Thursday, September 3, 2009

pizza de jamon

So, at the beginning of the walking tour yesterday morning I was quite disoriented, for our maps were of poor quality, and we left before I had figured out which way the map should have been oriented - and kept walking. It was confusing because we took a roundabout way to get to the Historia e Geografia building, so that we could see more of campus. We went in our building (Facultad de Geografia e Historia) where the WIP office is, and where our Reunidas courses will be held, as well as our September "Curso Intensivo". On the way back I had a better idea of where we were and where we had been, and how it fit with the map.

After the walking tour, we had our second orientation: Academics. I'm not going to even start looking at classes until after I find an apartment. We need to be moved out by the 16, but we meet with the resident director to discuss class is on the 23. Hence, I'm waiting on the classes. That got done by lunch time. Lunch was eggs with mushrooms and something else, which I just kind of picked at a little. The eggs were watery and just had a gross taste to them. Luckily, there was also chicken, and they gave me a huge piece of it, so I scraped as much meat off of it as I could. I don't remember the other two food items, but I clearly didn't eat them.

Next the Embassy came at 4 to talk with us briefly. We added their number into our cell phones. They basically told us to register with them online, and not to get arrested - but call them if we do. Also, don't lose our passports - but call them if we do. Those were the general themes.

Then we had a group picture at 5:30, followed by individual ones for our school IDs. Then three others and I headed out to buy September's coupon for our abonos. The Abono Transportes is a personalized transportation pass that we can use on the metro and bus system in Madrid - which is convenient that it's used for both. We'll have to buy new passes each month, but since I'm not 21 yet, I get an "Abono Joven", which costs 29.50 EUR, while Abono Normales are 46 EUR.

To buy one, I took 100 Euro out of an ATM at a horrible exchange rate and was charged 2.5% from the Caja Madrid (bank), plus 1% at Associated. But I needed cash, and we can't open our bank accounts here until next Wednesday (The bank closes at 2 on weekdays but we have class until 1:30, and the bank is closed on Saturdays until the end of September).

With our passes, the four of us took the metro to Cuatro Caminos, an area north-east of the university. I feel very confident in using the metro now; it's easy to navigate. I bought some snacks at a supermercado, since I'm very much still struggling to make it through the 7.5 hr break between lunch and dinner. I bought Napolitanos, mini Biscottis, and Rosquillas de toledo (sugar covered doughnut type thing) - which looked delicious from the bag:

We also unsuccessfully searched for a converter so I could use my computer and hair straightener. We stopped into a Sony store, but the guy thought I wanted the charger (adaptor) cord for my computer, which I already have. So we called it a day and came back around 8.

Tuesday night's dinner was my favorite meal thus far. There was ham pizza, fries (I'm surprised that we keep getting fries - didn't realize that was common here), really yummy ham slices, and lots more, but I only took the aforementioned items.

It's strange to go to bed right after you eat a full meal. I guess the rest of the city stays up later and goes out after dinner, but I'm so exhausted after a full day of activities that bed is my only option.

P.S. I'm adding a few pictures of my dorm room to the previous post.

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