This is what two days look like when you move to another country! Let’s start with yesterday morning. I had to be out of my AirBnB by 10:00 a.m., but I could not stay with a family until 5:00 p.m. So I had to figure out what to do with my 50-pound bag, 20-pound backpack, and huge guitar case. I walked about half a mile with everything and found a coffee shop. There, I looked for apartments online. My prayer at the beginning of it was, “God, please help me find an apartment, and let me find it today.”
I found about 20 apartments that looked decent. 10 people did not pick up, 7 picked up but already rented their apartment, and 3 people still had one available! Imagine the stress of finding an apartment in the States… Now add a language barrier to that! You have to speak 100% in Spanish to figure out if it is available, and if you can visit it. So I quickly learned words like “responible” (available) and phrases like “Estoy interesado en su apartamento. Puedo lo ver?” (I am interested in your apartment. Can I see it?) It’s probably broken Spanish, but it’s what was needed. That same day, I was able to visit two apartments! The first was actually the one I committed to! I just had peace about it. The landlord is nice, and the apartment is only three rooms. It’s me, the landlord, and one other guy from France. It also has a nice view from the third-story patio. The second apartment had 15 rooms, and they all shared a kitchen—no thanks! So I move into my apartment tomorrow! I am so glad to have found an apartment five days into my time in Madrid.
Before the feeling of success from finding the apartment, I left the coffee shop and still had four hours with my luggage. I needed a little comfort, so I went the American cuisine route for lunch. One of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. Of course, the burger was named, “Kevin Bacon.” The nicest guy was my waiter. He was patient with my Spanish, he offered help with finding an apartment, and he let me stay there for two hours to search online for apartments. I have been amazed at the kindness of the people here!
I ended up lugging my stuff to a wonderful family’s house. I had met my friend Elena around 2 years ago while she was doing a study abroad program in Lakeland. Her family has let me stay with them for two nights, and it has been delightful. This morning, I went with them to my first Catholic mass service. Not that I am Catholic or plan on becoming one, but I really appreciated the service. Then to lunch at their grandma’s! You know when you are invited for family time with a Spanish grandma cooking Spanish food, you never pass that up! I met her cousins, who are some of the funniest people I’ve ever met. The food had a lot of ham in it, which food in Spain does, and it was delicious! Just the sweetest people too. They taught me a Spanish card game.
After, they taught me another game! It’s called paddle ball. It’s played on a court similar to tennis. The court is smaller, though, and there is a brick wall on the back end of the court. The racquets are not stringed like tennis but are instead this thick, soft plastic. Hard to explain, but we played for hours, and I loved it!
It was 9:00 pm by then, and it was not even dinner time yet! I am still adjusting to late meals here, but we ordered pizza and had a great time together. I believe the warmth of a family being together cannot be topped any anything, ever.
What a full two days, but my heart is full, and I could not be happier here. Tomorrow, I interview for two English-teaching jobs and move into my apartment. Looking forward to posting the next update!