Today, I acted like an American, but not in the bad way that makes me cringe when I see obnoxious tourists around Madrid. First, I went to the American embassy so I could vote. I have yet to receive my actual ballot so I filled out a write in ballot. I doubt my vote will actually matter but after discussing the election with my students and going to a democrats abroad meeting, I felt obligated to voice my opinion. The embassy was actually quite helpful. After showing my US passport, I was given a write in ballot and a ticket number. Luckily, there is a separate line for US citizens trying to vote which is quite short and is not the same line as everyone else who is applying for visas and green cards. After filling out my ballot, I talked with the representative who provided the address of where to send my ballot and was able to tell me whether I needed a witness to sign my ballot.
After the embassy, I walked to Taste of America, an American grocery store. I was expecting some over the top grocery with an overabundance of products from the states. The store was actually pretty small and mainly had baking supplies (many kitchens in Spain do not have ovens, hence the lack of baking supplies in normal grocery stores), Halloween candy, Pop tarts, oatmeal, pasta sauce, and BAGELS! I initially went to the store to see what products they had related to Halloween because my school informed on Friday we are celebrating it in our classes. The Halloween candy was too overpriced, close to seven euros for a small bag of candy but I did buy four bagels for three euro at the store. I had the first bagel today and it was actually pretty good. While the price is high, I am willing to pay it once and a while.
My third and final stop today was at Al Campo, the Spanish equivalent of Walmart. At Al Campo, I found more reasonably priced Halloween candy (ie fun size bars of candy), decorations, and a costume. I am going to be witch this year. I was able to buy a hat and face paint for pretty cheap and I have enough black clothes to complete the outfit.
On a side note, the other American thing I did this weekend was watch NFL football. One of my friends paid to watch the NFL games live on his computer and we had an American Football party. It was so much fun to get into the games and talk football with people who actually understand the game and have intelligent things to say. The only bad thing about the football was that we had some trouble connecting to the site and at times it would replay parts of the game that we had already seen, and because we could not get the full screen option to work we were unable to see the game clock without looking closely. As a result, we watched the same three minute section three or four times before we noticed anything was wrong. During this time, we thought Cassel, the New England quarter back was playing horribly because it kept showing him getting intercepted. Once we realized the problem, we paid closer attention to the game clock and enjoyed the rest of the game.