Following an exhausting 10-hour flight via Frankfurt, I finally made it to my destination and it was nothing shy of incredible. Madrid has such an inviting atmosphere that you feel at home starting with the first conversation you have, whether it be with the taxi driver or your host family. I have done so much in my first week here and I will describe some of my experiences to date and share a couple of things I have noticed with you.
Walking into my host family’s house, I did not know what to expect from my host or my roommates as I was given little information about them prior to departure. However, they are all extremely nice and such great people to live with! I met my host, Maria, and my three roommates Morgan, Missy and Karly when I arrived and we went to explore the city although our bodies were barely functioning from the jetlag. The first thing that caught my eye was that a significant number of businesses were closed because it was Sunday. We walked around for about an hour before we found an open super market. Passing by Saint Louis University Madrid, my host university, was such a surreal feeling; that moment reassured me that I was really there and I would be lying if I say I was not a little overwhelmed.
Later that evening, we headed out to have dinner at MasQmenos café: it has a great setting with a large sitting area outside to enjoy the evening with fresh air and an awesome view, which is very common here. Unfortunately, the whether made it absolutely impossible to sit outside since it was 96 degress. We did however enjoy their salads and light sandwiches with a glass of wine indoors. Looking at their menu, I noticed that Spaniards incorporate ham in almost any dish. This is something I wish had I known ahead of time since I do not eat ham but nevertheless, they have some great option with beef and chicken as well.
Although it has just been a week, I feel like I have been here for much longer, mostly due to the people I have met. I can honestly say I have met some of the kindest and most open-minded people I have ever met and it has made my transition much easier. One of the perks of attending an American University in Spain is that although a good amount of the student body is study abroad students, you also meet a significant amount of local English-speaking Spaniards as well. This is great because no one knows the city better than they do, so they give you the type of information you would typically not find in a guide book or travel website. I also enjoy talking to them and getting insight on the life of an average Spanish college student.
My experience so far has been wonderful and I have eliminated any doubts I might have ever had prior to arriving. However, I have had to make a couple of adjustments. It is normal for a Spanish household to not have air conditioning; this is not a major problem but the first three days I was here were the hottest days of the summer so a small fan was definitely necessary for the night. I also notice that Spaniards normally kiss each other twice (once of each side of their cheeks) when they see each other; this is also another minor adjustment that is actually kind of fun!
Thank you for reading about my first week in Madrid and tune in next week for more details about my time in here!