Wednesday, September 26, 2012

El Retorno!

Alright, first official blog post since my arrival in Spain! Yay!! It has been a little crazy since I’ve returned because I arrived in the middle of San Mateo, a weeklong festival here in Logroño. Of course it was a long journey, and I felt absolutely dead when I finally was able to plop onto the bed in my hotel. The next day however, I had a full schedule planned. I had to see apartments; as many as I could. I had 3 appointments to see 4 pisos. One was canceled because someone decided they wanted it before I could even see it! The other three pisos were nice but none of them met all of my requirements. My requirements are: wi-fi already installed, in the center of the city, and with female Spanish university students. I was discouraged at the end of that piso search for the day.

HOWEVER, what completely made up for a discouraging piso-search day was reuniting with ALL of my coworkers!! Literally, for 5 hours we slowly made our way through the pintxo area of Logroño and ate pintxos and drank cervezas and vinos. Every pintxo I ate, it was like euphoria…THEY ARE SO AMAZING AND I MISSED THEM!! I have some new coworkers and they were also there. I must say, they seem as cool as the rest of the group, so I’m excited to work with them too. Honestly, I have to say seeing all of my coworkers was like being on cloud 9. I got to catch up with everyone and now I’m ready to get back to work!! I begin the 1st of October!!

The next day, I decided to up-the-ante with the piso search. I had sent a bunch of emails the previous night hoping that when I awoke I would have responses. I had two in the afternoon. I tried calling some of the other apartments and the landlords said, ‘sorry, the rooms are filled now’. Well, if they’re filled, why is it still listed on your site??? Before my afternoon appointment, I was able to reunite with my good friend Andrea. She had just arrived the night after I did and was also trying to hit the ground running with her apartment search, so she came with me to the two apartments. The first one we saw that day I really didn’t like. However, the second one I did like. It met every one of my requirements. My roommates will be two Spanish university girls…but, they don’t get here until the first week in October. So, for the time-being I’m sola in the piso.

After I moved in, it hit me that I wasn’t living in the same spot as last year. I lived in possibly the most excellent spot in Logroño. It was close to EVERYTHING. It looked really modern and we had felt like we made out like bandits; that we were paying very little for what it was worth. This year, I’m still close to the center, but I’m farther from a few things than I would like and the apartment is older looking. It sort of reminds me of my madre’s piso in Palma de Mallorca. Also, since the girls aren’t moving in immediately, the wi-fi is switched off and I need to wait for one of them to get here to turn it on. So, this past week, I’ve returned to bumming off cafés for their wi-fi. It’s not terrible though.

OF COURSE I MUST DISCUSS SAN MATEO. San Mateo was amazing….there were ALWAYS bands playing and marching through all the streets. You couldn’t NOT feel happy when you heard them coming down the street. Everyone was wearing special San Mateo pañuelos or handkerchiefs around their necks. Andrea and I wanted one, but we never got around to buying one. So, needless to say, I regret that. Every night, there were fireworks over the river and apparently every night people are competing with the fireworks from the night before. The first night I had absolutely passed out so I missed them. The second night I had the best view from my hotel window and I was in complete awe. They were amazing. Some were shapes, others moved up and down like they were kites. Those were the coolest of all of them because I had never seen those before! I guess the 4th of July fireworks in Concord, NH are not as fancy as these San Mateo fireworks…we need to step up our game NH! Also, there were concerts in certain plazas at night. On the final night there was the “big concert” which sounded like Celtic music. Andrea and I ran into our coworkers at the concert who are friends with one another. According to me and Andrea’s coworkers it’s Galician…no offense, but come on…it’s Celtic. It seemed very strange to hear that in Spain.

Last weekend, we went out and Andrea and I were able to see old friends, which was terrific! We fell into our old going out patterns, and we were trying to teach the new auxiliares the places to go and that in Spain going out until 6:30 is the norm. Andrea and I were fighting jetlag but we succeeded. After that night, I moved into my new apartment. I got in touch with Ana, Jorge’s mom that day and I already gave Jorge his first clase particular yesterday. It was amazing to see him and his family! I love them; they are such nice people. I also was able to communicate with Sergio and I’m going to see him and his family on Friday! Yay!! They are my “peninsula” Spanish family we decided last year, because my host family lives in the Balearic Islands.

Two nights ago, we had to say goodbye to a former auxiliar who was forced to head back to the States because her identity card had expired and she wasn’t able to secure a spot for this year in the schools. So, in typical Rioja fashion we got pintxos until she had to catch her 1:30am bus to Madrid. I’m going to miss her a lot! Tonight we are doing the same thing for another former auxiliar who will be moving to Asturias tomorrow.

Finally, my life wouldn’t be normal if I hadn’t had SOME bad luck along the way. The ATM ate my Spanish card on Saturday, which meant I had to wait until Monday to get to the bank. The bank called the bank where my ATM card was eaten and that bank said I had to wait until Tuesday so they could empty their ATM. However, the upside of making the trip to the bank was that one of the nicest ladies that works there said to me, ‘I was thinking of you and your roommates because I want my two kids to have private lessons, would you be interested??’. Um, obviously I’m interested. So, I guess it wasn’t VERY bad luck. I just had wanted to leave my American account untouched…that wasn’t an option. I had to pay the security deposit and my rent and regular expenses with my American money. Of course, my account in Concord is crying.

Like all former posts, I will try and be better about updating this thing as often as I can so it’s not like reading a long novel every time. With no wi-fi in the apartment it’s been difficult to keep up. I SWEAR I’LL GET BETTER. For those that were able to keep reading through all of this….I give you so much credit! Until next week!! 

Fireworks over the Río Ebro during San Mateo

University students putting on a concert during San Mateo

The "Big Concert" in the Plaza de Ayuntamiento

Andrea and her coworkers Javier and Mar at the "Big Concert"

Me and my coworker David during the concert

All of us!

First weekend night out last Saturday with Laura and Andrea

Liz's final pintxo night before going back to the States

Monday, September 17, 2012

Good-bye America!

Yayyyyy today I'm going back to Spain!!!! I'm so happy that I can get back to posting on this blog!! It's been so long since I've used it!! This post will be short and sweet... basically, after struggling to pack everything I need (separating what you need from you want is hard when you're packing for 9 months and only using 2 suitcases...see photo below) I'M READY TO GO!! My flight leaves late tonight from Boston. I'm taking the 10:20 flight to Frankfurt, and then I'll go from Frankfurt to Madrid. I land in Madrid around 3:45pm SPAIN TIME. I will hardly be able to breathe a sigh of relief because then an hour and a half later, I have a 4 hour bus ride to Logroño!! Gahhhh! I hope I sleep through it all! It'll be worth it once I get to Logroño at 9:30 pm or 3:30pm EST so I can pass out in the hotel. When I wake up, I'll be able to celebrate the San Mateo festival in the city and apartment search!! Woooo! So the next post will be probably two days from the EARLIEST. It has been great being back at home and seeing my family and friends but now, I'm ready to head back. Adios America!! I'll miss you!!!

ALL PACKED. Note the bags of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...gotta have 'em!