Thursday, September 3, 2009

productive day

After breakfast, I walked to the Complutense for our placement exam at 9:30. When I was working on the last portion - where you had to write a letter - the woman giving the test said something in Spanish which I didn't catch, and then there was a rush of people going up to hand in their test. Thus, I thought she had told us time was up, and we had to hand in our test. So I quickly finished the sentence I was on and added a brief closing (one of the requirements) "Besos, Rebe" and handed it in without looking over anything.

As I walked out of the room, I noticed there were at least two or three rows of people in the back of the room still working on their exams. Then I had a gut feeling that she probably didn't tell us our time was up; rather, if we were done, we could hand in the exam and leave. I checked the time when I got out of the room, and my gut was right. We still had plenty of time for the exam. Oops.

Then was a super-long meeting about apartment hunting. The task didn't feel any less daunting after the meeting, though. Our coordinator said the first call to a landlord will be the worst. I should probably just get that over with tomorrow afternoon and start calling places - even if I'm not interested. It would be good practice, and then I'll probably be better on the phone with a place I actually want. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. After the meeting our results were posted from the exam...and someway, somehow, I placed into the "advanced" group of the two. So tomorrow I need to buy our course packet before class at 11:30a, but we have another meeting at 9:30a, so I think I'll just get to school early and buy it before our meeting.

After lunch (potatoes, a soup similar to chicken noodle soup - minus the chicken, and other items I do not know the names of), fellow UW student Melody and I set out for the afternoon. First, she wanted to get her Abono (individual metro/bus pass). Amy, our coordinator, had the abonos made up for everyone else when we got here, but for what seemed to be a long, complicated, frustrating story, Melody's was not made. Abonos can be purchased at tobacco stores, which are pleantiful here. We walked around near our dorms and asked where one was, and the man told us - but said it wouldn't be open until 5. We hadn't realized that when they say things close down in the afternoon.... everything closes down. So she paid for a single metro ride and we went to Cuatro Caminos.

We walked around, realizing it wasn't the smartest thing to go out shopping while all of the shops were closed. By 4:30, the Sony shop I had gone to yesterday finally reopened, and Melody and I each bought an ethernet cord. With this, we can have internet up in our rooms. This is something I wish they would have put on our "to-pack" list; it definitely deserves to be there more than "shower shoes" - which we don't even need.

This was the same man who was working yesterday, but I asked him again about a converter for my computer. He tried to pull out the same computer adapter as yesterday but I told him no, and tried to re-explain myself. He told us that right around the corner - about 15 yard away, was another Sony store that would have what I was looking for. Sure enough, we found the other Sony store! This is how I described what I wanted: a plug for my electronic things from the US to work in Spain's plugs. He pulled out a tiny black piece with no numbers or labels on it (I was going to look for watt maximums). I asked if there were any limitations to what electronics could go in it. He said everything. I was skeptical and asked again, really, everything? Computers? Si, todos. Then I asked him how much it was. 1.50 EURO!!! So... moral of the story, wait to buy a converter in the place you are going, and Best Buy knows nothing about converters and ripped me off a total of $43.

Then we hopped on a bus (our first bus ride) that circles Madrid. This way, we got to see lots of the different neighborhoods. We got off when we were 3/4 of the way around the circle and took the metro back. We got back around 8:45 -- it was a full day out and about! Then I went up to my room, tested the converter which works with everything! Have the internet up here, too! Which will be nice for the next two weeks until I'm out of here. We just had dinner. Tonight was the first dinner where they serve you. They won't serve your table until there are four seated, however. Salad, steak, and fries. Now I'm going to apartment hunt for a bit on the interwebs.


  1. "a soup similar to chicken noodle soup - minus the chicken"

    That doesn't sound very much like chicken noodle soup.

  2. But it tasted similarly - and the noodles were that same, thin shape, just shorter.

  3. I'm talking Campbell's chicken noodle, here, btw.

  4. The converter transaction sounds like the sketchiest exchange ever.

  5. It was a bit sketch - no receipt or anything, but it works like a charm!