Week Two: Orange Juice Explosions and Oh la la's

A lot has occurred since I last wrote.

It has been quite a week spent revisiting my old favorite stomping grounds and pondering over what happened to the ones which are no longer here.

 Painting from Museo Reina Sofia. The same museum that houses Picasso’s Guernica—but strictly prohibits pictures of the famous piece.

Painting from Museo Reina Sofia. The same museum that houses Picasso’s Guernica—but strictly prohibits pictures of the famous piece.

In terms of apartment living,

One of our roommates was visiting family in Galicia, a province in Northern Spain, and left a bottle of orange juice in our fridge which somehow combusted.

At the time, I heard a loud bang from my room that I thought was the result of someone falling. My roommate entered the kitchen at one point and discovered all of the fridge magnets on the floor. She assumed someone had slammed the door in a fit. 

Little did we know…

I opened the fridge an hour later and discovered orange juice in nearly every corner like a citrus-scented biblical flood.

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Did I mention the fridge had been deep cleaned only the day before? 

The explosion was so powerful that it broke part of the plastic shelves, making me wonder What is it exactly that they put in the oranges here?! 

On the bright side, our fridge permanently smells like freshly-squeezed fruit.

I only realized much later that when I called out Estás bien? from my room that I had been talking to an orange.

On a related note, the food is one of my favorite parts of Spain.

Tapas and traditional dishes tend to be a bit heavier, but nonetheless delicious, and you can find all the main ingredients for a price that would make Wal-Mart and traditional supermarkets blush.

I’m talking Iberian ham and Chorizo for 1 euro, and bottles of good red wine—without the sulfites that make your head pound—for less than 10. 

Bye bye Barefoot wines.

On Friday, I had to visit the bank to sign the contract for my new checking account. It was a large session with many other language assistants, and the bank was not prepared for us at all. My debit card hadn’t arrived, so I had to trek back twice to finally pick it up. (The first time I came during siesta hour and rang the bell—there is some high tech security at some of the banks here—only to later realize that behind the two extra security doors, the building was empty.

Back during the original session, the bank manager gave me a hard time for not knowing my Spanish phone number which I needed to access mobile banking. After a lot of quick googling, I texted a girl with a Spanish phone plan to see what my number came across as…

and that was when I discovered my new phone number began with ‘666.’

I think I would have been better not knowing. But so much more of my week made sense after that.

I mentioned in my previous post all the trips I was making around the city to gather things for my new room.

It turns out, my trusted ‘walking’ shoes were not as great as I had originally thought. After walking over 15,000 steps and 20 flights of stairs in one day, I ended up with a 3-dimensional blister projecting from the side of my pinky toe—something I did not know was possible.

After a half hour of scaring myself into thinking I would have to amputate my foot (Thanks WebMD), I named him Carlos and set out with the goal of finding new shoes to wear around the city.

Lucky for me, giant orthopedic-looking tennis shoes are a trend in Europe, so Carlos and I were not only walking around Madrid in comfort, BUT in style. 

On my walks around the city I’ve spotted so many new sights I want to see this year that I missed out on during my previous stay.

I want to attend a play in a classic Spanish theater, go to the opera, walk throughout neighborhoods and markets I never quite ventured to before. 

Now I mentioned in my introductory post that this blog would be an honest account of my journey in Spain.

Sometimes honest means acknowledging the uncomfortable, like when you meet new friends only to soon be excluded. 

That’s something that a lot of people like to, no pun intended, exclude from accounts of moving to a new place. It can be difficult to meet people—to put yourself out there when you move across the world by yourself, and although the terrain may be familiar, all the faces you once knew have returned to their respective home countries. 

I thought I had made some new friends my first day at orientation for my teaching program, but after the first two times that we hung out together it appeared I was no longer invited to outings and basically ignored from there on out.

Now having survived puberty and a Southern college with an overwhelming Greek Life system (sororities, fraternities, and all that jazz), I am no stranger to cliquey-ness or superficiality.

I will admit, however, that it is a weird thing to experience post-grad.

But the simple lesson learned here: When people you think you are bonding with talk freely about previously excluding individuals and make fun of other people in your program, they’re probably not the most genuine people. AKA- Trust your instincts + be kind to everyone.

I took the catty behavior as a blessing in disguise, and on the bright side, I’ve met some other truly fantastic people. My Australian roommate and I already act like sarcastic siblings who roast each others’ cooking abilities and binge watch Spanish telenovelas on Netflix. And this is just week one!

In public outing news, it’s been an interesting week.

I learned the same drunk people will come up to you and ask where you’re from several times in the same night. Apparently, the word Texas also sounds like the word California to said individuals. 

I learned that I should probably stay away from wearing graphic tees with English sayings here. It seems wearing a shirt with ‘Oh la la’ on the front is an open invitation for men to (creepily) read it aloud as you pass by. 

Not the slightest bit uncomfortable. Nope. Not at all.

 Oh la la, more like Oh na na.

Oh la la, more like Oh na na.

Two people did come up to me and start speaking in Spanish to ask questions, and although my roommate insists ‘People will ask anyone for help’…I beg to differ.

I clearly (long to) look like a local.

I have my last day of orientation on Friday, and then I begin to work on Monday. After the orientation sessions, I’m really excited to begin my job as a language assistant teaching kids ages 6-16 in Madrid’s private schools.

My school looks really nice—and fingers crossed I get free lunch—but I am also super nervous! The most teaching experience I have includes a summer instructing kids’ art classes and teaching an imaginary class circa age eight. I was a pretty dedicated teacher back in the day, making behavior charts for each of my students, so I think I should survive this year!

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Here is a part of our orientation packet—guidelines for the first day.

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I feel like it might be applicable for dates with local Spaniards as well. So I’ll keep you posted on its success rate if I decide to implement it for that use.

I’m super thrilled about a meeting I have this Sunday, but I can’t say much more for now, so you will just have to wait until my next post!

 

Hasta Luego!

Belle