Arrival!

I’m finally here! After some intense luggage-hauling on the metro, up the metro stairs, back and forth through my neighborhood (where the average age seems to be about 60), I finally found my apartment number, 146 on Paseo de Extremadura. My landlord, Jose, and his wife were extremely welcoming and accommodating, working with my rusty español and drawing me maps of the neighborhood. The apartment has four bedrooms, a kitchen, a nice lounge area, a hallway, and two bathrooms (pics to come), and the other roommates will be arriving next week, so I’ve got the place all to myself for the weekend.

First thing on the agenda: grocery shopping. I got introduced to a cheap grocery chain called Día around the corner, and I’ve already been there twice. Food here is surprisingly cheap, so the roommate grocery shopping competitions here won’t be as brutal 🙂

Second on the agenda (very boring but the highlight of my weekend it seems): the grueling hunt for a new voltage converter so I could plug in my dying American electronics and since I discovered that mine was broken. I had to carry the broken converter around, explaining what I needed to about 5 different confused people before a Brasileño in an internet cafe finally understood. He took me to about 3 different tiendas, most of them strangely enough run by Chinese folk, but to no avail. Then, a trip to Plaza España by bus, to the shopping mall Corte Inglés, to 6th floor electronics. And now I am whole again with a charging laptop and phone.

Okay, interesting things now: I am always surprised by how welcoming the Spaniards are and how they’re always willing to help out lost little tourists. And they are always pleased when you make an effort to speak their language. Central Madrid seems so much less brutal in comparison to New York; rather than bulldozing their way through the streets, the people saunter hand-in-hand down the criss-crossing avenues. The kind of strolling that I have a hard time getting used to. After spending some time in a neighborhood café with a cup of coffee, I’m already starting to feel a bit more adapted. Even after one day, I’ve grown more comfortable with speaking Spanish and have even learned some new words by watching daytime TV. I have another day til my class begins…this means I’m off to free Sundays at the Prado art museum! =D

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