As the sun starts to set on my second full day living in Madrid, I thought I’d scribble down some of my first impressions of life here…
- It’s weird not having a “job”.
When I arrived I was expecting my first few days to consist of lots of “You must do this, this and this, but not this etc”, and I was surprised when I felt guilty for feeling like I had nothing to do. I suppose I’m so used to working I was anticipating more responsibilities, but seeing as being an au pair is not a job as such it turns out I don’t have much to do besides talking English with the child and helping with very light household chores. I’m sure I’ll feel more stressed out when both Victor and I start school!
- The Spanish are ultra chilled.
One thing that is going to take some getting used to is the ultra laid-back way of life the Spanish appear to lead! Thus far nothing seems to be treated with urgency and we seem to be taking it one day at a time. Even administrative tasks (such as getting me a bank account, phone, and registering at the local council) that I thought were important appear to be less so, as proved by spending the entire day yesterday attempting to get all this finished but in the end getting nothing sorted at all… Which is absolutely fine, because they know it will be sorted eventually. However, as a Brit who is used to structured timetable, I think this way of life will do me some good! Why stress over the little things, like shops closing in the middle of the day when you most need them, or transport cards taking a week (instead of one day) to order?
- The Spanish shower their kids with love.
I know the English are known for their stiff upper lip, but I wasn’t aware of just how stiff we really are. Both mothers and fathers spoil their children with affection in a way that just seems to come natural to them, but would be considered some new age parenting philosophy of it started trending in England. I have no idea what the result is of this, and what way I think is better for the child, but thus far it doesn’t appear to be a bad thing anyway…
- I’m hungry.
Eating a small breakfast, big lunch, and tapas dinner hours apart is not something my tummy is used to! Today for example I had yoghurt and some tiny slices of toast for breakfast at 8:30am, then a chickpea salad with a small veggie burger for lunch at 3pm, and I won’t eat dinner now (which will be something small, like salad or a slice of Spanish Omelette) until 10pm. That said, the food is lush, and always prepared fresh. Although they are finding my vegetarianism quite strange, the family have been so accommodating which is definitely making my life easier!
- I’m already forgetting English.
Not that I have been speaking a lot of Spanish, but being surrounded by people who speak very basic English and having to communicate at such a low level means even writing this blog post with full sentences is a struggle. I heard that this would happen, and after so long my English level would actually decrease (though I would pick it up again easily enough), I did not expect the devolution would start so quickly! So if any of my friends are reading this, I’m sorry if I my messages make me sound like a cave woman. Lo siento, pero mi cerebro es frito!
Well that is what I am pondering at the moment, I suspect I will have a lot more to think about in a few weeks time!