A Travellerspoint blog

Mi hermanita Celia

Mi hermanita Celia

So I'm back to work (if we can call it that ... the girls are just as sweet, kind, and funny as I remember) but the first week has been a little different. C and J had to take Natalia to some appointments this week so each morning was spent solely with big sister Celia. Although she is super sweet, kind, and funny, something has changed. She's matured. She's 8 turning 9, the same age as my students back in NY. What a fun age! They're still innocent and want to please you but can hold a conversation and get you. The attitude has not set in yet. My favorite! Haha and this begins to shine through very early. Not only has her English improved but she's even more eager than before to soak up some more and show off what she's got. What's more is that she is bilingual, so she can also teach me Spanish. She says she either wants to be a hair stylist or a teacher and I think her true calling is the latter. Not only does she answer my questions with patience and correct my mistakes with kindness, but she explains WHY that's the way it is done. A perfect teacher.

There's a reason I titled this entry hermanita (little sister) and not hija (daughter), and it is because I truly feel like I experienced what it would be like to have a little sister this week. That is what our relationship is like this time around. We gossip, poke fun, and laugh ... ALOT. It's been muy divertido

Aside from teaching each other English and Spanish, we've given each other manicures, and played with some of the games I've brought from home. We decide we won't open up some of the others because it would not be fair to Natalia. What a sweet big sister! ❤️

One of the days we were sent to él supermercado and she totally took charge with the list and the Euros in her purse. She was like a little adult. At one point she left me at the meat counter and simply said "ask for this, I'm going to get the eggs". I suddenly felt anxiety. I know I can read Spanish, but I get self conscious when other Spanish speakers are around. A habit I'm trying to break, and others I've met have assured me I should break. So I asked for it in my best Spanish accent, just to be told I need to go to a different counter! Oh well at least he understood my request right???

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Posted by meg elizabeth 09:38 Comments (0)

The first weekend con mis chicas

The first weekend con mis chicas

So I slept in a little :/ had some desayuno and café and then played some games with the girls. We did some coloring, and labeling of our pictures to help Natalia with her vocabulary. Then we played the game "Heads Up" which was a bit difficult even for Celia because some of the terms were unfamiliar to her. It also proved to be difficult for me, because I would describe the word in English and a little Spanish if I knew it, and some words Celia guessed in Spanish, most of which I did not know so I would answer with a maybe! Or yea I think that's it! But the more games we played, the better it got.

Tonight we went to a barbecue at a friends house, who lives about 20 minutes outside of Madrid. Apparently they had done reparations to their home and wanted to show it off while hosting a pool/ barbecue day, or in this case night, because remember the sun does not set until almost 10 p.m.
So we arrive to the house, which is in a neighborhood very different from our neighborhood, there's houses, instead of flats, and no stores or businesses anywhere in sight. But the house and yard were absolutely beautifulllll! I wanted to sneak some pics of the inside because the decor was so stunning I wanted to steal some ideas for my own house. But I also didn't want to look crazy, so I opted for mental images. We took a tour, and each room more grand than the previous. Turns out the husband's sister is an interior decorator. Ahhh makes mucho sense! And then we spent some time in the pool. It's funny because it's always SO incredibly hot all the time in Madrid, and the water is always SO incredibly freezing.
Maybe I'm just a baby, but I'd much rather it not so cold. We played this game with a beach ball called A E I O U, if Spanish is not your first language you probably pronounced it incorrectly. The game is the name of the vowels, but of Spanish pronunciation, so AH EY EE OH UE. The point of the game is to keep the ball in the air, each time a new person hits it up, they need to say the next vowel, until getting to U, where you need to spike it at someone, because if it hits them, they get a point (and points are bad!), but if they catch it, the spiker gets the point. So we played this for a while before leaving the pool and getting ready for our BBQ dinner. So I'm not a huge red meat eater, actually I don't like red meat, really at all. I would be completely content eating chicken, turkey, and fish for the rest of my life. And chicken sin wuestos. This became sort of a joke among us, that I won't eat meat on the bone. I actually thought this joke got back to Marisol, the house keeper because one day for lunch she made chicken curry and placed a dish of it, cut up nicely on the table. I thought it was mine, but apparently she cut it up for the children (obvi, I guess 🤔) and mine was given to me on the bone. It was difficult for me to eat, but I managed to pull through haha

So during the BBQ, I ate what I thought was chicken. A it looked like chicken and B someone told me it was chicken, but my eyes and their words proved to be untrue. And after I ate the whole piece and (gasp) enjoyed it, I found out it was pork! Ok ok I guess I am able to eat some things other than white meat... But I definitely won't be making a habit out of it 😜

When we were finishing up with dinner, J was with the children in the yard looking through their telescope. He spotted Saturn and all of took a turn viewing.

Then the adults went to go sit on the patio to drink gin and tonics. I opted to hang with the children for a little. To be honest, they speak Spanish slower and thus I feel more comfortable speaking Spanish and I don't feel like so much of a burden. But once I felt like I was cramping their style, I decided to go hang with the grown ups. I was offered a gin and tonic which I gladly accepted. We stayed here until about 1:30 (kids still awake and all 😵) oh Spanish time....

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Posted by meg elizabeth 08:38 Comments (0)

Reunited con mi familia

So the day is here. I am going to see my Spanish family that I have not seen in 2 years. Sure C and I have kept in contact on whatsapp and I've skyped with the girls, but this is going to be different. I will be living with them again. I suddenly feel a rush of both excitement and nervousness. But as the time got closer and closer for me to board the train to Las Tablas, I suddenly only felt simply pure excitement. My experience with them two years ago was simply amazing. I came in a stranger and left a member of the family.
So I take a taxi to the Tribunal metro station and take it about 10 stops. As I am sitting on the train, I begin to feel a bit impatient and I ask the person next to me in what I believed was a perfect Spanish accent " Perdón, ¿Cuantos más estaciones a Tres Olivos?"
The man looks at me and simply says "three stations". Well, so much for me trying to be mistaken as a Spaniard 😕. When I get off the train, C was waiting outside the station for me. After exchanging some HOLAS!!!! and big hugs, we drive home. The girls are waiting by the front door and were so very excited!!! As was I. It was an interesting feeling, like being reunited with family members after a long time apart. But at the same time, it was as if no time had passed. We picked right back up from last time. The girls have grown up though! Celia is now 8, Natalia 6. Celia has really improved her English, and I see Natalia seems more comfortable than last time to use some. But my mission is to get her to be a lot more comfortable using it.
So they show me to my room, which C tells me will forever be "my bedroom" which makes me feel good. The girls have made a sign that they posted on the door. Once i put down my bags, I eat some lunch. Then, C asks me if I want to take a siesta, and even though I felt a bit tired I was very excited to spend time with the girls, and so were they. So after drinking some café, the girls help me "des hacer la maleta" or unpack my suitcase.
When I was all unpacked, we took a trip to the supermercado to get me some of the necessities I didn't feel like lugging from NY as well as food for the week. After arriving home and relaxing a bit, we had dinner. Well the kids first, and then the adults. C asked me if I liked rib of lamb and I told her I liked rib of nada. She was kind enough to grill a piece of chicken for me, which is my favorite so I was actually very happy.

I'm very happy to be in my segunda casa
Buenas noches.

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Posted by meg elizabeth 06:53 Comments (0)

Adios Cats

So today we decide to have lunch at the Mercado de San Miguel. I don't know how I didn't go here during my first visit. It is a MUST! A smorgasbord of every food and drink imaginable. We hopped from station to station and just grabbed a little bit of everything to share. We got a table outside and thoroughly enjoyed everything we picked out. We washed it down with a passion fruit sangria and we were good to go. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring, which is so easy to do for hours in a city like Madrid. We decided to have a cerveza in the hostel bar before going upstairs to get ready. Well that cerveza turned into a good 'ol game of Kings, with some new amigos. I haven't played that game in years so it was a fun blast from the past kinda thing. At this point, we didn't have time for a siesta, bummer, so we just ran upstairs to freshen up and change and get all bonita and what not 😜 .. Then we came back down to the bar. A short while later, the bartender announces that this bar is closing and we have to go downstairs. Lynne and I look at each other like what on earth are they talking about downstairs?!?! Well!! We follow the crowd down to the "cave" and it was seriously awesome! A bigger, better bar with a huge dance floor. They played the entire new drake album and Lynne and I could not get ourselves off the dance floor .. What a good time! Then we decide to do the pub crawl again and we hit up some new bars and end at teatro Kapital, the 7 floor club with different types of music on each floor. I honestly wasn't too impressed. I had been here the last time I was in Madrid and remember it being a bit better. Oh whatever we still had fun! Checking out tomorrow, which is sad. But we have something great to look forward to! Our month as aupairs!! I suddenly feel nervous about seeing my family again! It's been 2 years and I'm just hoping that my experience with them will be as wonderful as it was then. Wish us luck ! "Buena suerte" 😁

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Posted by meg elizabeth 10:20 Comments (0)

Exploring Our Beautiful City

Waking up was a little tough. I woke up to hear Lynne talking to another one of our roomies, a girl from Kensington. We then meet our newest roomies, 2 sisters from Texas. We all get along instantly. Lynne and I shower and get ready to see some sights. We first stop at Maestro Churro, (a lovely little churro spot between Anton Martin and Sol- Definitely recommend it) which soon becomes our official breakfast spot. We had café con hielo, "French omelettes" on a croissant and churros with chocolate sauce. FYI French omelettes are eggs. Period. Nada más. So we ask for salt and ketchup. The churros were absolutely fantastic. Once we feel recharged, we walk to Retiro Park, passing the El Prado museum. It is brutally hot, as it is everyday which we have quickly come to learn. The park is beautiful! I mean exquisite. We took so many great pics and had such a great day. There were some interesting trees that Lynne had without hesitation made a comment about Edward Scissorhands having a go at them. You can see from the pics below that that's quite an accurate statement. Trying to get out of these gardens was quite a project. We tried to follow Lynne's GPS but in a park with no real street signs, you can imagine how difficult it is trying to figure out exactly where to make each turn. Luckily, we were able to make our way out (and I feel we need to say that it was this day we made our record of 18,000 steps )

Later that day, we stopped to have a quick bite at another spot in Plaza de Santa Ana. We had both been craving a mojito so that definitely had to happen, and we ordered some olives (obvi) and some calamari. They brought the calamari over with just lemon, no marinara sauce (I guess that's not a thing here 😏). But so I try to ask the waiter for it in what I think I'm pronouncing perfectly, and he brings over ketchup and mayo. Fail. But then Lynne says " I can make us a French dressing and maybe that'll taste good", spoiler- it was very good! And this was the start of me realizing how very resourceful Lynne is ...

After we went back to the room we ... You guessed it .. Had our siesta .. Then decided to go out to grab a quick cheap dinner to bring back to the hostel. We went to a sandwich joint and returned to the hostel bar with our bocadillos y papas fritas. To top off our classiest of meals, we opted for a bottle of white wine ... With plastic cups. Haha anyway after we finished, our Texan roomies came in with another friend they had met on the walking tour earlier that day. She was from Boston, and we all start talking and swapping stories of our travels. They tell us they are going to catch the sunset at Circulo de Bella's Artes terraza. That was on our list so we decided to screw having a relaxing next few hours and rush to get ready so we can leave the hostel by 9:30 .. Making it to the rooftop by 9:45, because yes that IS what time the sun sets in madrid .. So we are now with our new friends from Boston, Texas, and Philly speed walking through the streets of Madrid. When we finally arrive at the building, we are told that the terrace is closed due to a private event. Another fail. But we are all dressed up, determined to watch the sunset and now we are trying to figure out another rooftop that we can get to in the next 5 minutes. We see this spot across the street that looks NICE... Like real nice.. Like you probably need an invite to get up there.. But we are a persistent bunch, so we got up there. We take our sunset photos and order one drink each. Yes one. We were right about the "elite" nature of this place. But the staff were very friendly. The only con was that the wind going on up there was on another level. I thought our entire table was going to blow off. Oh it also took us about a year to get our "cuenta". When we finally received our check, we headed back down to normal ground and decided to start our own pub crawl. It was the last night in Madrid for our Boston crew so they were looking to get turnt. Lynne and I did not have a problem with this plan. Oh what a night this turned out to be. We hit up a tapas bar, a nightclub and then we turned the streets of Madrid into a nightclub on our walk home. All I can say is Beyonce's "I ain't sorry" was stuck in my head the entire next day. When we got back to the hostel we of course made some more new friends. Adios amigos ✌️

Posted by meg elizabeth 09:09 Comments (0)

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