¿Hablas Ingles?

Coming towards the end of our first week in Madrid I’m trying to reflect on what I have achieved – if anything. In reality, the only thing I have completed from start to finish is obtaining a Spanish sim card (and the lengthy process of unlocking my phone) but I guess you could say I’ve learned a few things about the city of Madrid itself.

  1. I have learned that people in Madrid really don’t speak as much English as I had originally imagined, and they also do not understand our attempt at speaking Spanish even if its just to say, ‘Hablas ingles?’. Only now after having a Spanish man unknowingly shout at me, do I realise how daunting that whole raise the volume to be understood technique is (Though I’m sure I’ve done the same to foreigners before). So right now, hand gesturing is my best friend.
  2. You may get a job in teaching English, but the contracts and information will be sent to you in Spanish. From this, I have learned that you can paste an a4 page of words into google translate and it will translate the whole thing! (up until this point I had just been pasting sentences at a time…)
  3. If an angry Spanish man on a motorbike gets cut off in traffic, he will get off his bike and smash his helmet on the culprits window (by smash I mean his helmet shattered into pieces, not the window) and you better get out the way before you get hit with a piece of that plastic.
  4. If you want alcohol after 10pm, go to the sketchy corner shop and the nice giggling Asian women will sell it to you under the counter (I mean that literally; pass under the counter straight into your bag) and you are good to go.
  5. Getting a monthly metro pass (which as far as I’m aware is a relatively straightforward process in most of Europe) seems to be one of the most difficult procedures of this whole move. What is the point of making a monthly deal so damn good if you have to wait more than a month to just get an appointment to inquire about it?

So that pretty much sums up my experience so far and I’m still not quite sure if I will fit into the lifestyle of this crazy, vibrant city.

But at least the buildings are nice to look at. And I can watch my orange juice getting squeezed freshly everyday for €1.

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