Thursday, June 16, 2005

Madrid

Almost two weeks in Madrid and we´ve been quite busy to say the least. I actually had written a few entries prior to this while in Madrid, but all were saved on my laptop and my mother-in-law doesn´t remember her password for the dial-up. As a result, I couldn´t post on my blog with my laptop. Oh well. Not having Wi-Fi access at home that I´m so accustomed to in Silicon Valley has been a bit of an adjustment, but not really a big of a deal. Perhaps the slug pace access we´re using now stinks, but at least we have access. Once we´re more settled, we´ll pay for the heavy duty hi-speed internet package.
Being married to a Spanish citizen has most definitely made things much easier for me. First of all, she´s there for me to communicate very clearly with all the authorities what my needs are to solicit any bureacratic business that needs to be taken care of. Most importantly, we were able to take care of the residence and NIE number that I would need in order to work legally. It would take 45 days for my NIE number to be sent to me and 3 months for my resident card to arrive. Naturally, waiting in hour long or more lines were not any different, but beyond that I am absolutely content to have all necessary paperwork completed. It is always a relief to get things done, but more so considering what I´ve heard about the Spanish bureaucracy. Well, the truth is, bureacracy is bureacracy and no country can honestly say they are efficient.
My wife is also studying for her oposiciones to teach in the public schools in Spain with an English specialization. She has been carrying on like this for the past two years, creating year long programs that specify how and what she will teach and studying the 25 specific themes that are based around the study of English as a second language. We´ve been locking horns to ensure that she knows what she is supposed to know. She has only a week and a half left before the first part of her test on the 27th so things have been a bit intense and stressful to say the least for us both.
Last Saturday, we were able to meet a group of people who have been teaching English in Madrid, some for a few years and others several more. This group is associated with the MadridTeacher.com website, created by Steven Starry, that aims to unite all English teachers and entities associated with English teaching in the community of Madrid on its website. My wife and I had a good time having the chance to meet English speaking people living in Madrid. It was an experience, to say the least, to speak English amidst the Spanish spoken blaring in the background. We hope to continue our participation in this group, not only to have the opportunity to speak English with others, but to make new friends.
Despite having a hectic first couple of weeks, we have been enjoying ourselves very much so far. Well, need I say more to state that we started off our first day in Madrid with fresh cut slices of Jamon Ibérico? To know the essence of Spanish culture, perhaps the best way to go about it is to taste it, and everything else just comes together when it does. And so here we are in Madrid, the smells, the people, the warm weather, the loud chatter, the pulse of life… making our next steps forward.