- I let too much time go by between posts and now I've got too much to say.
Ergo, the list.
- We have our car. That's about as much enthusiasm as I can muster over our road trip to southern Spain.
It was kind of a bust. The weather was rainy and the kids weren't feeling well. Alex was coughing like a smoker all through the night, and we decided that extending our trip to sleep in a hotel together might not be that much fun. So we skipped the plans to visit Ronda and Málaga and headed back to Madrid on Saturday.
The only good part was catching up with a friend from Josh's language class who is stationed down there. We stayed at her place and the kids loved playing with her dog.
-We just chilled out at home all day on Sunday to rest up for the week.
This is Derek chilling out.
- For some reason we just can't seem to kick the colds around here. We lovingly share them with each other.
With love. And coughs.
Then just as one of us starts to improve, here comes round two.
I'm really looking forward to the spring and the end of cold season.
- We did stop along the way in two Spanish towns-- Córdoba and Sevilla. They were both lovely and I will upload pictures of each place.
- I hath driven in Spain. The highways here are much like the ones in the States, which was a relief to find out.
The only main differences are that they really don't have any type of fast food along the way, or many rest areas. Also the roads were kind of empty.
I think I figured out why when we stopped to fill up with gas.
No one can afford to drive.
If my conversions are right, I think we were paying over $7.30 a gallon.
-Our car was shipped to a U.S. Naval Base in Rota, Spain. We had to go get it there, because they are equipped to get us our Spanish drivers licenses as well as complete some other necessary paperwork for our residency here.
This also meant that we had to take a written driving test. (Not to worry, it was written in English.) The large majority of the test was interpreting signs, and while I passed, I might need to study up a bit before I actually start driving through the streets of Madrid. I might possibly be a danger to others in my current state.
- While we were there, we went to the comissary (the base grocery store) to grab a few items that I haven't been able to find up here or that are crazy expensive to buy in Madrid. It was tempting to fill the cart to overflowing, since everything was much cheaper, but space was a limitation.
- I realize that I mention the cost of things quite a bit, because the prices are still rather shocking to me. But I should also point out that when you live in an area where things are much more expensive than in the States, the military pays a "Cost of Living allowance" that helps offset the costs. We wont be living off of ramen or anything ;)
- I'm getting the hang of grocery shopping here in Madrid. I have my preferred store, I know now to come with a specific denomination of coin to unlock the shopping cart, and I figured out how to buy produce.
The first time I went, I bagged up some apples and threw them in the cart.
Then, when I was checking out, the saleslady indicated that I had forgotten something. She kept pointing to the produce area and going on about a number.
Or something like that. I wasn't quite sure.
So I though, "Oh, none of these apples have a sticker, she must need me to tell her the number."
So I ran over and found the number and reported back.
Then she looked at me like I was possibly not quite right in the head.
Turns out there's a scale in the produce section and you weigh your own fruit and out pops a handy little sticker that has the price and goes on the bag.
Live and learn.
I feel stupid here quite a lot. Sometimes I want to tell people that in my country, I'm not so dumb. But I'd probably mess up the Spanish and then they wouldn't believe me.
The grocery store delivers to the house, and it still feels weird to pay for the groceries and then walk out empty-handed. But I kind of like it.
They give you a window of time for delivery and voila, my groceries are delivered.
- We still have much to discuss, but my couch, book, and coffee cup are calling my name.