Hello from Madrid!
(see the Speed Read at the bottom!)
As you might have guessed from the title, I have indeed arrived in Madrid, safely and soundly! The trip was uneventful, which is exactly how travel should be, and my lovely roommates were at the apartment to let me into the building when I arrived. I’ll be rooming for the year with two of my fellow NYU Spanish master’s students, Caroline, another ND grad (!), and Amanda, a N’awlins native.
The first few days here were full of me trying to get the things done that one does upon arrival to a new country—opening a bank account, grocery shopping, getting a functioning cell phone, etc. So far, only the grocery shopping has been completed successfully, but I have confidence that I will resolve my technical difficulties with the phone and the slowness of Spanish banking (which requires several visits over several days).
Fortunately, there were much more fun things going on to give me a break from the logistics of life in Madrid! They’ve included long walks through Retiro, the huge park just ten minutes from my apartment, eating churros con chocolate with my roommate, meandering through the city and discovering neighborhoods with tea shops, and meeting the rest of my NYU compañeros.
Wednesday night, my second night in Madrid, ten of my fellow NYU students (about half of our program) got together for a big dinner, which in Spain means we met around 9:00pm and didn’t leave the restaurant til midnight. We weren’t the last ones there, either—the place was full of madrileños (Madrid-ites) when we left. I met the rest of the students in my program on Friday, the first day of orientation.
Group breakdown: 3 guys, 19 gals, from all over the United States and one from Venezuela. Some have lived in Spain for a few years—one girl (woman?) has lived in Spain for the last six years since graduating from college. Others are married, or have never been to Spain, or are like me and have just graduated and are looking for ways to maintain their record of going to school for 17 straight years. We’re a small program, so I’m sure as the year goes on I’ll be able to tell y’all more about us, but for now everyone seems generally friendly, smart, and interested studying in a lot of very cool and different topics, like Spanish film, Latin American/Spanish dictatorships, cultural memory, and more.
Once the weekend arrived things got a little calmer, since most of what I need to accomplish (metro card, fix cell phone, register myself with the city of Madrid, etc), either aren’t open on weekends, or require previous appointments, which will fill my free time next week. This forced rest gave me more time to go for runs in the park and walk around the neighborhood, go out to dinner with my roommate Amanda (there’s a place nearby with legit Moroccan couscous. Can’t even express my excitement!!!), and of course, watch the first Notre Dame football game of the season! (we won, by the way :D)
This coming week I have orientation activities, which involve us students visiting libraries and the old city of Madrid, discussions about our summer reading, meetings with our program coordinator, and general getting-to-know-you activities. I’m just glad I have another week to cross things off my checklist before class starts for real! Thanks for reading, I know it’s not the most exciting things yet (especially the lack of photos), but fear not, the year is only beginning! ¡Hasta pronto, amigos!
Safe arrival in Madrid!
Frustration with the bank and cell phone 😦
Excellent meeting my fellow NYU students, roommates, and Madrid life in general 🙂
Next week: Orientation
- Madrileños love dogs. 8 out of 10 people strolling down the street are walking a dog
- Nothing beats churros con chocolate for a midmorning snack (Spanish churros=crispy fried outside, hot doughy inside). I’ll get pictures up soon.
- Walking to the bank is infinitely more pleasant when I slow down in the park to listen to the man playing the accordion.
- In Madrid, you can leave your windows open all day and night and no bugs or creatures of the night will fly into your room.
- Patience, patience, patience. I thought I would get my to-do list done in one epic day of productivity. Once I realized this wouldn’t happen, my stress level dropped and I started to enjoy the beautiful Madrid sunshine.