For the last two days, I have been settling in and getting to know my surroundings. Yesterday, I took the metro to the school I will be teaching to get an idea of the commute. It took me about twenty minutes so now I have an idea of what neighborhoods I want to target and which neighborhoods are too far away from my school. I also took the metro to Sol which the center city where Plaza Mayor is located and where a lot of tourists. I am beginning to know how to get around which is helping me relax and get adjusted. The metro is very easy to use and most the places I need to go to are close to metro stops. Compared to the subway system in mahattan, I think it is a lot cleaner and most of the metro car seemed to be relatively new and in nice condition. The best part about the metro is that there are escalators that go up and down to the platform so you don’t have to take the stairs which is great for me because I can only take stairs one at time.
Yesterday Liz, someone I know through a mutual friend, arrived and we have discussed the possibility of living together. While our schools are opposite sides of the city our metro lines are close together, and there are a couple neighborhoods that would work well for both of us. Today, I am earnestly starting the apartment hunt emailing people on various websites that have put ads up. Hopefully I will hear some positive news within a day or two. Keep your fingers crossed.
Today has been really good so far. MY LUGGAGE ARRIVED! Furthermore, today I got an abono which is an ID card necessary in order to buy the month long metro pass. The month long pass only costs 43 euros which is very expensive. In the morning, I also went over the Fulbright Commission office and met one of the people in charge of the program named Paula. She seems really nice and friendly. This afternoon I plan going to Vodafone in order to purchase a cell phone. One of the girls in the Fulbright office went to all the cell phone carriers and compared the plans. I think Vodafone will be the cheapest but cell phone contracts are difficult enough to understand in English that I am sure a little of it will go over my head when someone describes in Spanish.
Right now, I am using the internet provided by the residencia. It uses a proxy server and a couple people including my self have had trouble logging onto skype and AIM. Someone said it may be due the proxy server but I know nothing about these things so I am just going to wait until someone figures it out. So for right now, I have access to email, gchat, facebook, and facebook chatting but I will not be on skype in the short run.
I haven’t really started taking pictures yet but once I have anything interesting I will post them. So far, one the biggest thing that I miss from the states is having ice in my water. The water they serve at the residencia, which provides three meals a day, is served at room temperature and it has been in the 80s since I have arrived so a cool class of water would be appreciated. I am slowly getting used to the daily schedule. Breakfast is served 7-9:30, lunch from 1:30-3:30, and dinner 9-10:30. The other interesting thing about my housing is that it is normally an all male dorm during the year. However, most of the universities start classes in the beginning of October so for the month of September they rent out the residencia to international students. As a result, the bathrooms are not labeled male and female. That is it for now, but please let me know if you have any specific questions.