I made it to Madrid in one piece and with all my luggage! It's so pretty, but sooooo cold, especially today.
Yesterday, (our first day) we were bused to our hotel (which was four stars!) where we met our USAC advisers and got introduced to everyone. Our USAC advisers are really nice and easy to talk to. Dinner at the hotel started with a yummy soup with some cut up ham in it for starters and then these hash brown type things (delicioso) and steak! I actually ate some of the steak which was an improvement for me. Then we got crepes with ice cream for dessert. It was yummers! I roomed with two girls, one named Michaela and one named Katie. I really like everyone in my program so far! It's been fun getting to know everyone. It's pretty evenly split between East Coast and West Coast people. We went out to a tapas bar to celebrate one of the student's birthdays. It was only 10:30 so no one was there, but we wanted it to be a relaxed night anyways because we had to get up at 7:30 today for all the orientations we had.
Which brings me to today! We got the basics on school and living situations, but more will come about school and life in Madrid tomorrow. But we did learn dos besas (the proper way to greet people, aka kiss on each cheek). Then we hung out, explored, bought cell phones and exchanged numbers, etc.
La Plaza Santa Ana with some of the girls. Look, snow!
Eventually 5 pm came around, which meant time for Carmen (homestay) to pick me up! She is very nice and we can communicate fairly well despite her not speaking English. Luckily I can pull out words and get the jist of it! I was already understanding Spanish better as the day went on! Now I just need to speak it without fumbling my pronunciation. I live in a great area near the Retiro Park. Everyone lives pretty close to each other. Just a metro stop here or there. One girl, who is year-round and I have yet to meet, lives around the corner from me. She's from Japan apparently. My room is very tiny, but has a huge armoire and a big shelf to put everything on!
I just had dinner (8:30) because Carmen knew that I had been up all day and I'm still not used to dinner being later. I had chicken with green bell peppers in this really yummy sauce and broth soup and bread to start. I ate most of the meal, but my appetite isn't huge because of the adjustments to everything. She sat with me while I ate dinner and we talked about random things. Her niece is named Alejandra, so she calls me Alejandra instead of Alex like everyone else does. I told her about my Spanish background and she was wondering why no one spoke Spanish haha.
But now I'm going to bed soon because I'm tired and we have to get up and meet at the school's metro stop by 9. I think some people are going out, but my SIM card takes 24 hours to activate so they can't call me anyways. Totally fine, considering I wasn't going to go out anyways! So that was my first two days!