Thursday, 2 February 2017

The first week in Spaaaaaaain


After months of planning, crying, stressing and anticipating, I am writing this from Madrid! We have been here for almost a week now and it has gone so fast already.

Family/friends back home have asked me how I would sum up the experience so far in a few words...but that is literally impossible. I swear I have never felt as many different emotions as I have in this week; from absolute elation to homesickness a thousand times over, the past few days have been a total rollercoaster of emotion and excitement.

Saying goodbye to my family and friends was horrible, as well as leaving my boyfriend at the airport. I could barely stomach a Mcdonald's porridge because I felt so sick on the way to the airport! But once my friend Eilish and I had waved Callum and her Dad off (who are now bezzie mates), we trundled off through security full of tears and excitement (until the security guard said 'Oh my god, you're 20? You look about 15!!!' Then it was just tears.)

Adding to the stress was the fact that dearest Rachel's luggage was 10.7kg over the weight limit (!!!) but it still gives us something to laugh about now. And off we went, Eilish, Victoria, Rachel and I on a journey to the unknown.....

Hostel ft Victoria

When we arrived in Madrid we got a taxi to our hostel, situated opposite what looked like a prison...

Our spanish skills were tested from the first minute as the man at reception had no idea what we were asking about. Eventually another man turned up to let us in to our room, which was amaaaaazing. We've got a beautiful balcony overlooking Chamberi, a big bedroom and sofa bed and a nice kitchen. 

On the first day we wandered around the main sights like the Temple de Debod and Gran Via, taking the atmosphere and surrealness in all at once. We saw two girls twerking outside the Royal Palace which was...different...and accidentally ended up in a Catholic Church mass with the biggest organ you've ever seen. We did a bit of house hunting to no avail, 4 bed flats are so hard to find, as we have figured out. On the second day we spent the day searching again, registered at Uni and took a trip to Taco Bell (really soaking up the culture...)

We also had a much needed night out, and ended up in 2 dodgy bars as everywhere you walk in Madrid at night someone will offer you free drinks with plenty of persuasion. And to our absolute surprise the free drinks were not a myth! I also experienced a Spanish speaking issue as I told some chicos that Rachel was 'pregnant' instead of 'drunk'....oopsie.

Lovin the Spanish life

Yesterday we tried relentlessly to find a house once more, with no luck and a lot of stressssss. I was told before coming to Spain that small things about the country will really get on your nerves, and I think I have found my two things (already oops). 1, SLEEPING IN THE DAY!!!!!!! Picture the scene, you've just trekked across Madrid to visit a certain office/person, you get there and they are closed for the afternoon for a siesta. So. Frustrating. And 2, The lack of signposting and directions is unreal, I'd say that so far we've spend at least 10 million hours searching for buildings which don't have signs/numbers.

But, there are also things I'm loving- Everyone here is so friendly and always willing to help you out if you're lost (which we normally are), there are SO MANY DOGS in Madrid which is an obvious plus, and I love their chilled out 10pm the shops and streets are bustling with people going about their business. The buildings are beautiful, I love practicing Spanish all the time (except when I'm trying to explain what phone sim I wanted...that wasn't fun), and the sun has been shining for us. Overall I feel so lucky to have this amazing opportunity.

Our Uni building!

Last night the 4 bed search ended as we realised how impossible it was, so now we have split up and signed our own 2's. We are all moving in on Saturday yay. I feel so relievedddddd after months of relentless searching and feeling like we were gonna end up on the streets!! was super excited to hear from home that my story in the Derby Telegraph about the kids at Findern School wearing slippers was in all the national newspapers the next day! Crazy to think that it all came from my little sis coming home with a letter!

Tonight we are going to a 'meet and speak' session run by CityLife Madrid, who organise activities and trips for international students. Exciting!

I hope you have enjoyed this post- and I also hope that by the end of my time here I might have persuaded at least someone to study abroad!

Anna x

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