Friday, September 23, 2011

The Crosswalks are Alive with the Sound of Birdies

So, fun fact. In Madrid (perhaps in all of Spain?), when you are allowed to cross the street at a crosswalk - like when the man lights up green - it sounds like birds are chirping!

I just wanted to share that with you. Anywho, I´m in Madrid, yo! I was super dee duper tired after my day of delayed flights which involved lots of running through airports, crying, waiting, praying, asking for moral support from innocent bystanders, and ultimately ended with literally running on the plane to Madrid. I was legit the last one on. But just my luck, I couldn´t sleep (and the Filipina women next to me didn´t seem to even want to sleep... and they were apparently talking about a lot of funny things). So, I got to Madrid around 10ish Monday morning (4am Michigan time - super!) and I met up with another girl to take a bus into the city. It was actually a pretty easy trip, besides for my suitcase being a kajillion pounds and the final metro stop stop didn´t have an escalator. My hostel was a half-block from the metro station, and I was soooo ready to sleep in a nice wam comfy bed, but my room wasn´t ready yet. All the couches in the common room were being used, so I did what any good girl does and slept at a kitchen table. I slept a little more in my actual bed and then when out to have my first beer and tapas in Madrid! Wooooo!

The next two days I completely devoted to finding a piso (apartment), and that´s when I realized the crosswalks are cute and that they chirp to tell you to cross. The first time I heard it, I looked up expecting a flock of small colorful birds to descend upon my head, but alas, no birds.

The piso search was exhausting - I was using several different websites to find something - and after calling and emailing 30ish and visiting five (two were extremely dirty, one included an extremely pregnant lady, one was being offered to a good twenty-some people, and one was cute and pink), I decided to call it quits and signed a contract for 9 months! Eek! I´ll be living with a Spanish girl, an Italian girl, and another girl from the U.S., but I haven´t actually met them yet. But I honestly was about to poke my eyeballs out looking for a piso. So I´m happy with my decision. It´s in the neighborhood of Madrid called Salamanca and it´s near a big park called El Retiro, so I´m pretty pumped about it. I wasn´t supposed to move in until Oct. 1, but my landlady Maria Luisa says I can come Sunday and she´ll set up a bed for me. Yay!

Let´s see. Ooo! I´m staying at a hostel here and I´ve met quite a few people who are doing my program, but I´ve also met a lot of people who are just traveling through! People from England, Ireland, Portgual, Argentina, Chi-chi-chi-le-le-le!, Australia, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, and Canada!!! TWO Canadians!! The English ones said I have a good accent (I was practicing, of course). AND they even said that they would have guessed I was English if they hadn´t heard me talking with my American accent!!! BAAHHHAHAHA! I´ve also learned lots of Irish and Australian terms, many of which I suppose I shouldn´t write. Especially the Irish ones. Sheesh, they can bloody tear someone apart!

In celebration of finding a piso, I went out last night for a few soda pops with some kids from the hostel (this was after a kid from the Netherlands made us 8 different tapas!! Soooo good!!). Times flies when you´re having fun I suppose, because suddenly all the stores were closed, so we went to la Puerta del Sol, a plaza near our hostel. And there you can just buy more soda pop from men walking around with plastic bags full of cold soda pop! Shweet!!! Naturally we were attracted by a group of people with a guitar and so we joined their band of brothers. More Irish people and also some Americans and Scottish people. And Spaniards. And a Mexican guy named Edwin and his Cuban friend. Much fun was had and we made it back to the hostel around 5.... so I think I´m officially on a Spanish schedule. Woo!!

My goals for the next week before I start teaching is to open a bank account (halfway done), get a metro pass, and visit my schools. Like, totally so doable. Like, yeah.

One more thing I encontered today - sometimes instead of birds, the crosswalks sound like little toy guns!!! *pew! pew! pew! pew! pew!*. Ahh, sound effects make the world a better place. God bless the Spaniards!


  1. Jen, is soda pop code for something?

    Anyway, your description of your adventures definitely makes me want to come visit you. I wonder what Spain is like in February!

    The crosswalks in Europe are awesome! I remember when we were in Ireland, the crosswalks were not as pleasant sounding but their beeping alerted us as to when we should cross. The best was that they had arrows directing the American tourists where to look for cars. Without those I am convinced I would have been struck by a car, because I was always looking the wrong way!

    Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog and will most likely follow it religiously due to my extreme tendency to procrastinate lately! PS it's game day! GO BLUE!

  2. Ok--trying this again. Glad to see you got in your piso. Have fun on your outing to the part. Take lots of pictures. And work on your foreign accents! Love, Mom

  3. If you hear dogs barking at the crosswalks look for those
    Cocker Spaniard dogs!