Settling In

Trip Start Jun 28, 2008
Trip End Aug 11, 2008

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Where I stayed
Colegio Mayor Universitario Jaime del Amo

Flag of Spain  ,
Monday, June 30, 2008

Today we checked into our dorm facility and I was able to finally unpack my bags and get settled!  Getting to our dorm from our hotel was an interesting feat....the closest Metro stop to our hotel was 500 meters away (which my conversion table tells me is less than 1/2 a mile, but I'm not certain how accurate that is because it definitely felt like WAY longer than that!)  Kelli and I trekked the 500 meters, which of COURSE was uphill, with all of our luggage, and we both nearly collapsed once we reached the station!  I now fully understand why all the travel guides advise you to pack light!!! 

We were able to navigate the metro to switch lines and find the correct stop, and amazingly we were able to find our dorm without a problem!  Although I am all about immersing myself into the Spanish culture, I was elated to finally get to the dorm and interact with other English-speaking people!!

My room is fairly nice, the only complaint that I have is that there is NO air conditioning!  Luckily, the program provides us with fans for our room.  I think the weather here is gorgeous, and it is quite amusing to listen to all the other students (most of whom are from William & Mary) complain about el tiempo caliente!  The last couple days it has be in the low to mid 80's with no humidity, so considering that it was 112 the day that I left Phoenix, I am soaking up this great weather!!

After we got settled into our rooms Kelli and I made friends with one of our neighbors, Danielle, and we all ventured out into las calles (the streets) surrounding our dorm in hopes of finding comida y el supermercado.  We found a great place called VIPS that is a small supermarket type store with food, books, movies, beverages and snacks that also has a restaurant inside.  La Comida de VIPS es muy bien y no es caro.  (The food at VIPS is very good and is not expensive.) 

We had an orientation meeting at the dorm later that evening followed by dinner - which is not served until 8:30 p.m.!!!! En Espaņa almuerzo (lunch) begins at 1:30 y comida (dinner) begins anywhere from 8:30 - 10:30 p.m.  After dinner a group of girls that we've made friends with (the majority of which go to William & Mary) went out to a small Irish pub in downtown Madrid with 2 other male students who speak fluent Spanish.  One of the students is actually from Madrid, and the other is from Michigan, but was raised in Espaņa until he was 6.   On the way home to the dorm around 3:30 a.m. (which is not considered late by Espaņa standards), we ran into some Espaņa fans who were STILL celebrating Espaņa's victory over Alimania that were pretty entertaining and friendly. 
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