Everything Everywhere All at Once
Other than being the title of an award-winning movie (if you haven’t seen it, you should), this phrase just about sums up the limbo I've felt like I've been existing in throughout my first month here in Spain. I by no means expected moving to a new country--even temporarily--to be easy, both in terms of establishing myself here and remaining connected with folks at home, but it truly is exhausting. I’ve made appointments, appointments, and more appointments and although I’ve done quite a lot with my time here so far, I concurrently feel like I should have done so much more. So to both make myself feel like I’ve actually gotten things done and also shed some light on what my month leading up to work starting has looked like, here’s a recap of some of the necessary things I’ve done since being here, in no particular order:
- Moved into my piso–shoutout to my amazing roommates! It’s worth mentioning that I could also write a whole blog post about how my Spanish front door and lock work–it definitely functions differently than what I was used to in the U.S.
- Opened a Spanish bank account, and in the process expanded my Spanish banking vocabulary–probably should have done some of that beforehand, but it was a learning curve.
- Got a Spanish phone plan and ported my U.S. number to Google Voice for safekeeping.
- Obtained my Metro card which allows me to take advantage of the abono joven. The abono joven allows all cardholders under the age of 26 to have unlimited access to Madrid public transportation every month for a fixed rate. The rate is usually €20 but since I’ve been here, it’s been on a discount for only €8 (and I hope it never changes back)!
- Obtained my Certificado de Delitos de Naturaleza Sexual. This is a background check necessary for all auxiliars (and I believe all people working around children in Spain in general).
- Made an appointment (this sounds simple but appointment slots are HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER), filled out the necessary paperwork, paid my taxes, copied several important documents, and got my fingerprints taken in order to work towards being granted my Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero. This is what allows you to stay in Spain for the full duration of your teaching program past your visa expiration date.
- Started communicating with my school’s bilingual coordinator. Some coordinators will reach out to you before you start working and some of them will be introduced to you on your first day–it’s important to remember that their job entails much more than overseeing your work and that they are busy people–but making the effort to open up a line of communication on your end is a good practice.
- Got my Carné Joven, a youth card which is not technically a necessity but I definitely recommend it. If you’re under 31, this card grants you discounts and free access to some museums and cultural sites around Spain. It also grants similar perks in other EU countries!
- Bought, returned, and re-bought a hairdryer. Yes, the first hairdryer I purchased would not turn on and yes, I do have a working hairdryer now. I do consider this to be an equally important errand.
The reason I’m writing this specific blog post is partially to illustrate that there are some major and important things you need to get done within the first couple of weeks of arriving in Spain, but also because in my experience, the list of fun things I have seen and done since being here has made the more stressful parts tremendously worthwhile already. If I were to write about the amazing places and things I’ve seen so far (which I will, and hopefully soon), this post would be a whole lot longer.
In the meantime, I do have to get back to planning out some of my next adventures!
What do you miss the most while being abroad? Most people say peanut butter, flu medicine, or pancakes. The thing I miss the most while being overseas are my dogs! This blog post is how I try to see the positives while missing my furry friends back in the states, and making some new ones here in Spain!