It’s official! I’ve been in Spain for a week now. At times, I can’t believe I’m actually here. The past week has been filled with different events that IES has planned for orientation, as well as getting settled into where I’ll be living for the next few months.
My host mom is super nice. Her English is limited, so my roommate and I get to practice a lot of Spanish with her. We’ve also been practicing amongst ourselves. We are fortunate to be living in a nice location. We’re about a 15-20 minute walk from the IES Center (except I speed walk, so it might be more). There are a lot of shops, restaurants, supermarkets, and all kinds of places by where we live. My roommate (Chrissy) also taught me how to use the metro to get to other places, so I’ve recently started exploring other parts of Madrid further away from where we live. I’ve gotten to see some well-known locations such as Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, Museo del Prado, Parque de Retiro, and I’ve gone shopping at El Rastro.
Every day, I am learning a lot about Spanish culture. It’s amazing how much you can learn in a week, and I still have a long way to go. It’s also interesting to see how American culture is portrayed over here. I’ve seen multiple “American” restaurants. I kind of want to go to one to see what foods they serve and how they designed it. I’ve already gone to McDonald’s with my roommate because we were curious to see if there was anything particular to Spain on the menu. When my mom went to Panama, they had the typical McDonald’s food but they also had arroz con pollo, which is specific to Hispanic culture. Chrissy and I didn’t notice anything special on the menu at the McDonald’s we went to except for a Chicken Big Mac. I think I also saw that beer was on the menu. There were very delicious-looking pastries that I’m pretty sure aren’t sold in McDonald’s in the US. I’m not saying that every McDonald’s in Spain is like this. I’ve heard of some selling churros but I have yet to find one that does.
UPDATE 9/27/15: I went to McDonald’s the other night with some friends and we found gazpacho on the menu! I didn’t try it though.
Check out my videos to see what I’ve been doing! Subtitles should automatically start when the video starts. If not, click the “CC” button.