My first week of orientation was awful and I had a mini mental breakdown. However, I thank God, I have friends here. It would have been unbearable if I didn’t. I was so lucky having two lovely ladies, I met during study abroad, here. I needed to unwind over the weekend. The anxiety of apartment searching while lesson planning is overwhelming. I didn’t think it would be this hard to find a place.
Friday, our gaggle of gals went to Sol, the touristy area of Madrid. All the girls are in Axuillaries or BEDA programs. Most of them are renewed teachers, they’ve been here a year already.We went to Space Monkey. A bar that vaguely resembles Coyote Ugly. The super hot, tan Spanish girls wear daisy dukes and dance on the bar to pop songs. We all got drunk and danced until the early morning. The men were surprisingly polite. Spaniard men are known to be abrasive but this place had a great array of gentlemen.
Saturday, we met up at Temple Debod for a picnic. This monument at sunset is a must. So many people were taking wedding photos there.
Then my friend took me to Guadalajara about 45 minutes from Madrid. We drank tinto de verano with Spaniards. My Spanish was not good. I struggled a lot but it was a good learning experience. It was exhausting being up that late. I got home at 6:30 AM. It will take some time getting used to the language and lifestyle but I’m working on it.
I slept in until 2:20 PM on Sunday and met friends at the Rastro. It’s a giant flea market and everyone day drinks in barrio La Latina. All of us wore our shorts and spotted beautiful Spanish and Italian tourists in various bars. I went home around 6:30 PM to work on blogging, lesson planning and sleeping.
I’ve received a couple tips from locals for acclimating into Spanish culture. I intend on trying all of these. I’m sure these will be applicable to any city.
1. Now this is debatable among the people I’ve talked to, but Tinder might be a great way to meet guys to practice Spanish and go out on dates. Some people say it’s sleazy and others have had luck so we’ll see.
2. Go to an Intercambio Bar. This is where English and Spanish speaker mingle to practice their languages. It’s a fun light way of learning. I was told to go early to snag seats in a quiet area. Check on facebook for conversation groups like auxiliares de converation en madrid.
3. Find all of the Madrid Expat groups. There’s some for expats to meet each other, find drink deals, join in on group activities (like hiking) and simply for chit chatting. There’s also some for apartment hunting. I found Madrid Expats.
4. Find facebook pages and blogs with keywords: Free, Madrid, nightlife. I found a couple festivals coming up. There’s a Spanish OktoberFest, architecture fest etc… Entrance is free or cheap and then drinks are completely overpriced. It’s good for something a little different.
5. Speak Spanish even if it sucks! Of course, you’ll be terrible but you get better if you practice.