After flying for 14 hours, from San Diego to Dallas to London, I´ve finally made it here. For the better part of a year, I will call this city home. I arrived just past noon at Barajas, the most modern, cleanest and without a doubt quietest airport I´ve ever visited. It has a museum-like quality to it, not a single upset child.
I am welcomed with blue skies and dry heat. My taxi driver points out all of the sites as we drive toward my hostel. It´s just what I hoped it would be, nineteenth century buildings, great big parks, and crowded streets.
The hostel is nice. I quickly made friends with a couple Americans from Newport Beach, Kyle and Chris. We hung out in the hostel, played card games and drank a plastic bottle of wine that they bought at the market for 1 Euro, tasted pretty good actually. A french guy Julian and Jack, an Australian, quickly joined in. I´ve met one girl, Katarina from Germany, and the receptionist Sylvia and I get along well, I´d love to get a drink with her... have her tell me about the city. The rest of the girls have come here in packs and it´s not quite as easy to mingle with them. Last night, Kyle and Chris and I went to a cerveceria and sipped beers and snacked on empanadas. They had just arrived that day too, we returned to the hostel exhausted. I slept better than I had in weeks.
First thing I did was buy a cell phone. It´s a prepaid phone deal so there´s no contracts and I just pay as I go. When I leave Spain I can just sell the phone back to the shop and it will be completely out of my hands.
I spent all day today looking at ads for apartments. I called up 16 different ones, 6 of which are no longer available. I looked at 2 today... both a little further than I´d like to be from my school. The first was pretty nice. I would be sharing it with a 31 year old Spanish woman who works all day, every day and stays at her boyfriend´s on the weekend. My room has a double bed and a big closet. I like it but I´m afraid I´ll be lonely there and I really want to live with cool young people who I can practice Spanish with and meet others through. The second apartment was cramped and messy and in a shitty neighborhood. Online I found a bilingual American looking for a roommate. I spoke to him on the phone and he sounded really nice and on the level. Though I would prefer to live with a Madrileno, the price is right and he assures me the apartment is a gem. He said he´d call me back tonight.
The Metro is nice and clean and the whole city is very well connected.
Tomorrow I am meeting some of the program participants at a nearby park. That should be fun. My legs are already tired from walking so much. Time to go back to the hostel, make some more calls, maybe take a late siesta, and then enjoy the night.