Things I’m Realizing about Madrid and Our Life Here

  • It feels like Spain, but it’s different than the Spain I’ve known. Madrid is huge, and getting anywhere can be somewhat of a challenge. People speak Spanish mainly, but there is a large international population, and thus the Spanish can sound quite different than the Spanish I heard in Zamora or Salamanca.

  • The metro is not as fast as I thought. The metro is great, don’t get me wrong. I just had this mistaken idea that getting anywhere in the city was as easy as zippity doo dah. Transbordos, where you change lines, can take anywhere from three to ten minutes. And ten minutes is a lot when you’re in a hurry!
  • I have no super-close grocery stores. I mean, in Salamanca we lived above a Carrefour. No such luck here. The closet one is at least ten minutes away, and that’s a lot when you’re carrying anything heavy.

Parque Tierno Galván

  • Madrid has some pretty cool parks. We live right by one, Parque Tierno Galván, and a few others are just a hop, skip, and a jump away.

In the Parque Lineal de Manzanares. With La Dama del Manzanares, which lights up at night.

  • Mario’s job is for serious, guys. I mean, I knew it would be a time-consuming job, but Mario’s been working from 9 a.m. until 9:30 or 10 p.m. He’s got a secretary (shared, but still). He’s getting an American Express card for company expenses and a Blackberry. He’s a big-time lawyer now.
  • I love my coffee machine. It’s a German brand, Rowenta, and it makes espresso and steamed milk. So I’m obviously in coffee heaven.

  • Teaching English seems inevitable. It’s hard to find another sort of job, when most Spaniards can’t. So, yes, I’ll be doing that again, but this time in an elementary school mainly. I’m excited to work with younger children, and, yep, I’m the type that loves working with the infantil age (i.e., three to six years old). Yes, those people exist. I am one.

As is British English

  • There are lots of Americans here. It’s not hard to spot one, like it was in Zamora. I’ve already met two fellow bloggers, Cassandra and Jessica! I’m excited to meet more, so if you’re in Madrid, let’s meet up.

30 thoughts on “Things I’m Realizing about Madrid and Our Life Here

  1. I definitely agree that Madrid feels a little different from the rest of Spain. And I’m one of those people who loves working with infantil-age kids too! They’re so darn cute, I don’t care at all that it’s really hard to understand them! Glad you seem to be settling in well so far.

      1. Things with me are going very well, thanks! Being here for another year is really nice, no having to adjust or settle in all over again, and my students seemed really happy to have me back, which of course feels good.

  2. hey, i think i wrote this on another post but i might also just be losing my mind… in any case, i’m a fellow american living here in madrid and would totally love to meet up if you’d like! let’s get some cañas and keep you entertained while mario’s working those long hours. what do you say?
    un beso!

  3. Teaching English–ugh, yeah it seems in Madrid that was the only job native English speakers could do which is part of the reason why I left. Are you teaching through an organization or did you get a job directly with a school?

    There are lots of Americans in Madrid, especially in Arguelles, the neighborhood I used to live in. But there are lots of different nationalities too! Madrid kind of reminded me of New York a little bit in this way. Even though there are lots of English speakers though, you still need to speak Spanish to communicate! They don’t even know how to speak English in the Prado!!

    If you need any advice about Madrid, let me know! :D
    PS. It seems the whole world lives in Salamanca, that’s where two friends of mine also live!

    1. Hahaha. I left, but I came back for a boy. Sigh … :)

      I got a job through BEDA because some people didn’t show up. Also, I know that the guy I’m replacing left for the public-school program, because (in Madrid) it pays more.

      It’s true you do need to know Spanish, but in many neighborhoods there seem to be many South American Spanish speakers, which is way different than the Spanish I’m used to. (I used to speak more South-American Spanish, but I kind of forgot it when I first came to Spain in 2008.)

      1. Oh yeah I’ve heard of BEDA. It only places people in Catholic schools if I remember correctly. I did UCETAM which is similar to BEDA, but I think it pays slightly more than BEDA (which I didn’t know at the time, I just heard of UCETAM through NYU which is why I went with it). Good luck teaching the little ones! :)

    1. Hahaha I should ask you! They are so cute, but know no English really, and I’m only with them one hour per week, so I’m not sure how much that’s going to help. But oh gosh I love them!

    1. Hi Cathy! Ahh good! Yes, I will email you!

      I do have one of those carts — my problem is I always want to buy when I’m on my way home (from the metro station, for example), and so I don’t have it with me. Call it laziness perhaps :)

  4. Hope Madrid is treating you well aside from not having a nearby grocery store. I know about lugging groceries home. Not fun.
    And the metro- Yes. Sometimes I feel it’s faster to walk to places than take the metro, of course it depends on where you are and where you’re going. I’m sure in time, you’ll figure out which lines have the longer transfer spots than others. Suerte!

    Good luck with teaching Inglés a las infantiles

  5. Madrid does feel a lot different from the rest of Spain, and I love it. I’m falling in love with this city all over again.

    Let’s meet up some time! I’m here all year, so no rush, but we’ll definitely have to tomar algo!

  6. I love reading your updates, I’m fascinated by learning about other cultures and what it’s like to live in them, so thanks for that. I really want to travel to Spain someday so reading your posts is, I suppose, a bit of escapism and day dreaming for me. I can’t say I’m surprised to hear about the trains: yes, it’s Europe so it’s better than the U.S. in that regard, but it’s not Japan or Germany or anything, it’s Spain, where they’re not exactly known for their punctuality. That actually brings up another question I’m curious about: are the Spanish horrible about being on time the way the Latin Americans are? I know that in Latin America it’s not abnormal at all for people to be an hour or two late, and I know Spain and Italy have a similar culture of “non-punctuality” and I was wondering just how bad it was.

    And yeah, if his firm is anything like the firms in the U.S., you’re not going to see your husband much: new associates (that sounds like what he is) typically get 2000+ hours per year, they get hammered and have to do the stuff no one else wants to since they’re the “new guys”.

    Best of luck to you both, and please keep us updated.


  7. Aww this makes me so nostalgic for Madrid! Such an amazing city. But I know what you mean about the metro when you are in a hurry. It was such a big stress in my life when I was running late for school ;)
    And I am glad you have a nice coffee machine- looks fancy!

  8. Ah, we’re in the same boat! I’ve had to go back to teaching English too. I started private tutoring two weeks ago because unemployment in France is so bad, so if a French native can’t get a job – why do I think that I can?

    At least we have our handy native English to always fall back on, eh?

    Have a nice weekend!

  9. Congrats on getting the job!! I saw in the comments that it’s with BEDA–that’s great that you’ll have the stability of something like that as opposed to how private lessons can fall through.

    As for the metro–it can indeed take a while. The trains don’t seem to come as often in recent moths, which only lengthens the commute :(

    Let’s meet up again soon!! Perhaps a November coffee date?

    1. Yes, the stability is nice. I didn’t realize the trains aren’t coming as often. (Obviously, as I’m new :) )

      Sure, a November coffee date sounds great!

  10. I married a Spaniard and lived in Spain for eight years. Five of those years I was an infantil teacher, and loved it! The best part was when my son was three he enrolled in the same school I was at. Enjoy!! About a year ago, my we all moved back to the States. Life is good, but there are lots of things I miss about Spain.

  11. I live in the South too! But in Pacifico area which is a hop and skip away from Parque Retiro. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s better to just walk. Like, walking from my apartment to Sol for example is not bad at all.

    Also, some neighborhoods have all the Spanish grocery stores, if not, most. Guess it depends then. Hope you’re still enjoying life in Madrid anyway! I love this city!

    1. Oh yes, definitely! Ours has grocery stores, they’re just a bit farther than I like! Maybe I’m used to smaller distances in smaller towns.

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