Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Yesterday after lunch, Erica and I met at Principe Pio for her to exchange something that she bought. Principe Pio is a shopping mall inside the metro station closest to my house, but is still at 15 minute walk for me. Then, all the American girls from Tandem went to el Parque de Retiro. It is so big that we got halfway through in 2 hours, but this is including the time that we stopped to take pictures. There were a lot of fountains, statues, and several big monuments. Then, we walked around a little before we all had to be back for supper. Something that is quite obvious when I got here was the schedule Spain is on. We wake up late (I have to be at school at 9:30), eat lunch around 2, take a siesta (nap), eat supper at 9, and don't go to sleep until 12 or 1. Breakfast consists of toast and coffee or hot chocalate. Lunch is the largest meal of the day and has two parts. First, we usually eat soup or something else light (I have had pumpkin, tomato, and zucchini soup so far). Next, she brings out the meat. Supper is a light meal, sometimes with leftovers or tapas. I am almost used to it, but I still get hungry around noon. Everyone drinks water in their house because everything else is so expensive. Fanta is a big deal here, so I have that some, and some coke, but only outside of my house. There are a lot of things that I am noticing that are different than in the United States. Most people here only have one, maybe two children, and they take their children out on a stroll or to a park at night because it is too hot during the day. Another thing, some people (including my house) don't have air conditioning. There is a fan in the den, and I open the windows in my room, but I can't imagine what it would be during the hottest part of the summer. Also, the handle for the toilet is on top of the toilet, not on the side like in the US. Madrid is a very dry city. Gatos, people born in Madrid, get excited over clouds, and Spain is always in a drought. There is very little water in the toilet. Just an observation. Weird, I know. Then for today, I went to class. I have to be at the busstop at 8:45 to get to school at 9:30 because I have to wait up to twenty minutes and there is so much traffic. I ride with my housemate Alvize, an Italian student that is studying translation, and an Italian girl and an German girl that live next door to me. I am so glad that I live with a guy that is fluent is English, Spanish, and Italian. Now I can just ask him how to say something so that my senora understands me. We are learning about perfect preterit (I am not going to even try to explain this one) and how to use the verb poderse. We had soup and fried chicken for lunch, then I took a siesta. I set my alarm for 5:30, but they use military time, so it didn't go off. Like right now, it is 18:30. We are going to eat early tonight at about 7 so we can go on a walk in the Plaza Mayor. Tandem does something about 4 nights a week. This week, I am going on the walk tonight, to the Prado tomorrow, and El Escorial on Saturday. I am also going to do stuff outside of Tandem. For example, I think that I am going to a bullfight on Sunday. This is still in the planning stages. There is so much for me to learn and see, so I am going on every possible opportunity so I can make the most out of this experience.