bits and pieces

Hello from Madrid, where fall keeps hanging on and doesn't show any sign of stopping!  Fall in Spain is gorgeous and we will let it stay and linger as long as it wants!

I just want to share a few quick updates and random things that don't really belong in a post of their own, so get ready for some jumping around and no real order to things!

Most important of all: we have an apartment!  We moved in almost two weeks ago now, and while we've been working with our landlord through some hiccups, we have unpacked (4 of our 5) suitcases and are feeling settled in.  Mostly, though, we're just so thankful to be done hopping from place to place and to have a place to call home.

 Danny on the morning we moved in, after carrying all the suitcases up the stairs.  We live on what is called the fourth floor here, but in the U.S. it would be considered the fifth floor.

Danny on the morning we moved in, after carrying all the suitcases up the stairs.  We live on what is called the fourth floor here, but in the U.S. it would be considered the fifth floor.

 We discovered we live a street away from El Rastro, which is the largest and most popular open air flea market in Madrid, so one Sunday afternoon we popped over to check it out briefly.  We'll definitely have to make our way through the crowds and see what it has to offer again.

We discovered we live a street away from El Rastro, which is the largest and most popular open air flea market in Madrid, so one Sunday afternoon we popped over to check it out briefly.  We'll definitely have to make our way through the crowds and see what it has to offer again.

We finished our TEFL class last Friday, and have been teaching classes for the last two weeks as well.  Danny has three students and another one starting next Tuesday, and I have four, but we are hoping to find more students very soon.  Currently our classes are primarily in the evenings (from about 4:30 - 8:30pm), which means our days are pretty open right now for planning lessons, running errands, and looking for new classes.

Last weekend we went to Segovia for a day trip, and we're planning on going to El Escorial tomorrow.  In November we are hoping to go on our first trip to another country, so if you've been to Europe and have a suggestion, please let us know!  Every time we go to library to use the internet we check for flight deals on Ryanair, but there are so many it gets overwhelming sometimes!

Speaking of going to the library to use the internet, we're in the process of figuring out whether or not we'll be able to have internet access in our apartment.  It's looking like maybe not, but for now, we're utilizing the library we found about five minutes away from our apartment.  It's very different from what we're used to at home (Monument Library, you are missed and you are spectacular!), but they have great internet and a couple of shelves full of English books, so we're not complaining.

 Standing in front of the Biblioteca Centro Pedro Salinas.  After doing some research before coming to Spain, we didn't expect to find any libraries here, so we've been pleasantly surprised to find a fair amount.

Standing in front of the Biblioteca Centro Pedro Salinas.  After doing some research before coming to Spain, we didn't expect to find any libraries here, so we've been pleasantly surprised to find a fair amount.

We celebrated Danny's actual birthday a few weeks ago with our classmates at school during lunch and went out for tapas in the evening with some of them.  We celebrated further the following weekend just the two of us at the zoo.  We had a great time and even got to see some pandas and interact with the lemurs!  Pictures to come in another post.

 Observing one of the (initially) strangest yet coolest parts of our neighborhood, La Latina - El Campo de Cebada (affectionately called Gangland by us).  It's a fenced in, graffitied, section of land in otherwise very crowded and urban Madrid that has garden plots, basketball hoops, soccer nets, and (almost always) someone's loud boombox playing.  It seemed really sketchy at first, but now that we walk by it everyday and sometimes stop by and watch the happenings, we think it's pretty cool.

Observing one of the (initially) strangest yet coolest parts of our neighborhood, La Latina - El Campo de Cebada (affectionately called Gangland by us).  It's a fenced in, graffitied, section of land in otherwise very crowded and urban Madrid that has garden plots, basketball hoops, soccer nets, and (almost always) someone's loud boombox playing.  It seemed really sketchy at first, but now that we walk by it everyday and sometimes stop by and watch the happenings, we think it's pretty cool.

Last Saturday we went to watch our classmate, Jordyn, play rugby.  She played for her college team in the U.S., and now she's on a team in Madrid.  It was our first time to watch rugby, and we really enjoyed it, even though we didn't fully understand what was going on.

Our walk from the bus stop to the field was so pretty.  Every time we leave Madrid on a little excursion it's like, "Wow, Spain, you do fall so well!"  Or maybe everywhere does fall well, I just forget living in the middle of the city.

 I know the picture isn't the greatest, but what's happening here (in my elementary level understanding of rugby), is that the players are getting ready to lift up some of the other players!  This happens whenever they throw the ball in from out of bounds.  Seriously, you have to be strong to play rugby!

I know the picture isn't the greatest, but what's happening here (in my elementary level understanding of rugby), is that the players are getting ready to lift up some of the other players!  This happens whenever they throw the ball in from out of bounds.  Seriously, you have to be strong to play rugby!

We're getting to know our neighborhood and figuring out where we can buy peanut butter and black beans and what cafes we can stand outside of for WiFi when the library is closed on the weekends.  We're picking up some Spanish, although obviously we wish we knew much, much more, and we're learning more about Spain all the time.  We get frustrated with ourselves and with each other perhaps more than we'd care to admit, and to be honest, sometimes with Spain, but overall, we're doing really well.  We really like it here, and we feel really thankful to get a chance to live in Spain for a while, even though we're not really sure how long or how short that will be.

Until next time, or as they say in Spain, hasta luego, friends!