De Vuelta en Madrid
Now that I’ve been back in Madrid for over two weeks, I suppose I’m long overdue for an update. So, hello. Here I am in Madrid!
I arrived to cold, rainy weather, bleak apartment prospects, and a rapidly developing common cold, but things began looking up on the second day when I scored an apartment, and, on day three, I was out of the hostel and bearing some semblance to a real Madrid resident!
My apartment is small (fairly normal by Madrid standards) and has a…less than stunning view (I’m not entirely convinced that those cement windows facing my bedroom window aren’t jail cells), but the location is just about perfect, the rent is low, and my roommates are awesome. I’m living in the neighborhood I dreamed of living in, Malasaña, an area known for being the center of the Movida Madrileña (the hippie movement after Franco’s death in 1975) that is today full of cute shops, diverse restaurants, and alternative bars and clubs. I’m a five-minute walk from a metro line that connects to the town I work in, and I can easily walk to all of the best parts of the city.
I live with two Venezuelans (and a brother and sister) and a Peruvian guy, all of whom are super friendly and fun. They’ve invited me out a few times already, so I’m thinking they’ll be a great addition to my social life (as well as a great source of Spanish practice) throughout the year.
Last Monday, I began work. Although I have one year of this teaching assistant program under my belt, I was anxious about what I would find at a new school in a new city. As it turns out, my school is fantastic. Great teachers, great students, an impressively high level of English from students and teachers alike, and an overall excellent vibe. Being in a big suburb of Madrid is quite the change from my tiny, agricultural Andalucían village last year. I’m psyched that I get to experience both worlds.
Beyond apartment-hunting, work, and pesky bureaucratic errands, I’ve been keeping myself super busy with friends: some from home, some from last year in Sevilla, and others I’ve just met. Last night was my first night getting home before midnight (or later) on a work night since I arrived. Exhausting, but what fun would a year abroad be if I were actually getting enough sleep?
All in all, I’m ecstatic to be back in Madrid, a city I’m tempted to call the greatest city in the world. It’s going to be a phenomenal year.