It’s the beginning of 2019 and finally, I’m in Spain! And though I don’t find myself giddy with delight, I do feel a deep sense of satisfaction and a measure of pride at having done what I needed to do to within, as well as circumstantially to make living in Spain finally happen. No more talking about it… I’m actually being about it. And I have to say, it feels damn good.
Despite jet-lag, and with my head still spinning from all there was to do in preparing for my move (getting my Mom squared away in Charlotte, packing, making arrangement for financial obligations that aren’t going away just because I am, dropping off my car in Maryland, visiting family and friends, and getting all the visa documentation in order), I hit the ground running trying to find a place. I’d been warned from multiple people that flat hunting in Madrid is fierce and I have to say that was not an exaggeration. I arrived early, on December 27th (orientation for my program didn’t start until January 3rd) and was glad of it because it gave me a week to learn the basics of getting around, rest, and just get a feel for things as I looked for housing.
I’d very much wanted a place on my own, but after learning from multiple sources that pulling that off without a lot of time (didn’t have much of that), cash (definitely didn’t have a lot of that), or more than the basic level of Spanish I possess (especially since I wanted only a 6 month lease) would be tantamount to climbing Everest, I decided to open myself up to the option of flat sharing. Because yes, I wanted my own place, but not enough to put forth that kind of effort. So, after searching through loads and loads of ads on multiple websites, reaching out to more potential flat mates than I can count, I was finally able to snag what I thought was a wonderful place in the Moncloa neighborhood only a week after my arrival. BUT…. as life always does, a curve ball soon came my way. The week after I moved in, my flat mate (aka the Abuela) announced that she wanted to give my room to a friend visiting from France in May and wanted me to make arrangements for other accommodations at that time. Though there had been a few disappointing things about the place, I’d been willing to make it work up until that point because I really liked the neighborhood. But I was not about to sign up for the burden of having to find temporary accommodations in the midst of already staying in temporary accommodations. So, once again, I had the dreaded task of weeding through ads and making appointments to go see places in hopes of finding a place the right fit….
And I’m happy to say that within a few days, I found what so far, seems to be a good fit. So… my new digs? The neighborhood isn’t dynamic – only a few basic shops, bars, and restaurants. BUT it’s only a 10 minute walk to work (as opposed to a commute that’s over an hour via 2 metro trains) and there’s a great grocery store within a stone’s throw that has a fresh seafood section (the fish is yummy!). My flat mate (and this one doesn’t speak English either), a mid-30’s, motorcycle riding, workaholic, is hardly here, and it’s 150 euros cheaper than the other place. So, I’m not sad at all to give up the other place.
Nearly 6 weeks since my move, and I’ve already found myself in the midst of those divine moments of serendipity, unexpected connection, and novel life experience that come with this life of living creatively. And not unexpectedly, these past weeks have been jam packed with changes, challenges, a measure of chaos, and innumerable invitations to grow my courage! Which is why, though it’s only been about 6 weeks since leaving the U.S., I feel like I’ve done months and months worth of living.
Haven’t had much time to be a tourist yet, but now that I’m finally feeling settled and have gotten the swing of things with the job, I plan on remedying that post haste! That is …. after I return from Munich, Germany this weekend!! 🙂