I finally managed to come across some free alone time so I thought I'd take a few minutes to write out another update. A week later, I can still say that I absolutely love it here in Madrid. It's been a series of transitions, from getting used to new eating habits (Spaniards eat much later in the day) to navigating my way around the city, but I'm slowly but surely getting used to being here. One thing that is more or less the same as home is the 90-100° F weather... I thought I'd left the heat behind in the States!
Anyway, it's been another busy couple of days for us but we've had the chance to do some of the most amazing things! On Saturday, Spain and Italy faced off in the final match of the Eurocup and we were able to head out to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Real Madrid plays there during their season) and watch the game on the big screens outside. I have never experienced anything like the atmosphere of Bernabéu during the game. There's a certain national pride and solidarity that I don't think is paralleled at all in the US. So much spirit and high energy... it's obvious that the Spanish are not just passionate about the game but their country. The enthusiasm displayed at the game was certainly amplified when it came time to celebrate the win. On Monday evening, la selección española made its way through the city of Madrid and fans were gathered by the hundreds (the thousands, I'm sure) near Gran Vía and the Plaza de Cibeles to greet the players. Here you can find an awesome photo that perfectly captures the madness of the evening--so cool! I even managed to get a good look at Iker Casillas as the players passed through the Plaza for the celebration! Needless to say, I was starstruck.
This week also marks the start of our classes for the summer. We took a placement test on Monday morning so that the difficulty of our courses would correspond adequately with our skill level. I was placed in B2 (avanzado) and will be taking a Spanish history course, as well as a class on the contemporary Spanish novel. Lucky me, I was able to get into my first two choices!
Other than that, the last few days have been filled with lots of walking and exploring. We've been able to make a lot of new friends through the residencia what with all of the different groups and organizations living here. Two programs from Berkeley are actually staying here in the dorms with us so it's been really amazing to be able to meet so many people I probably never would have encountered on a campus as big as ours. Having so many great new friends around has made being away from home much easier for me, although I do very much miss everyone back in the US. I'm sure the next few weeks will go by terribly quick though so I'm trying to enjoy things while they last.
Till next time! xo