Three weeks down. Twenty five percent of my way through summer!

Wow.  Time is flying fast lately.  I feel like it is zooming by both in good and bad ways!

Lunes(5/21)- Jueves (5/24):  The routine for my work days is almost always the same now.  I tend to buy my salads for lunch at the Carrefour market and I will also typically have a granola bar, some sort of fruit (like an apple or a mandarin orange), and then almonds or peanuts.  We can get coffee and water in the kitchen, so I tend to take a few of those breaks every day.  People are very friendly at the office and they are all patient with my slow Spanish when I talk to them.  They love to catch up in the kitchen on breaks, and especially at lunch.  I am mainly working on translations at work and I genuinely do feel extremely helpful while completing them.  I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to have any tasks because we work in Spanish.  I wasn’t sure how much they would entrust to me, but I have assumed another very vital role, taking the Spanish and translating it to English, or helping to edit or tweak their English translations.  Having skills that are not common in the office and having a different knowledge than them actually entices me to continue in my pursuit of education and refuels me, because I now know how valuable I can be as an asset to a company when I have a skill that they need.  One difference is the laptop keyboards.  At work, the laptop has different keys to accommodate the Spanish language, and certain keys like enter and shift are shaped differently.  This keyboard is taking a lot more getting used to than I thought that it would.  It is just one example of the small challenges I face daily.  Work is going well.  I enjoy my supervisor and my co-workers a lot, and I am looking forward to building a further bond with them.

The keyboard of my laptop at work.

Friday (5/25):  I was given Friday off of work to return to EUSA´s office to have another orientation and meet other students so I finally wouldn’t be alone.  I arrived at 9 am and met four girls from Boston University. We had a meeting about cultural differences in the workplace. We learned about the polar opposites that America and Spain tend to have on many levels, such as what’s more important: knowing your teammates or getting your work done? Americans believe it is most important to get your work done asap; however, Spaniards believe that it is more important to know your teammates and be friends with them before you can complete work together. Relationships are highly valued here. We did an exercise to see where we fell on the spectrum, and I actually was more so on the Spaniard side.  I guess this relationship-oriented, more relaxed culture isn´t too bad after all! (: Afterwards, the four girls from BU left and went to a museum and I stayed to meet another group of around 8 people. I was able to bond with them a little more as we actually had time to talk, and then after our session, we walked around and grabbed lunch together. We walked around a market and I got to see a new neighborhood. It was so nice to meet a new group of people and another girl! The boys went to nap and the girl I had met and I went shopping. I then went home for a short nap and then met them out again later to do some more exploring.

Sabado (5/26): I woke up after sleeping in, as tends to be a Saturday habit for me here, with the rest of the country also partaking. I researched some trips and places to visit trying to plan out the rest of my time here and then around 7:30 I left to go to a sports bar that was a very recommended viewing place for the infamous- Real Madrid vs. Liverpool championship game. I am so glad we got there early enough to get a table. The fans were decked out in their gear and they had drums and scarves and a multitude of cheers they would cycle through. If something really great happened, they would run out into the streets and wave their massive Real Madrid flags and light up flares to wave around while chanting and celebrating. It was truly an electric environment. I felt so lucky to be in the place that I was at the moment that I was there. I only caught onto one cheer that you could hear echoing in the streets for the next two days: “Campeones, Campeones, olé, olé, olé!!” We went to dinner at a place called Gino´s after the win to fuel up for the big rally. Around midnight in the Plaza Cibeles everyone met up to rally for the celebration. Honestly, it was a bit underwhelming. I was expecting a celebration like in Philadelphia after the Eagles won the Superbowl, but it seemed like most people were kind of over it. It was the third year in a row that Real Madrid had won, and the fourth year in the last five that they had won the Champions League. I felt like everyone was used to it and the excitement had been lost because it happens so often for the city. Nonetheless, there were still chants, and a few flares and I was glad I was there to experience it. We didn´t stay long, but we experienced it, took some photos and left for our homes.


Above is a video of the fans chanting the chant that I learned after Real Madrid won the game!

Domingo (5/27): Sunday my cousin who lives in NYC was visiting Madrid and so I met up with him for the day.  I took him to a café called “The Little Big Café” and we ate there.  He tried some Spanish coffee. After the cafe, we left to walk and went to the Plaza de España, the Royal Palace gardens, the Royal Palace, and we got ice cream in a park nearby. I stayed at the Royal Palace to watch the parade of the Real Madrid players and their coaches. After they came to the palace, I met up with a friend and we walked to Puerta del Sol for the continuation of the parade.  Again we both felt this was underwhelming. It took about thirty minutes for the team to come out onto the balcony for a little more than five minutes. We got to see the trophy and hear Ramiro the captain speak, as well as Ronaldo which was really cool. I then met up with two friends from Pitt that had arrived that morning and we went and got churros in a chocolate shop in Sol. They were so delicious, and the chocolate sauce tasted more like a thick hot chocolate which is not what I expected at all. I ended up leaving the chocolate shop a bit early so that I could make it home in time for dinner with my host family. What a memorable weekend, definitely one for the books!

Me in the Royal Palace gardens!  Photo credits to my cousin John.