be quite popular in the household while I'm here. My mom, Oli, is so cute and we already have had a couple funny misunderstandings. She asked me what time was it in the US and I didn't know because I didn't know what time it was at that moment in Madrid. So I asked her what time it was and she thought I didn't understand her question. So she kept trying to tell me "No I mean in the US" and I kept saying "I know, but what time is it here?" and back and forth. Finally we got it cleared up.
After lunch I unpacked, took a shower FINALLY and changed into different clothes. Then Patricia came home from school and I got to meet her. Oli says she is very shy so she made her show me around the house and yard. She at first tried talking to me in English but was nervous. Then her brother told her that I speak Spanish and that made her excited that she didn't have to try to communicate only in English with me. Could be a downfall in my success as their teacher. I'll have to lay down some laws. Then Oli took me to see the train station and the bus stops that I can take to get to Madrid. Then we went to the mall nearby where I quickly came to the realization that I did indeed over pack and will most likely be buying another suitcase for all my new purchases. No bueno. Better to stay away from the mall for now.
It was not much different than any mall in the US, or the ones in Costa Rica, except it also has a grocery/Wal-Mart type store in it. We bought some groceries, she tried to get me a card for the cellphone they are lending me but couldn't find one, and I bought a new watchband. She also bought us ice cream so we are pretty much going to get along splendidly. We ran into a problem with my laptop charger because I didn't bring an adapter with me. While we were grocery shopping, Jose Antonio, my host dad, was trying to find a store that sold them but he couldn't find one. On the way home, we had an idea to ask the neighbors across the road who have an English tutor coming in a week and a half to buy one and bring it with him when he comes. Ibana, the neighbor, actually already had an adapter that an American who lived with her before had bought so she lent it to me for the time being, until we can find the place that whoever it was bought the adapter from because apparently they bought it here.
Now I'm finally in my room relaxing. It's almost 9pm and its still very light outside so it feels a lot like home. It also feels like 5 days have passed instead of just two. I am reallly tired still, but trying to stay awake to get used to the time change. Tomorrow Oli wants me to start doing some English lessons with Jose. Haven't explored too much or taken any pictures yet but hopefully soon!