Well after talking to my buddy, Kelsey True she gave me some ideas on what she wants to know about my life in Spain.
1. Does anything at SLU Madrid remind me of SLU in Saint Louis or are they completely different?
Well, I would say it is a little of both. I believe that atmosphere is the similar because it a Jesuit campus, but that is about all that is the same. However, the campus is way different. There is about only one building, Padre Rubio, that will have classes in. I have three of my four classes in this building; my other class is in the upper level of the library. The building Padre Rubio is way different then the buildings at SLU. The rooms are not connected. For example, one door is for rooms 4, 5, and 6 but you have to walk outside and up the stairs to go to rooms 7, 8, and 9. Very different. If I was to be dropped in the middle of the SLU Madrid campus I would not know it has anything to do with the SLU main campus because it looks completely different, but then again the Jesuit atmosphere is still semi-present. There is no large church on campus, which I am not the most happy about, but it will do. I will try to remember to take pictures on Monday.
2. What does my host mom look like?
My host mom is wonderful. She is 56 years old turning 57 in April. Ideas for gifts? Haha. Anyways, she has short (shorter than me) gray/brownish hair and a little bigger than normal size. Everyone morning she gives me two kisses – Europe style, and before I go anywhere, when I get home, and when I go to bed. It is since, but sometimes I miss the real hugs.
3. How is my house different from my Spain house?
Well first off I live in an apartment in Spain not a house. Most people live in apartments here. There is no fireplace, Kelsey. Ummm… it is considered inaprpriate to walk around barefoot – I normally just wear socks and my host mom doesn’t seem to mind :) The apartment I live in is smallish, but it works perfectly. I have my own room and just share a bathroom with Maya. Something different is that Spanish love to ventilate. For example, I am suppose to open my window and least 10 minutes every day! I love this so much! I love the fresh air in the apartment! However, Gloria likes the house a little warmer than me; luckily I control my own heat in my room which is normally off or at one. Haha.
4. .What have I been eating?
Well I have breakfast and dinner at my house every day. I normally have two clementimes in the morning or some other type of fruit and juice. Sometimes I will have toast or cereal; and sometimes we have a pastry. We never have eggs, not because Gloria is a vegan, but because Spanish people don’t eat the same things as Americans do for breakfast. Sidenote – Gloria bought Mango juice :) For lunch I either get a sub-like sandwich at a place close to campus – tienda verde (green store) or I eat the cafeteria food, which consist of chicken, fish, veggies, pasta, and French fries. And it is not that bad! For dinner I eat at my house. Gloria always makes us a salad which is normally very wonderful and then a main course. It is always different. But we have soup on Sundays and rice on Tuesdays and only veggies on Wednesdays and pasta on Thursdays. I really like the food and I have been adjusting well to all the soy meat products. It is not the same as real meat, but it’s not that bad.
5. Tell me about the bathrooms.
Well there isn’t too much to say about the bathrooms; they are basically the same as the US bathrooms. Except there are no public bathrooms. This can create a problem for some people. You either have to find a tourist information place or go into a coffee shop and buy something and then use the bathroom. It makes drinking a lot of water kind of tricky.
6. Is there radio? Any good TV?
Yes, there is radio. However, I personally do not listen to the radio. On another note, when I got out at night most of the songs that are played are American and we all sign along to them. When I went to the club the one night they did play Brittany Spears – Hit Me Baby, One More Time. That was fun! Regarding the TV - have not watched any TV expect for one night Gloria was watching NCIS in Spanish and I watched for about 20 minutes until I had no idea what was going on. Oh well.
7. Tell me about the Spanish keyboards that you hate.
Well at school the computers have Spanish keyboards – which are not that different than American keyboards but there is slight difference that makes it hard to type. For example, all the punctuation is in a different spot and you have to use different fingers to use them. And there is an extra key by the enter button which I always hit instead of the enter button.
8. Is the water safe to drink?
Well I have been drinking that water and I haven’t died yet. At the house we fill up bottles of water and keep them in the refridgerator and it works just fine. I have have heard though the water in Madrid is clean, but be careful when you go other places. However, water in Madrid is limited. I was informed on my first day to not use more water than nessasacry. For example, when brushing my teeth turn the water off if I am not using it. Go Spain with being green, I love you.
9. Do they recycle/are they green?
Simple answer: yes. We separate everything at my house: paper, plastic, cans, and organic matter. This is the same as school. Always when going to the grocery store – they do not have bags to put your groceries in, you must bring your own. Once again go Spain!
10. There are a ton of dogs walking around on the streets – not stray dogs wandering around, but people walking their dogs EVERYWHERE. It is weird to me, because I could not see raising/having a dog in a city.
11. The difference between commas and periods.
Here in Europe, prices are written differently than in the U.S. We write $3.50 with a period, but they write 3,50 with a comma. That can be confusing. And in the US we write 3,000 and here they write 3.000.
12. Sale times.
In Spain, there are two major sale (or “rebajas”) seasons, one in January (after Christmas) and another in August. These sales last for the whole month. Everywhere I walk, the stores have huge signs screaming, “REBAJAS!!!!” to draw in the customers.
13. Do you tip at restaurants?
In Spain, people don’t tip at restaurants, the only time they tip is if the service is amazing and then it is still only about 5%. This may seem like a deal, but it makes for a lot of terrible service. Whenever we go out, we have to call over the waiter every time we need something. Personally, I like the American system of paying based on quality of service.
At stores, the tax is already factored into the price, so whatever you see as the advertised price is exactly how much you pay.
Well, Kelsey this blog is just for you, but everyone is allowed to read it. I loved writing this blog it gave me a change to think about my experience!! I hope you all enjoy and please let me know if you have any other questions or are curious about things in Spain.
Paz y Amor. God Bless.
In honor of the title of this blog: please listen to my favorite song.