Life Beyond the Piso Hunt

20 Sep

So yes, I did find a place to live (hallelujah) and if you haven’t already, scroll down and read the lovely post about my hectic life with some darling pictures included. But, I have been doing more in the last week than just dedicating my life to finding a place to live.

Some of my favorite adventures in Madrid have just been walking around the city with no destination. It makes me feel very European to be strolling around with no specific place to be or go.

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A bridge at sunset. What could be better?

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Being a true Spaniard and eating and drinking at 2:30pm

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Just a little piece of home in Madrid (RIP Liberty Village Nike Outlet)

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Another sunset

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of doing some things for the first time in Madrid. First, going to church. I never love the 7am wake ups at home to go to 8am mass, but I find it comforting to attend church when I am abroad. Granted, the whole service is in Spanish, so I have to balance thinking of the prayers in English and then trying to translate them to Spanish, while also speaking them. Yeah, it’s complicated, so I tend to stay pretty quiet. I have to say, though, that Spanish masses are the most efficient church services I have ever attended. One of them ended in 30 minutes. Wow. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

My other new experience was going to a Spanish grocery store. They are crowded places with very narrow aisles. And, what makes them particularly dangerous are the carts. They have regular carts like we have in the US, but instead of having baskets, they have baskets on wheels that people drag behind them. Tripping is a serious hazard. And, since everything is in Spanish/grams/kilograms, it gets a bit complicated. I had to attempt to steer my wheeled cart, while Googling words to see what type of milk I was looking at, while also trying to calculate (in my head) the conversion of prices between grams and pounds (because I wouldn’t be Bonnie’s daughter if I didn’t do the math to make sure I was getting the best deal). It was a lot to handle. Plus, I realized that never in my life have I had to go to the grocery store and plan what I am going to buy. My grocery experience is limited to shopping for or with my Mom or at school when I needed a few specific things. I think that one of the most dominant things I have learned in the past few weeks is that I need some more life experience doing basic things. I am can only hope that by the end of 9 months I will be able to handle a grocery store in Spanish without tripping and/or Googling anything.

And, school started (aka the reason why I am here in the first place)! I had meetings last week to get to know my bosses and the faculty members and to learn a bit more about the University. I had to keep reassuring people that despite my baby face, I am technically considered a professor.

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First day of school pic

And on Saturday, I went hiking. I somehow always become so athletic and outdoorsy when in other countries. A group of Fulbrighters took a train out of Madrid and then took another rickety “nature” train up into the mountains. It was like being on a roller coaster going uphill, without the drop off. We hiked a 5.2km loop, and the scenery was very impressive. It did not have the dusty, deserty feel that the mountains surrounding Granada had, but rather had more pine trees and green than I have seen in Spain so far. It reminded me of home and it smelled very fresh and familiar. I did my best to keep walking, but also take advantage of the nature to take artsy pictures with my new fancy camera. I always find that when I am taking the pictures I think that I should practically be in National Geographic, but then I look at the pictures later and decide that I would settle for just having a few nice ones to post on this blog. The ending destination (a lagoon) was pretty mediocre, but I really enjoyed the other flora and fauna. Interestingly enough, cows live up in the mountains. Our rickety little train had to stop for a cow and we kept seeing them in the green areas on either side of the trail. It was fun to get away from Madrid and to take in the scenery beyond buildings.

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Sponsored by Nike

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Repping Delaware

And then, to celebrate my athletic feat, I went to the most trendy restaurant I have ever been to in my entire life. If I am being honest, I didn’t even feel cool enough to be inside the place. There were lots of fancy little dishes and unique drinks. I had my first chicken fingers in Spain (surprisingly delicious), and also tried rabbit. I know, judge me, but I thought that it would be interesting. My grandmother always tells a story about how her family got rabbits and named them, but then realized that the rabbits were not friends but, instead, food. So, I figured while in Europe, I might as well follow in my Oma’s footsteps and try some. It was certainly a new gastronomic experience for me.

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In case you were wondering what a rabbit dumpling looked like

And for now, that is all from this side of the Atlantic. I’ll be back soon with some more tales about my teaching, food adventures, and life in and around Madrid.

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One Response to “Life Beyond the Piso Hunt”

  1. Kristin September 21, 2016 at 11:29 am #

    Hi Rebecca – Glad to hear you have the apartment issue resolved and can focus on other pursuits. It’s amazing how different this experience is already for you as scholar versus a student. I enjoy reading our posts and hearing about everything you are doing and thinking.

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