Madrid, where the playas play.

Why hello!

Today marks nearly a week since leaving the States. Despite jetlag, despite depression over a shocking dearth of acceptable living spaces available for rent, despite the necessity of reacclimating to communication in and movement through a foreign country and struggling to remember the Spanish I haven’t actually used in almost 2 years, this may have been the most productive week of my summer.

We’ll start at the very beginning:
At my connecting flight from Philly I met Talia and Audrey, two other Fulbrighters on the same flight whose faces I recognized from the Fulbright Spain facebook group. Luckily for me, they’re both warm, friendly girls and I’m quite glad that I shared a flight with them. The flight, though delayed 2.5 hours on account of some mysterious mechanical issue of which the passengers were not apprised, was just fine. I’m glad I went in expecting not to sleep. I wasn’t disappointed.

When we got to Barajas (Madrid’s airport), we took a shuttle to this place:
Residencia Augustinus-Nebrija
As I understand it this place is an aeronautical engineering boys’ dorm. What does this mean, precisely? Well, rest assured nothing you need to really know about, save that the Fulbrighters have been witness to some truly lame hazing (including, but not limited to, proposals to American girls on the street in adorably broken English, tray to tray dancing with us in the dining room (not so simple or welcome when you’re conveying soup from a counter to a table, as poor Talia discovered) standing on a chair and reciting that you’re a cocksucker or other foul rhymes whilst older, older boys fondle your sack through your pants, and singing in the street in a crazy conga line. Nice.). Over all, things are good here. The staff is outrageously kind and helpful and the food, as food goes, isn’t bad, though yesterday I bravely sampled a fish stew that nearly made me wish I’d never been born, or at the very least that I’d never touched my lips to that spoon. My disgust, mind you, had nothing to do with the cooking, but my own personal aversion to fish. I should’ve known better. Ah, I’m excellent at creating awful situations for myself.

Just to give you an idea of the part of Madrid in which I’m staying, check it:Looking down Calle Gaztambide

And also this:
A gander down my street toward Cea Bermúdez

The first day Talia, Nicole, Audrey, Emory and I somehow managed to drag our jetlagged asses out of the residencia and procure cell phones (in Spanish, no less!), navigate the metro system to the Fulbright Commission to request our checks, and stay up until a normal Spanish bedtime (11:30). As you might have guessed, I was totally non-functional for most of that day and the proceeding one; I pretty much allowed Talia and Audrey to herd me around, following like a zombie pet. It was fun. I’m quite glad to now be well rested. 🙂

Metro pass-getting, ham-sighting and the travails of piso hunting are forthcoming! Now, I’ve got to go see how my laundry turned out (Never before have I used powdered detergent, or such a weirdass washing machine. We’ll see how it goes, and if I actually have any clothing left after an outrageous 90 minute wash cycle) and grab some lunch. That’ll be followed by an exploratory, Talia-accompanied adventure walk to Gran Vía and then, mayhap, a quiet night in, or a quiet night out. 🙂

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