Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Impressions

I haven't even been in Spain a week yet. That's so hard to believe considering all I've been doing. I really hit the ground running. Getting to Valladolid was a lot easier than I had anticipated, even the cab ride from the Madrid airport to the Chamartin station was cheaper than I had planned. I had ample time to spare, so I had a small snack, at least as much of it as I could stand in my sleep deprived, jetlagged, and otherwise foggy state.

Breakfast at the train station

View from the train...flat!

My boss Javier, one of the teachers I'm going to assist here in Spain, let me crash at his house until I found an apartment. Considering a few days stay in a hostel would have cost me over $100, I agreed. I took a taxi over there, and his kids welcomed me. I was nervous about the situation, but I'm glad I did it. They were all so nice to me and helped me feel more acclimated in my first few days here.

My first task was to find an apartment. I spent 2 whole days running around the city to look at places. I called loads of people and ended up seeing about 8 different apartments. It was so exhausting. I didn't think I could stand another day of the stress, so I chose a place. It's in a great location for me since if I don't carpool to work with another teacher, I'll have to go to the bus station, and the station is 2 blocks away. It's not too far from the Plaza Mayor and the more happening "centro:" just a 15 minute walk. Not bad, not bad. Here's a map!

I have two extremely nice, Spanish roommates at the moment, and there are still two other rooms available. It's a pretty big place with a lot of windows and even two bathrooms, which was oddly very hard to find. My main criteria besides location was having an exterior window in my room. So many of the rooms I saw were dark and had windows that looked out into an enclosed dead space between buildings or even worse, the laundry room. My room, albeit small, is very light all throughout the day and has some pretty weird furnishings, like green leather closet doors and a marble topped desk and nightstand. I blame my mother for my decorating taste.

My building (on top of a bakery!)

Another difficult task was applying for my temporary residence card. It was a wild goose chase of a day. I walked to one end of the city just to be told I had to go to the other, but I did find the right office in the end. I've been told to return in one month. I met two other people in the same program there, and I've hung out with them both since. Everyone I've met from the program (maybe 4 people?) has been really nice, thankfully.

Valladolid is a pretty city with lots of trees and parks as well as cool buildings. About 300,000 people live in the city, so it's a bit smaller than I thought. It feels like it's a good size though. When I'm out exploring I don't feel overwhelmed, and the layout seems pretty user-friendly. Have yet to lose my sense of direction entirely. 

Plaza Mayor

I start work tomorrow, but I think it's more of a introductory day. I don't even have my schedule yet, so I think I'll just be shown around and maybe sit in on some classes. Javier is going to drive me, which is nice. I didn't want to have to fool around with the bus commute until absolutely necessary anyway! I'm a bit nervous because I have no idea what to expect. It's like Brazil all over again except I won't be the "head teacher" this time around. I guess that means I should relax? That's what everyone has been telling me, that work is literally the last thing I should be worrying about.

On that note, I'm going to take a nap! 


  1. Haha, I love your map. Your mousepad based handwriting is actually really impressive. Mine would be completely illegible. Your building looks really nice! I can't wait to visit!
    And, as always, great pictures sweetie. You've even managed to make a flat landscape kinda sorta pretty :D
    Love you!

  2. Living on top of a bakery, that sounds perfect. Waking up to the smell of fresh baked goodies, yum!