This is Steve Rodriguez coming to you straight from the historic capital city of Madrid, here in Spain! It has officially been a week since I got here. The flight was super long and it took me a good amount of time to get used to the time zone difference (Madrid is six hours later than Philadelphia).The first few days were definitely the hardest to get through. It was a combination of the jet lag, lack of awareness about what to do, where to go, etc., the culture shock of being on the other side of the world from where I was born and raised and lastly, but most importantly, missing my loved ones from back home. I did not realize how attached I was to everyone and everything from back home until I got here and didn’t have any of that around me. Despite all of these challenges, I am finally starting to feel a bit more comfortable.
I am doing a homestay here in Madrid. I live with an elderly Spanish woman, whom we will call Olga anonymously from here on out, at her apartment. From the moment I met Olga, it has been very awkward. She has an extremely meticulous lifestyle that I still have not grown very fond of. More importantly, however, she cooks for me twice a day, so I inherently can’t be mad at her for too long. Lunch, which is the heaviest and most important meal of the day in Spain, is ready precisely at 2:00 PM every day. Dinner is served around 9:00 PM every night. The food has been good for the most part. It’s just that I have high standards because of living at home with my mother for my entire life. I do recognize that I am living under a different roof, literally and figuratively, so I still need some more time to get better accustomed to everything here. I grew up respecting household rules, so I know I won’t have a problem doing that here. Fundamentally, Olga is a nice person and always has good advice, which is always a plus. Anyways, on to the fun stuff I’ve done in my first week!
Madrid has a very extensive subway system called the Metro. There are 12 different lines serving Madrid alone! The Metro will take you literally to any corner of the city. The transportation card is only €20 for students for the entire MONTH. A lot cheaper than SEPTA, that’s for sure. During my time here so far, I’ve been to the university I will be studying at here, Universidad Nebrija, a couple of times, (a few stops away from home), to the city center a couple of times (a few stops away also), to a popular park here called El Retiro (25 minute walk) and a nice pool (45 minutes north on the Metro). My orientation was last Friday. I am off all week because of the class group I am in. My classes don’t start until next week. In the interim, I joined the City Life Madrid group, who hold tons of events, activities and trips all semester, so stay tuned to that. I attached pictures for all of you visually enthused. Thanks for reading. Hasta luego!