First update from Madrid

So, I’ve been living in Madrid about a month and a half.

I work in a public “bilingual” elementary school in a Northeastern district of the capital city (when I get a chance, I’m going to write a post about what exactly constitutes a “bilingual” school in Madrid). I work with the 1st, 3rd, and 4th graders; I work mostly with the 3rd graders as I see at least one 3rd grade class daily. Overall I like working with younger kids and have a good rapport with the students. I greatly prefer this to a high school, although I do see the appeal of working with older children.

Just like with any job, there has been some drama between among the staff this year…already. Since one of the auxiliares was here last year, and she already filled me in re: last year’s drama, I wasn’t completely shocked when I was told about a huge fight that happened during break a couple weeks ago. That being said, in general things are going well for me personally. I’ve told people that I feel like I like this job as much as is feasible, in that I do enjoy it, I do it well, but I couldn’t do something like this forever.

On October 24th there was an education strike throughout all of Spain’s public schools, universities, and learning centers. Social services and the like have been greatly affected throughout the past year or so, and regarding public education, the government is passing a law similar to “No Child Left Behind.” I found out about the strike from a thread in a Facebook group the previous Monday. Most of the teaching and administrative staff at my particular school came to work, but most of the students stayed at home. Between the 3rd and 4th grade classes there were maybe 25 students.

Currently I’m contemplating whether or not I want to move to a different apartment. There have been some issues with my roommates and the apartment [building] itself, mostly my roommates, I won’t get into it too much now. With my particular lease, which is apparently fairly common in Spain, I’d basically just need to give a month’s notice before I wish to move out and I’m good. However, when I let myself calm down and completely analyze the situation, once the aggravation from the most recent issue has lessened a bit, I’m hesitant to leave. Frankly, I feel like whether or not you’re content with your housing is luck of the draw.
Once I take into consideration…

— What I don’t like about living here
My roommates – mainly one in particular – and their friends/guests/girlfriends, paper thin walls, lots of families live here, not much to do near my apartment that’s worthwhile (e.g. All of the bakeries/cafes literally sell the same food, like from the same bakery distributor or whatever, it’s especially obvious since I live so close to the main supermarket here. I’ve mentioned that it’s a positive and a negative that I feel there is nothing nearby that’s worth spending my money on.)

— What I do like
15ish-minute walk from work, 60ish-second walk from the metro (This is BIG for me), located off the main street here, conveniently close to stores and other commercial areas, enormous bedroom with a deadbolt lock and plenty of furniture, good landlord

— What I want
A studio or one bedroom in the NE section of the capital city that’s not located on the bottom two levels of the building (I currently live on the 4th floor, which is the “3rd floor” in Spain since the 1st floor is the “ground floor”/i.e. level zero), a bit closer to downtown Madrid than I am now, close to the metro

— and my budget…

…I feel like the chances that I’ll find something that is worth the time, effort, and costs of moving is slim.
But either way, I’m aiming to move into a studio once I no longer live here.

I’ve been sick and have had some health problems over the past week or so. As much of a pain as that has been, I have insurance here, seemingly…very, very good insurance, through Cigna Salud as I’m not an EU resident. A clinic nearby accepts this insurance, so I plan to see a general practitioner/doctor of internal medicine and let him direct to…everyone else I’d need to see at that clinic. It’s nice to have the option to seek medical care, and the reassurance that it will not bankrupt me.

Geico commercial voice: “I just saved thousands of dollars by moving to Spain…”

Spanish bureaucracy is complicated. And everything is this country is so slow in general. None of the rooms in my school even have a [functioning] clock, I remember when I lived in Seville and went on a mini-search to find a functioning clock. I plan to make a pilgrimage back to said clock someday.

Speaking of, I will be spending the holidays either in Seville or back in Chicago. Neither is set in stone. I still have a little network of friends in Seville, and either way it’d be nice to visit. I’m creating little groups of friends here in Madrid too, it’s been nice.

Since I’ve only been here a short while, and am having issues with my accommodation/health/etc, and it is Fall, and…bureaucracy, Madrid hasn’t really grown on me just yet, and I still greatly prefer Seville. Honestly though, it seems like everyone I’ve run into who has lived in Madrid and at least one other Spanish city prefers that/those place(s) to Madrid. Once my health improves, my living situation changes at least somewhat, and I see the sun more often, I imagine it will grow on me a bit more… it’s just a matter of time.

~ by Revé on November 3, 2013.

4 Responses to “First update from Madrid”

  1. Glad to hear from you! I have been thinking about you, lately. Are your health problems because of the Spain culture, their food, etc. Hopefully, you are aware that a lot of the European cultures does not share the same cleanliness standards, as the U.S.; and our stomachs, therefore, are not as iron cast, as the people’s there. Please, make sure that you are using the utmost care, that is available there. As for the apartment hunting … have you considered contacting HGTV, to see if you are eligible, for their Apartment Hunting Show, for their International Apartment Hunting show? Go to their webside, … it is called ‘House Hunting International (rent or buy, I believe). Just throwing out an idea, something that will enable you to have them help you fins something in YOUR price range, and must have list (close shopping, near Center, entertainment, restaurants, etc.). I will keep you in my prayers. I’m keeping Raven, and your parents, in my prayers, also. Both of you keep safe; and let your parent’s voices, in your head, act as your conscious, if you are wondering, if to take any action, that you are not sure of, or not. In fact, if available, CONTACT THEM; trust me, they will not mind, no matter how frivolous, you think it may be. Feel free to email me directly, on gmail, etc., as often as you like; if you just want to have an active U.S contact, at the moment. Thanks, for the update; and the children there are BLESSED to have you, in their life; as are the people that you are coming into contact with! Muah! Take care!

    S. Lambert

    • Well, the health problems I’m referring to are issues I already had in the U.S., but as I had no health insurance, I couldn’t do anything about them. And then I also have a cold in general stemming from one of those issues, plus the fact that it’s Fall and I work with small children.

      Thank you, take care 🙂

  2. Wow Reve’, I had no idea you were heading off……thanks for the update. I’ll definitely keep you in prayer and certainly hope you can get the meds you need soon so you can be 100% as you need that working with little people. Talk with you soon, Danita

  3. Sorry to hear Madrid hasn’t won you over (yet) — here’s hoping it gets better! I didn’t like Paris for the first six months either 🙂

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