Saturday, September 12, 2009


Yesterday I got a phone. Only it wasn't nearly that simple. I went to El Corte Inglés, the store that literally has everything, and asked about phone plans... I asked pretty well with decent vocab and grammar apparently because they answered me - quickly with all the words together like one giant word paragraph. I have no idea what they said. So I asked again. Still didn't quite get it. Then about a minute later one of my friends asked the exact same question. Eventually they wrote down the terms of the pay-as-you-go phone plan. I sort of panicked when I couldn't read their handwriting, but it got better. Anyways, it took like forever to get cell phones for the six of us and I don't think the people liked it very much since students from our group had been coming in all day.

So we got our phones. They told us we had 12 Euros on them already. Not true, we had 3. When we went back to the store to ask about the other 9. The told us the other 9 would appear on our phones in a week. I'm still waiting.

With 2 cents on my phone, after calling my mom for about 2 minutes, I tried to add money to my phone online. Failed several times.

I went to another Vodafone store to add money to it. They told me they couldn't do it at that store and to go to one around the corner a few blocks. They also told me to go add money at a 4B ATM and after that I'd be able to add money online. I have no idea how to put money on a phone at an ATM or where a 4B ATM might be. So I went to the other store and finally added money.

Now my phone finally works.

Next issue: adapter/transformer

Not wanting to go Sima's route, I went back to Corte Inglés to buy an adapter. That went better. Then I got back to the house and sort of freaked out wondering if my things were being fried to a crisp from too much voltage. But thanks to the advice of Ben and his dad, I'm okay.

Next issue: my lack of sense of's bad

I got lost twice today. There aren't really any street signs except occasionally. The streets are a web. And you can't use stores as land marks because the same stores repeat over and over again. I can ask for directions pretty well, but I can't quite understand the answer. I took a bus to get somewhere, but got off the bus to no street signs and an unfamiliar area. The bus didn't display which stop was next so I sort of asked people. From now on I think I'll take the metro. Much more clear even though it takes more time. In the end, I did manage to get back to my host family's house, obviously since I'm writing to you.

Good news:

So this morning, the program people put me in a cab and sent me to c/Guzmán el Bueno to my host family's apt. I was sooooooo nervous. Really, nervous. Like a lot. I almost knocked on the wrong door. I was supposed to go to bajo A, but I walked in, assumed I was on the ground floor, and was about to knock when I saw a sign that said "primera". Oh dear. So I went and dragged my suitcases down some stairs.

My host family is super awesome!!!!!!!!!!

The mom, Valle, is a lawyer. The dad, Philipe, is an engineer but does translation work. One son, Jacobo, is in England. The younger son, Tomás, is in high school - he likes Pirates of the Caribbean!! And Harry Potter. They said I spoke Spanish well, and to my relief I could understand them when they spoke. Relief. Lots of relief. Their dog, Mus ( pronounced 'moose') is super cute too. She's a Westy, and she doesn't like people until she gets to know them. So she begged for my food from like 10 ft. away because she still wanted it even though she didn't want to come any close to me. It was funny.

Lunch with the family was delicious! Valle made pasta with some sort of mildly spicy seasoning. Really delicious!! And homemade tabule. yum. We also had chips, pop, and grapes. Very tasty. The dog got some tabule at the end of lunch. :-)

Tomás gave me a tour of the area surrounding their apartment. We took Mus for a walk and he showed me where a dance studio with ballet is!! Very close by. yay. There are also clothing stores. He likes H&M. :-) He also explained the metro to me - dog went with - and he also showed me the bus system. The same ticket can be used for the bus and the train.

Later Philipe helped me set my internet. He's really good at it! Even with my evil Dell computer that breaks frequently. After that, I went to watch MTV with Valle and Tomás. To my surprise, many of the songs were in English and were US songs. Like Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me." However, some were the same songs but in Spanish, and others were British songs, and a few were Spanish songs. Tomás says he doesn't like the Spanish music too well, and Valle says she loves American music from the 1950s.

More to write later. Tomorrow I have to get to el Parque del Retiro. Wish me luck. Hopefully I will not get lost.


  1. What a crazy adventure! Loved your photos from today!

  2. I am assuming "Sima's route" means melting adapters and blowing fuses? :)