Bienvenidos! This is your February blog post and update on my adventures. Since my last post, I have…

  • Settled into my homestay in Madrid. Say hi to mi perra, Trini!

trini.jpg

  • The apartment is lovely – dark wood floors, simple crystal chandeliers, and always very clean. My food is simple, good, and most importantly, made by someone else. Did you know they leave the heads on their fish in Spain?
  • 20160203_211555.jpg

    La trucha — the trout. Way too much spine. Actual nightmare.

  • Enrolled at university and begun the arduous task of registering for classes. I will be learning about Spanish literature after the war, for sure, but the process for registration is excessively bureaucratic, so even a month into my program I couldn’t tell you my schedule.
  • Explored Spain, ate many tapas, drank many glasses of vino tinto, and explored los clubes. Last night I ate Puerto Rican food, the night before, Japanese, and I’m learning all about Spanish food. I really like their tortilla de patatas and ensaladilla rusa (only with homemade mayonesa), and their wonderful chocolate caliente, which is so thick you can dip churros in.
  • Made new friends!

 

  • Parque del Buen Retiro…
20160207_153657

Look at the little green bird! Darling.

20160119_102559

Lucifer being Lucifer, tasteful snake

20160130_163926.jpg

Casual.

I am very, very lucky to be here, and my Spanish, while still rusty, has already begun to improve. I have gone from understanding 50% in my first class on la Posguerra to understanding 90% in the second. The readings are slowly killing me, but perhaps when I rise from the grave I will speak Spanish? Is that how that works? I live in hope.

I have managed to write a couple short stories, and some fun scenes with my various characters. I am resisting using credit to buy a Speculative Fiction course at Gotham, and telling myself I’ll do it over the summer. I am working on getting a job teaching English to Spanish children, and dreaming of the day when my schedule will finally become… well, a schedule. I’ve found a great local parque that I enjoy, above, and a lovely favorite cafe, though I have yet to find a favorite, cheap bar. I am constantly irritated by how difficult it is to get a hold of my non-expat friends, as the time zones are so different, and miss them far more than I would like to, perhaps even almost as much as they deserve. Sooner or later I’ll see them or give them a call, but in the mean time, I will distract myself with Madrid, Spain, and Europe.

Here are the places I have yet to visit, but hope to! Perhaps not all on this trip. 

Places in Madrid to Visit:

  • Parque de Capricho – looks lovely in the pictures. Yet to see.
  • Malasaña – The hipster neighborhood of Madrid.
  • El Prado – One of the best art museums in the world.
  • Chueca – The gay neighborhood of Madrid! Great shopping, cute dogs.
  • Calle Huertas – My host mom said it was cool. Clubs, that sort of thing.
  • Parque Europeo – This park apparently has miniatures (well, large miniatures) of all the great monuments of Europe.
  • Plaza Santana — Good place to go for a night out.
  • Cafe Gijón — Cafe where many writers gathered after Franco’s regime.

Cities Around Spain to Visit:

  • Sevilla 
  • Toledo
  • Malaga 
  • Valencia 
  • Segovia
  • Granada

Spring Break Cities:

  • Nice
  • Marseilles
  • Cannes
  • Florence
  • Rome
  • Venice
  • Pisa
  • Milan

Cities Around Europe to Visit… Eventually:

  • Dublin
  • Amsterdam
  • Prague
  • Krakow
  • Lisbon
  • Porto
  • Copenhagan
  • Berlin

Thanks for reading! Next blog post to come pronto, i.e., probably March.