What it’s like to follow your heart to Madrid

I’ve been a resident of Spain for almost three weeks! And to be quite honest, it feels like I’ve been here for months.

People tend to love the laid back feeling of this easy-going country… the siestas, and the tapas, and the late meals. Even the stores “take siestas” from 2-5 p.m. Yes, it’s all very charming, isn’t it?

BUT GOOD LORD, WHEN YOU HAVE BUSINESS TO TAKE CARE OF, I HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING MORE FRUSTRATING IN MY LIFE!

The first week and a half was a battle. It was exhausting.  I was a little bit grumpy. A detailed outline on how to become a resident of Spain doesn’t seem to exist and no one can really explain it to you, either.

First, we figured we would need a place to live and with our sad, sad Spanish 6 skills (thanks for nothing), this was a massive struggle.

But after a desperate call to an acquaintance, we finally had an apartment after about five days of searching.

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71 stairs and no elevator to our “piso.” Hello, calves!

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Kitchen… Notice the lack of an oven, dryer, dishwasher, freezer and microwave?

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Oh, and here’s our dining room!

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And THE most uncomfortable couch in all of Spain. (But if you want to visit and crash here, I’m sure you’d love it!)

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Our pantry.

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Our bedroom.

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We didn’t pick that shower curtain, okay?

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Next, a cell phone provider seemed necessary. But to get a cell phone, we needed a bank account. But to get a bank account, we needed a residency card. But to get a residency card, we needed an appointment at the police station (which we were told might take until December).

And so the impossible scavenger hunt went on and on with many important clues likely lost in translation.

Eventually we found a bank that let us open an account with just a passport (NO, YOU DON’T NEED TO BUY LIFE INSURANCE FROM THEM! DON’T FALL FOR IT!)

And then we found cell phone providers, and finally got WIFI–no more walking to McDonalds to stay in touch with the world!

And, alas, here we are today… almost official Madridleños, loving our life in Spain, just waiting for a residency card.

(If you feel as though you need more details on this awful process of establishing yourself here, you can hop on over to Spencer’s blog, where he makes it sound much less terrible than it really is.)

Anyway, the first days were definitely tougher than what I was expecting, but every day since has been one hundred percent worth it.

After such a torturous summer of trying to make a decision, I already feel so much happiness and can’t imagine my life in any other way. My heart is so fulfilled and if anyone reading this is wondering whether or not they should follow their heart, STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF RIGHT THIS MINUTE AND JUST DO IT… DO IT! 

After all, when your neighborhood looks like this…

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Beautiful church just a stone’s throw away from our piso.IMG_3807

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu where Real Madrid plays! This is where Spencer and I jog to.

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Wandering the streets near Plaza Mayor.

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The quirky “cuevas.”

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A classy market.

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Plaza de España area.

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The Royal Palace.

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Retiro Park.

More to come on my school and teaching (so. much. fun), our quirky neighbors and an upcoming trip to Portugal!

Oh, and start planning your trip to Madrid now! We have a full itinerary waiting for you.

4 thoughts on “What it’s like to follow your heart to Madrid

  1. Katelan Jae says:

    They just don’t make it easy for us do they?! My NIE appointment is on Dec 3rd. However, it seems it was originally the 4th but the 4 is crossed out and a very unofficial 3 is written above.

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