Made It To Madrid
Before coming to Spain, I often heard of the beauty Spain holds, but seeing it for myself has been spectacular. On Tuesday afternoon I landed on Spanish land, ready to soak in Spain and start my semester at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M).Even prior to stepping outdoors onto the beautiful Spanish land, I took the metro and train from Madrid-Barajas Airport to the Fernando de los Rios residence hall (one UC3M’s dorms). My first thoughts upon taking the metro were, “Why can’t New York City’s train system be as clean as this one?” and “So this is what advanced train systems look like!” For the record, the metro is the inner-city train system and what I call “the train” is really the Renfe, a system like the Metro-North, which travels through outer-Madrid. From my town, Getafe, to central Madrid, the Renfe takes about 30 minutes ( a pleasantly smooth train ride if I must say.)
Enough about trains.
I’ve been here for about three full days and I’m still recovering from jet lag. Madrid is six hours ahead of New York, which explains why I’m not tired at 2 AM (here) and can’t wake up at 9 AM. But TGIF! I’ll have the weekend to recover! Wednesday was the first day of the Spanish-intensive course I enrolled for (and SUNY New Paltz covered!); for every weekday the next couple of weeks, I’ll have four hours of Spanish with two alternating professors, both of which are super nice and fun. Classes don’t actually start until September 9th, so students who normally live in the residence hall during the year move in the weekend before classes begin…so although it’s a bit lonely in the hall, I’ve been able to get to explore Getafe, use the in-hall gym, and utilize my free time to do homework, work on my trip budget ,among other things. I’ve also made some new buddies from class who I’ve gone out to walk and eat almuerzo (lunch) with. Yesterday, we trekked to a Hipercor (a Walmart-like store) about 20 minutes from campus in order to find some good deals to stock up on food for our kitchens (I don’t have a meal plan and the others live in apartments). With this being my first time in another continent fully reliant on myself and the little bit of money in my bank account, you should know how much label-reading and price-checking I did: a lot. Nonetheless, I spent under 37 euro (~$50) and made myself some yummy pasta for lunch today.
For a lot of the food-bragging I’ve heard and read regarding Spain, I have yet to really have a meal where I’m completely blown away by my food. For the most part I’ve come across a lot of ham and sandwiches and ham sandwiches…but I’ll cut them some slack since I’ve only been here a few days. I’ll update you all on my inner-foodie adventures soon 😉
Tonight, I’ll be meeting up with my new Australian buddy in Sol (located in central Madrid) to hang out and meet with the other girls here through SUNY New Paltz to have tapas in the evening. I can’t wait! Pues, ¡hasta la proxima amigos! Until next time!