Max, Marco, Mattius and Maddie

My first week in an apartment has been amazing! Most of my roommate’s names start with M: Max, Marco, Mattius, Maddie, Andrea, and Denise.  I was greeted the first night with a beautiful meal of roast chicken, ratatouille, fresh bread, and homemade garlic sauce to dip the bread in. Best. Meal. Ever. Europeans know how to cook.

Yesterday, we watched the Italy vs. Barcelona game. For Europeans, soccer is a religious activity. Before watching the game, my roommate gingerly pulled his favorite Italian soccer jersey out of his bag and motioned a cross symbol on his chest. When people got hungry, they paid me to get pizza for because no one wanted to miss a crucial five minutes of the game.

The only hard thing I’ve encountered so far is Madrid’s air quality. My throat feels a bit sore every night because of all the fumes and cigarette smoke on the street. I also messed up pretty bad in trying to buy fruit on Monday. In Spain, you have to weigh your fruit and get a personal receipt for the fruit before you go to pay for it at the cash register. I didn’t understand this, so I went to the cash register without a receipt. When the grocer tried to explain this system to me in Spanish, I didn’t understand. Someone in line behind me had to weigh the fruit and get the receipt for me. After creating a nine-person line and paying with cash after trying a faulty debit card, I finally walked out with my fruit. Thank you, Simply Mercado, for your patience. I am trying my best.

Finally, I feel like I’m getting a feel for the city. Madrid is famous for its beautiful ceramic street sign tiles, but these can often be impossible to see. I joked with a friend yesterday that Madrid has a knack for placing trees squarely in front of these street signs to make it intentionally difficult for tourists. I will never take America’s obvious green street signs for granted again. Even so, my sense of direction has improved a lot over the past week. I try to look up from my google maps app more often and take time to walk places. I have also started taking the bus instead of the metro, which is a bit less disorienting. Instead of passing underground in a magical combination of colorful metro lines, I can sit on a bus and look out the window to see where I’m going.

Anyway, that’s all for now.