Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh there's no place like home for the holidays

Hey friends! As hopefully most of you know, I am heading back to NC for the holidays by hook or by crook. I was supposed to fly to the US today but bad weather everywhere has pushed back my flight to Wednesday the 23rd. Keep your fingers crossed that I'll be home on Christmas Eve! Also if you'll be in the area be sure to call me because I would love to see you! Os deseo Felices Fiestas!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

First Ultimate Tournament in Spain!

So this weekend one of our team capitan's Juan (or Jaunito), organized a hat tournament in Madrid this weekend. (Quick personal ultimate update: I was invited about a month or so to play on the Quijotes Coed team that practices Tuesdays and Thursdays. I used to practice on Wednesdays which was for the newer players. Although I definitely need to work on my game it has been nice to play more competitively and with better players). A hat tournament means that anyone can come to if they sign up. There were a bunch of people from the Quijotes who signed up as well as a couple of players from the ultimate team in Burgos and Santander. All in all there were about 50 players who signed up and 4 teams were divided up randomly by skill level on Saturday morning. My team was awesome! All the players were really nice and fun to play with. On Saturday we played a round robin of 3 games against the other 3 teams. We went 2-1 on Saturday qualifying us for the finals on Sunday. When not playing I got to socialize with some of the other players which was fun. On Saturday night a pizza dinner was provided (awesome!) and then there was a rockin' party afterwards. On Sunday, we played a round of discgolf and then moved into the semifinals and finals game. Sadly, our team (Baca con B was our name) lost in the finals 10-7 but we played a good game and had fun which is what a hat/ultimate is all about right? The ultimate season really kicks into gear in the spring so I'm getting pumped for more tournaments woohoo!!! FYI I am coming back to 'Mericaaaaaaa on December 21st (ie less than 7 days) and will stay until January 9th! Come hang out with me! Until are some pictures from the ultimate tournament.
All the players from Juanito's Hat Ultimate Tournament! See if you can find me haha

My team before our first game Saturday!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NO8DO: Sevilla hasta la muerte

This weekend in Madrid we had a 4 day weekend so Tory, Allison, Bethany and I decided to take a vacation to Sevilla! For those of you who don't know, I studied abroad in Sevilla in the spring of 2007 which is where I met Tory and Allison. All week I was excited to go back to our old stomping grounds and revisit all the places we loved to go! I got to Sevilla on Saturday by taking the 6 hour bus which wasn't as bad as I thought. After having a quick bite to eat we headed into the city center to walk around and see the sights. We stopped by the Catedral and then walked down by the Rio Guadalquivir. Then we went to eat some tapas by our hostel which were delicious per usual. After we went to hostel and got ready to go out. We went to our favorite discoteca in Sevilla, Catedral. We went there almost every single week in during study abroad so we had to make a glorious return back. It was amazing and hadn't changed one bit! We had a blast and ended up staying out until 6 in the morning! It was totally worth it even though we didn't get up until 2 pm the next day. But it was fine since it was Sunday nothing in Spain is really open except for cafes and restaurants. While in Sevilla our favorite tradition on Sundays was to go sit by the Rio Guadalquivir in the afternoon and drink Shandy, a lemon flavored beer. Thus began Shandy Sundays. We decided to continue this tradition on our trip by have a picnic lunch and Shandy's by the river which was really nice. After lounging for a while, I met up with my friend from Martin Middle School Meredith Spivey who is doing my program in Murcia. She was in Sevilla for the long weekend as well and it was fun to catch up and see how she is doing! We went to dinner all together at my favorite restaurant in Sevilla Cafe-Bar Levies. On Sunday, we started off in the morning to find some of the ceramics that Sevilla is famous for! It was a little difficult because many of the shops were closed but we found some that were open and got some really cool pieces. We finished up the day by going to see the Real Alcazar and eating lunch and some delicious Bar Manolo olives! At 6, we caught the bus back to Madrid and Tuesday was a bank holiday so it was nice to have a day to recuperate from vacation haha. All in all, it was an amazing return to my favorite place in Spain! Next weekend: My first ultimate frisbee tournament in Spain! (okay so its a hat tournament but no pasa nada)

The symbol of Sevilla that means "You have never left me"

Shandy Sunday by the river.

Allison, Bethany and I with the orange trees.

In front of the cathedral with Tory.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Madrid Thanksgiving

So last Thursday was Thanksgiving in the US and it was weird to have it be just a normal Thursday in Spain. However being Americans Tory, Allison and I decided we definitely wanted to celebrate by having our own Thanksgiving dinner in our apartment. We had to improvise on a lot of the typical Thanksgiving foods like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. We spend almost all week working to find all the ingredients for our feast. We made our pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin which was quite the experience but actually turned out really well! We also found cranberry like sauce from Ikea of all places, hahaha thank goodness for the Swedes. We invited our friends Bethany from NC, Natalia from Canada, Jordan from Baltimore, Elena from Madrid, and Alberto from Burgos to come so we could show our international friends a traditional American holiday. When Thanksgiving day finally came, Tory and I spent all afternoon after school was over preparing the chickens (turkey is really expensive and hard to find) and stuffing for our feast. We had our dinner around 10 and it was so much fun! We had a mountain of food with 2 chickens, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato balls, 2 pecan pies, and 2 pumpkin pies! Needless to say we have a ton of leftovers. All 7 of us spent the evening talking, eating and enjoying each others company. It was a perfect way to spend Thanksgiving away from home! Although I missed my family a lot on Thanksgiving, I was reminded of how thankful I am to have them. And of course as promised, here are pictures!

Our family photo!

Another pic of everyone!

Our pumpkin pie made from an actual pumpkin. I am so proud that it actually turned out to be delish.

The food! And our friend Jordan haha.

Friday, November 27, 2009

La Castanada= my first roasted chestnut!

Last week at school, we celebrated the coming of Autumn with La Castanada, or a chestnut festival. Every year the school celebrates autumn by having the kids recite autumn songs or poems. But instead of reciting them to the teachers, they have to recite them to the castañeras, or the chestnut harvesters. If they do a good job, the castaneras give the kids roasted chestnutes. The castañeras are usually mothers from school who want to help out and dress up like farmers. The kids had been practicing songs and poems in English and Spanish all week for the party. I had been working with all my classes on their English songs. I was really excited for the party Friday because I realized I had never eaten a roasted chestnut in my life! So on Friday afternoon, I went with all my classes to help with the songs and get my chestnuts! All of the kids did really well with the songs! I got my share of chestnuts and went to work on eating them. You can't eat a chestnut whole or it will be really gross, you have to peel it out of its shell which can be kind of difficult. After a lot of work and the kid's help, I got to eat my chestnuts and the were delish! It was cool to see a different way to celebrate Autumn. This week is Thanksgiving in the US and it will be weird to just have a normal Thursday. However, my house is planning a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday! It will be a little different from traditional Thanksgiving because we have to improvise on some of the ingredients. But I am excited we will be doing something and I will be sure to post pictures of our Madrid Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anna visits Spain!

This weekend in Madrid, my good friend Anna from UNC and Pleiades (my NC ultimate team) visited me in Madrid! She is studying in Florence right now for the semester and wanted to come visit me in Madrid. I was super excited to have my first visitor and I went to go get her from the airport on Thursday night. It was so good to see her and to have a friend from UNC. I had to work on Friday so she spent the day doing a walking tour around Madrid and went to the Prado with my roomies Tory and Allison. I met up with her after school and we went to dinner at the Mercado de San Migel which is a cute little market near my apartment. After fighting off the masses of people that were there we got some delicious mussels and cheeses topped off by chocolate cake...que rico! Then we went out for drinks and catching up in the Matalasana area of Madrid. The next day (Saturday) we slept in for a bit then went to the market near my apartment to get some fresh veggies for the Italian dinner Anna wanted to make. I was so excited to have some good Italian food we went all out. We got all the ingredients, bread, wine, the whole nine yards! After getting everything for dinner Anna and I went to El Tigre for lunch. El Tigre is a famous tapas place where if you order a beer or a glass of wine they give you at least 2 plates of tapas. It is amazing! On Saturday afternoons, I usually play pick up with the frisbee team and Anna really wanted to play since she hadn't played in forever. It was so much fun and nice to have an old teammate on the field with me! After an awesome game we went home and made a delicious Italian dinner with bruschetta, homemade tomato sauce and fried eggplant. Mmmmm I am still having dreams about how good it was. On Sunday Anna had to leave around 3 so we went to Parque Retiro to throw the frisbee and chill. We ate some doner kebap (really cheap and delicious turkish food) and she was on her way back to Florence! It was so nice having her here and showing someone my home!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's the cliiiiimb

On Monday there was holiday in Madrid so Allison was at home with me so we decided to take a day trip! We took the Cercanias train to about an hour outside Madrid called San Lorenzo de El Escorial. El Escorial is famous for its monastery and palace. Since we went on Monday the Monastery was closed (it is only open Tuesday to Saturday) which was bummer but we got to walk around and see how cute the town was! It was really hilly and is near the mountains so Allison and I were looking for a good trail to hike on. I remembered that one of the teachers at the school mentioned something about a famous rock up in the mountains of El Escorial that King Felipe II built to be able to watch the monastery and the palace being built. We didn't know how to get to said seat so we decided to pop into a internet cafe to look up directions. After searching around for about 30 minutes we finally found some directions that seemed easy enough. We walked past the monastery into a park and after about 5 minutes of walking we found a sign pointing toward the Silla de Felipe II. Feeling confident and excited, Allison and I walked toward where we thought the sign was pointing. We went into a park and up a trail that we thought lead to the illustrious silla. After about 10 minutes of walking we reached a convent and realized that we had gone in the completely wrong way. So we backtracked to the sign on the road and saw some people walking toward us. They told us that the Silla de Felipe II was 2 km or about 1 mile walking on the road. Although we were nervous about walking along a winding road up a mountain, we really wanted to find this silla after looking for it all day. So we started on the trek up and oh boy, was it a steep climb. We almost gave up hope after about 15 minutes of walking that we had gone the wrong way. But we kept walking and we finally found it!!! There was an 2 seats carved into the rock where Felipe sat. The view of the mountains and El Escorial was absolutely amazing!! Definitely worth the climb to the top. I got exactly one picture of the view before my camera decided to die. However, I did get some really good pictures of monastery and the town!

My only picture from the Silla de Felipe II!

One side of the monastery with a swan lake. So pretty!

The front of the Monastery.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Field Trip Time!

So this Thursday my 3rd and 4th grade classes went on an excursion aka field trip to the Jardines Botanicos in Madrid to learn about leaves. After about an hour of class we all got onto to 2 charter buses and went into Madrid for the workshop. All the 3rd and 4th teachers went as well as myself and one of the other auxiliares Yasmin. The Botanical Gardens are right next to the Prado Museum and are really pretty. Not much was in bloom at this time of the year but it was nice to be able to walk around to see the grounds. I went with one of the classes and Maria Jesus to walk around with some of the gardeners to look at how to identify trees by looking at the properties the leaves have. I now know tons about simple v. compound leaves and veins etc. The kids really got into it and were "detectives" trying to figure out what tree we were looking at based on what the leaves looked like. After we had our session on leaves we went to Retiro Park to have a picnic lunch. Having about 80 kids in a park having lunch is a bit chaotic. After the kids ate they were running around chasing birds, picking up stuff of the ground and playing. We somehow rounded everyone up to take a quick walk around the lake to look at the massive orange fish that swim around there. Yasmin and I live very close to Retiro park and it was the end of the day so the bus driver dropped us at the nearest metro stop! It was nice to get out of school for a day and see the kids outside of class. Tomorrow Allison has a day off so I think we are going to take a day trip. I'll post pictures!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Yessica, Mañana Halloween!

Well this week at school was dedicated completely to Halloween. We forgot about science and English grammar and focused on Halloween activities only. The kids were so excited about Halloween we started a countdown in class. It was a little different to go from the US where holidays are not allowed to be celebrated in school to Spain where they reserved an entire week for a holiday. Every day of the week we had a different activity like a craft, snack, or song to do or learn. We decorated the hallways of the school with bats that the kids made, streamers, and Halloween pictures. In Maria Jesus's class I helped to put up spider webs around the class and did a play for the kids based off of The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. We also learned a Halloween rap which the kids absolutely loved. In my 3rd grade class, we watched The Nightmare Before Christmas and made monster finger puppets. After spending the whole week decorating and getting ready, Friday was finally Halloween! In the morning the fourth graders put on a Halloween play for the school which was so cute! Then after lunch, all the kids got dressed up to go trick or treating around school and have a Halloween party. All the boys dressed as vampires and all the girls dressed as witches. There is not much originality when it comes to costumes in Spain and everyone is something scary. I was assigned to help out with the 5 year olds to help them put on their costumes, the whole class was vampires and help them put on makeup. Then we went from class to class to go trick or treating. The kids had to sing the trick-or-treat smell my feet song in order to get candy. It was so cute! I dressed up as a pirate and everyone really liked my costume (maybe because I wasn't a witch hahaha). We ended the day with a Halloween party outside on the patio. All the parents brought snacks and candy and there was a lot of music. The other auxiliares and I set up a booth where kids could reach into a bag with peeled grapes and cold spaghetti etc to try and guess what body part they thought it was. Even though the kids acted like they were really grossed out, but I think they loved it. I really had fun with Halloween but it was exhausting! Here are some pictures!

My pirate costume! Here I'm holding out some hotdogs for the kids to touch... they were supposed to be fingers!

Another auxiliar, Rich, dressed as a mummy with some of the teachers from school.

Some of the kids from my fourth grade class preforming a Halloween play.

The hallways at school!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Los fin de semanas madrileños

When Friday rolls around and school lets out it is officially my 3 day weekend (el fin de semana) since I have Mondays off woohoo! I have been staying in Madrid for most of the weekends just to get to know the city and because I don't have any money at the moment. I get paid at the end of October thank goodness! But the nice thing about being in a big city is there is lots to do! This weekend I went out for tapas on Friday night. We went to this little tapas place called El Tigre which is famous because they give you free tapas with any drink order. We ordered glasses of wine and got patatas bravas, croquetas, bread with jamon and cheese. It was amazing! On Saturday I slept in, went to the grocery store, and then to frisbee practice. On Saturdays, Los Quijotes have a scrimmage for about 2 hours and whoever comes out can play. Its really fun and I really like the people on the team. When I got to the field we usually play on it was a total wreck. There had been a concert there the night before and there were beer bottles everywhere. So after driving around for about an hour to find another field we finally found a really nice one with grass! (all the other fields have been really really hard dirt) After we played they announced there was going to be a team party which I was excited about because its hard to get to know people when you are playing. So Saturday night I went to one of the capitan's houses to botellon (have a couple drinks and hang out) and there were about 15 people from the team there. So I got to talk to the players which was really fun. Then around 2:30 we went to a bar slash club that was decorated like a pirate ship which was awesome in a cheesy way. The music was really cool and we danced the night away. It was fun to hang out with the team and I hope they will be good group of friends. Sunday is the day of rest and that is usually all I do. I slept in and after lunch I met with some friends in one of my favorite places in Madrid Parque del Buen Retiro (the picture at the top) which literally means the Park of Good Rest. It was a really nice day out and nothing else is usually open on Sunday so the park is a great place to go. We relaxed in the sun and threw the frisbee around for a bit. Its a perfect way to spend a Sunday! Next week is Halloween week at my school and we are going to do something everyday for Halloween which I'm really excited about and so are the kids! Can't wait! I'll write about it an hopefully take some pictures!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Day in the Life

Since the first time I posted about my life at school I was in a hurry to finish because I was writing at school and our internet only works half the time. I didn't get to put very many details about my daily schedule. Soooooo here we go! I arrive at school everyday at 9:30 and before going to class I usually stop to talk to the other auxiliares. There are 3 other auxiliares at my school-Rachael, Rich, and Yazmyn. Rachael, Rich, and I are all only working at Andres Segovia but Yazmyn comes 2 days a week to our school and 2 days to another school. They are all really nice and it has been nice to have people to collaborate with on things like celebrating Halloween etc. At 9:30 I start my first class with the professor I spend the majority of my day with, Maria Jesus. She has been so welcoming to me and has offered to go out to coffee to practice Spanish as well as bring me books written in Spanish. She teaches both the fourth grade classes in English and Science so we begin the morning with either English class or science class (which is taught in English). I really like both of the classes, the kids are so sweet and eager to answer your questions. Many times I take one part of the class out into the hallway to work more one-on-one with the students. After class from 9:30 to 10:30, I have my second class with Maria Jesus from 10:30 to 11:30. At 11:30 we have a break, called Recreo, where the kids go out to the playground to play futbol and hang out with their friends. The teachers have a coffee break where coffee, tea, juice and snacks are served. Its awesome! After recreo, I either go back to Maria Jesus's class or to my 3rd grade class which I help teach with the headmistress Belen. She is so much fun to work with and the kids in that class are wonderful! I also help them with English and science class. Twice a week I also help teach 2 classes of 5 year olds. They are super cute but such a handful! Its really hard to get them to concentrate on anything. After a class from 12 to 1, we break for 2 hours for lunch. The first hour is free time/planning time for the teachers and I use it to check my email or read. At 2 lunch is served, I eat half the time at the school and half the time I bring my lunch from home because it is about 4 euros every day. At 3 I have another class either with Maria Jesus or Belen that lasts til 3:45 then my last class of the day is from 3:45 to 4:30. After lunch is the hardest time to teach because the kids are either really hyper from lunch or really tired. But I love all the kids at school and they very affecionate so they come up and give me hugs everyday which I love! After 4:30, I either walk to catch the train home or give private classes. I am still working with Isabel the 2 year old and also give classes to 2 kids from school on Friday afternoons. Working, giving classes, and now playing Ultimate definitely is keeping me busy but it is nice to have a schedule and things to do!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ultimate Frisbee- Madrid style

After playing ultimate on the club team at UNC for 2 years and loving it, I was interested to see if there was any opportunity to play in Madrid. I googled ultimate in Madrid and lo and behold there was an team here! They are a coed team called Los Quijotes (very fitting) who also play sometimes as a womens and open team depending on the tournament. The men's is called Los Quijotes and the women's is called Las Dulcineas (she was the woman Don Quijote was in love with haha). The team has open practices for whoever wants to come on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Once you have come for a while and the players get to know you and your abilities you can be invited to practice with the team on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I went to my first practice on Wednesday and it was so fun! We threw a little bit, did a quick cutting drill, and played for the rest of the time. I am really excited to just have an opportunity to play and hope to move up to practice with the team. The captains held a team meeting for returning and new players and explained the requirements to be on the team and go to tournaments. So far the people on the team have been really cool and its been a good way to meet people and get exercise. The team has a website if you want to check it out:

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Spanish take their holidays seriously

This Monday all of Madrid had a holiday so a lot of people left the city but Tory, Allison, and I decided to stick around town. Wanting to do a little bit of traveling, we decided to take a day trip to Aranjuez, a city about 45 minutes outside of the city. It was an easy train ride from the center of Madrid to Aranjuez and one thing I love about Madrid is how good their public transportation system is. In Aranjuez there is the Royal Palace that was built by Felipe II and Fernando VI lived there. The palace was built by Juan Battista who is a famous Spanish architect. We got to Aranjuez and went to tour the palace. It was absolutely beautiful and all of the rooms were done in Rococo style which means they were uber-decorated. They had everything from a throne room to a Arabian library. We toured the palace and saw an exhibition on Palace life which included tons of abanicos, or fans, that the queens used. After the palace, we walked around in the gardens of the palace that were called Jardines de la Isla (Gardens of the Isle) because the king built his own river and lake around the palace so it would be on somewhat of an island. The gardens were definitely my favorite part of the day because they seemed to go on forever and there were tons of fountains and places to rest and relax. After walking in the gardens we stopped at a cerveceria to grab some sandwiches, beers, and patatas bravas for lunch. Delish! We also stopped to get the famous dessert from Aranjuez which was the freson con nata. It is a combination of berries like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries topped with the best whipped cream I have ever had. I am usually not a big fan of whipped cream but it was really thick and creamy almost like icecream but not cold. I might have to go back just for the dessert!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The wonders of Ikea

I mentioned that our apartment came fully furnished but it was lacking some personality like our pictures etc. It didn't really feel like home because we don't have too many things to put in it. However, there is also an Ikea in Madrid that is accessible by metro. Now I know that Ikea has recently come to Charlotte, but I didn't get the chance to go before I left. Clearly, I had to go for the first time while I was here. It was FANTASTIC! It was so big and it was so fun to walk through all the different display rooms to see what they had. Ikea had about a bazillion things to choose from and it made me want my own apartment to decorate (with an unlimited budget of course). We went to get just get place mats, picture frames, and more silverware but we came out with about 20 things more. After going down to the storeroom we got a bunch of picture frames to put around our living room, some candles for our table, and some odds and ends for the kitchen. We topped off the whole afternoon by eating at the Ikea restaurant and as we were leaving the entire staff broke out in a choreographed dance to Mamma Mia by ABBA which totally made my day! All in all a productive day and I am now in love with Ikea! Here are some pics of our apartment with our new decor!

Our table complete with the lava lamp our landlord's son gave us (yessssss) and our Panaphone bought from a Chino (the equivalent to a Spanish dollar store) which advertised on the box: Works in the world!

The new candles on our living room table.

Our pictures!!! These definitely make the apartment feel more homey.

Our new and improved dining table.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ch-ch-check out my escuela!

I forgot to mention what school I am working in and I guess that is kind of important haha. I am working in a school about 45 minutes outside of Madrid, a town called Leganes. The school's name is CEIP Andres Segovia (Andres Segovia is a famous Spanish guitar player) and it is a primary and infant school so the age range is 3-11. Here is the website if you would like to check it out: Later I will try to take some pictures of the school!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Send me mail!

We have wireless in our apartment now yay! If you want to send me snail mail I would love you forever! Here's my address:
Jessica Alcorn
Calle de la Concepcion Jeronima 10
Madrid, Madrid 28012

Friday, October 2, 2009

Updates, orientation, and first day of school oh my!

Right now we do not have wifi in our apartment and we are working on getting it installed. Needlessy to say, I haven´t been able to update the blog recently. However, a lot has been happening here! This weekend I went to the Prado which was amazing because I took an art history class last semester. I did my final project on the works of Goya, a very famous Spanish painter, so it was fantastic to see the real thing. I also went to the festival for Madrid´s candidacy in the 2016 Olympics which was really cool. Every side of the festival had a different color piece of paper to hold up either blue, green, yellow, or red (we were in the green section). I saw in the paper yesterday the arial view and it was awesome so I decided to put it on my blog for you lovely readers. In other news I went to the orientation for my program on Monday and Tuesday of this week which was really helpful. They told us what our typical day would look like as a auxiliar de conversacion and some ideas of ways we can help the teachers. On Thursday it was my first day of school! Our coordinator Vanesa picked me and the 3 other auxiliares working at my school up from the train station. We then got a tour of the school and met each class so they would know who we are. Their faces when we walked in were priceless, they were all so excited to see Americans and native English speakers. We also go our schedules and I will be working with primarily 4th grade, some 3rd grade, and some with 5 year olds. I work Tuesday to Friday from 9:30 to 4:30 and I have Mondays off which is fabulous. Now 9:30 to 4:30 may seem like a long day but the Spanish loooooove their breaks. At 11:30 we get a half hour break for coffee and snacks with the other teachers. I think all schools should operate like this. Then from 1 to 3 we have a lunch break. They serve lunch at school and it is SO good. So far I have had the 5 year olds and 3rd grade and they were both really good. Spanish schools are a lot different from American schools in that the kids are really loud but I´m getting used to it. All the kids are super excited to have someone from a different county to be in class with them. The only hard part is that all the auxiliares have to pretend that we don´t speak any Spanish so the kids have to speak in English to us. It is hard to not let Spanish slip when I can understand everything they say. But they are convinced I don´t speak a lick of Spanish and that they are going to teach me some hahaha. I will update more after I have my first whole week of school next week. Hasta luego!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We have the piso...por fin!

Sooooooooo after about 4 days of stress and waiting to see if Tory, Allison and I got the apartment that we wanted or not....WE GOT IT!!! (I'm sure I will look back on the whole experience and laugh for days but right now I'm glad its over). I cannot tell you how relieved I finally have somewhere to call home here in Madrid. We signed the contract today and got the keys and moved it! So now if you ever come to Madrid you won't see me on the side of the street with all my bags haha. But without further of the apartment!! Woooooooohooooo!

The living room.

The kitchen.

The bathroom.

Hallway to our bedrooms.

My room! Its not decorated right now but I will be hittin up the Ikea asap.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One bad thing about living in Spain

Is that I can't wear heels. I am already tall and Spaniards are generally really short. I brought some of my fave heels but I can't really wear any of them unless I want to tower over everyone here. Which really isn't that bad because I get the awesome opportunity to live in a foreign country for a year! In other news I think we finally have an apartment (the one I wrote about)! I don't want to get totally settled on the fact that we will be done with apartment hunting until we sign the contract but I am really hoping all goes as planned! Tonight in Madrid there is a big city celebration called La Noche en Blanco and there will be live performances all over the city. We are all going out tonight for the first time so I think we are going to try and catch some of the shows. I also got a babysitting job where I will be watching a 2 year old girl twice a week. Her mom wants me to take her to the park and play with her but to also speak English while I'm there so she will get used to it. I met with her mom and dad today just to talk about what the job entails but I get to meet Isabel (the girl I'm watching) next Tuesday! Her dad showed me pictures of her and she is super cute so I'm really excited! We are supposed to move into the new apartment on Monday hooray! It will be nice to be settled and not living out of a suitcase.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In piso heaven

So after looking and calling what seems like every apartment in Madrid, well really about 12 or 13, I think we may have found the perfect match. We just saw an apartment in the city center that has been recently refurbished and looks brand new! The only problem is that many apartment owners want you to commit to a year contract and I am only working for 10 months. The guy that showed us the apartment said he would ask his Dad who owns the apartment. I am crossing my fingers that we are still able to rent it because I am in love! I'll let you know what happens...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

To quote Andy Bernard- Its on like a prawn on the lawn at dawn

Apartment hunting that is. After resting up from the long flight here my friend Tory and I got our cell phones and started calling about apartments, or pisos, that we liked on the internet. Finding an apartment was one of the things I had been dreading about moving here to Madrid. Usually I can understand everything a Spaniard says when I talk to them in person but on the phone is a whole new ballgame. I definitely felt like I had no idea 80% of what people were saying on the phone, so trying to make an appointment to see the apartments we liked has been an experience. However, after spending most of yesterday calling people and seeing apartments talking on the phone has gotten a lot easier. We went to see 3 pisos yesterday and 2 of them I really liked. They are both in the area we are interested in (Retiro) which is near Parque de Buen Retiro which is really nice and tranquil. The landladies were so nice and the apartments were really cute. Both of them already come completely furnished which is fantastic. It seems like most apartments here are. We are going to keep looking for more around the area and I'm sure we'll find a great apartment. Tory and I's third room mate Allison is coming on Tuesday so hopefully we will have narrowed down our options to our favorites by then. Once we decide on one I'll definitely put up lots of pics.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

K pasa Madrid?

I've made it!!! I just got into my hostel in Madrid which is really nice. The flights were all really good but it was a really long day. I went from RDU to Detroit then from Detroit to Amsterdam and Amsterdam to Madrid. The flight to Amsterdam was about 8 hours but we had our own person TV screens to choose movies from which was awesome. I got to watch the Hangover again which was my fave movie this summer. Enough about how long and boring my flight was, its awesome to finally be here. I am trying to hold out til later tonight to go to sleep so my sleep schedule won't be totally down the tubes. Anyway off to shower and find some food...jamon anyone?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Madrid here I come!

I leave on September 9th for Madrid, Spain. I'm getting really excited but really nervous! I just got my visa yesterday so that is a huge relief. Now I just have to find a place to live...