After my first couple of days living here in Madrid I wrote about my very first impressions. Now two full weeks in, I can safely say I am still bemused by said impressions, but I have naturally become curious about even more. Here’s what I have been up to this fortnight…

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The beginning of my stay consisted mostly of administrative errands with the family, showing me the local area and where I would need to bring Victor for hings such as School, Athletics, and Football.

I am currently living in Majadahonda (yeah, try pronouncing that!), a small town just 17km from Madrid city centre. When I tried to do a little research of the suburb I was unable to find much information on the internet, and thus assumed it would be a hole. Fortunately my assumption was far from the truth! Although small, the Gran Via hosts ten times the amount of bars, shops, and restaurants than my university town of Egham did. At Lunch and Dinner time, the town comes to life and every single bar and restaurant is full to the brim until the early hours of the morning. I suppose when a Jarra de Tinto Verano costs less than a bottle of fizzy water, it makes economical sense drink alcohol casually throughout the week…

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This whole aupair shin dig has been an interesting experience… Thus far I both feel like I have a lot to do even when in reality I’m doing little more than English tutoring for one hour a day, followed by constantly having to tell my host kid to get off the PS3 and/or Clash of Clans. Adolescence is not the most charming of ages, and I can safely say I deffo have new found respect for my mother! He’s fine, but the daily routine of chasing him (literally) around the house just to sit down and do one hour of English is getting rather mundane… That said, I get my payback when I can totally embarrass him by walking near him in front of his friends! It really is quite cushty, the family are absolutely lovely and I am very happy to be here. I’ve even started tutoring another 2 boys for an extra 30 euros a week, which i’m going to put away into savings for my next trip.

One great thing that does come with aupairing in the network of aupairs you inevitably end up meeting. Everyone is on the same page, and although your madre told you to never meet up with strangers, looking lost on the street and whatsapping each other to ask what one is wearing is part of the experience. I remember the days when I couldn’t even walk into the shop on my own without scratching my chest raw out of anxiety. Now I’m pretty comfortable going up to complete strangers and asking if they’re so and so. Something an other au pair and I have agreed on, however, is that there seems to be a lack of interest (amongst the aupair circle) to really get out, meet locals, and learn about the culture, as most are happy just to congregate in their own expat groups. Fortunately not everyone is the same, and I’m currently looking into attending a few language exchanges with a group of them. I’m also keen to start some Salsa lessons…

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And how is my espanol going, I hear you ask? Well, it’s alright. I’m definitely picking up lots of new vocabulary simply through immersion, but I’m still shy and the family are slowly speaking to me ore often in Spanish. I don’t start my course until October 2nd, but I’ve already had a language exchange and met up with a group of Spaniards to practice. In general the Spanish are super understanding and want to help, but some are more eager to practice their English rather than wait for you to string together a few sentences. It’s getting there, and I’ve surprised myself by just how much I can understand! I’m still enjoying it, and even though the locals keep telling me it’s a really hard language to learn, I’m determined to reach B2-C1 level by July 2015!

Apart from that there is not much more to say on the adjustment front! The biggest adjustment has still got to be the eating timetable, oh and this new Smartphone I was practically forced into buying thanks to the Spaniard’s rejection of texting and insistence on using whatsapp… Having data and the ability to check bus routes and google maps when you’re totally lost isn’t really useful at all. My cooking is considered adventurous here, and I am desperately missing marmite, and quorn of all things. It’s still 30 degrees during the day, and I still have no tan to show for it.

More on the Touristy bits n bobs to follow.

 

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