Friday was rough! First of all, my apartment has been without internet for ~one week, as we switched providers and there was a sort of “configuration” period I think. The internet was supposed to start working on Thursday night around midnight/1 AM and no dice! That’s made it hard to call home!
Secondly, I couldn’t put money on my phone on Friday because the Vodafone system was down most of the day. I had to call people, but I couldn’t use my phone because I had less than 1 euro of credit. Thankfully by the end of the day I stopped by a Vodafone store on my way to meet up with someone who wanted to practice her English (more below) and they said that the system was back up (around 8PM). I was only phoneless for a day, but it felt like a lifetime! It was hard not to call people back or respond to their text messages since I needed to save my last little bit of credit in case of an emergency. That’ll teach me to wait until the last minute to add credit… I’m not used to prepaid phones!
I met up with the woman that wanted to practice her English and we had some tinto de verano (red wine with lemonade) and we had a really nice chat! She works in a primary school too, and she wants to improve her English. We’re planning on meeting up every Monday night, so that’ll be really nice! We are going to do about ½ of our meeting time in Spanish and ½ in English so that we both get to practice. I’m not sure how long we’ll meet, but I think that it’ll be around an hour or two.
After meeting up with Maria (that was her name), I met up with Jackie (another language assistant from Texas) and we ate at a Mexican restaurant in the center of town. We’ve only been there twice together (I went once before then), but we are already treated like regulars. We always have the same waiter and he’s always joking around with us. It’s nice! We walked around after we ate and spoke Portuguese in the street. It was fun! Afterwards we parted ways and we both headed home.
This is where the stress started!!
I get on the 4 line to go home and everything was normal. I rode the train for a few stops and I got to an area that was probably only 3-4 stops away from home and chaos ensued. I looked at the cars ahead of me and I see EVERYONE running out of the cars and people were yelling and screaming. I couldn’t see anything, as I was in the last car, so I just bolted and I ran as fast as I could to get out of the subway and away from its opening. Thankfully the exit was in the opposite direction of whatever was causing the problem. I’m not sure what happened, but I thought that I heard a woman scream TIRO! (gunshot) as she was running, but there is no way to tell what really happened since my adrenaline was pumping and I was in shock (and it’s hard to think in Spanish when you are freaking out).
I ran so hard that by the time I got out of the subway and a couple of blocks away I couldn’t breathe. I flagged down a taxi and told him what happened as we headed back towards my apartment (which was pretty close to where I exited the metro). I told the driver what had happened and he was so nice. He was trying to help me calm down and he tried to find a news channel on the radio to see if they said anything. I didn’t think that I’d hear anything for a while since such a short amount of time had passed since the incident.
Since I don’t have internet, I haven’t been able to do any research to see what was going on. This whole experience was really scary, but I’m just glad that I got away from whatever it was and I’m safe! All of the news articles about threats of terrorist attacks in Europe make this even scarier to me, but I haven’t heard anything on the tv yet… so I wonder what really happened? I’m starting to think that it was nothing at all, and someone thought it would be funny to scare everyone… I’ll update again if I find anything out.
On a brighter note, I received a care package from my mommy last Friday! I picked it up on Saturday morning at the post office (which is only one block from my apartment), and now I have some goodies!! I got some Dramamine (for my lovely bus ride home from Colmenar Viejo), a robe, some books, a smoke detector, and some pepper spray (haha). Very useful items! Love you, Mom!!!
Just for fun, here is a list of things that I miss/don’t miss from the US (other than people, of course):
Things that I miss:
1) Having a car
2) Having A/C and heating
3) Cheap tennis shoes
4) Understanding old people (haha – old people here are very nice, but it’s hard to understand them when they talk sometimes!)
5) Having a clothes dryer (I miss fluffy warm towels and pants that fit!!)
6) FAST food – I don’t eat fast food very often here, but seriously… I went to McDonalds with a friend and it took like 20 minutes or more! The sad thing is that they’re all like that.
7) Reliable internet/technology! Wifi is really new here, and it’s not so good yet.
8) My iPhone/mobile internet in general
9) Baked potatoes with butter mmm
10) Longhorn (I have yet to find a nice juicy steak here)
Things that I don’t miss:
1) Rushing all the time (things here seem more relaxed)
3) The lack of public transportation/good sidewalks
4) Having to drive over an hour total every day to get to work (2x a week I walk 15 minutes to work, and the other 2 days I have about an hour commute which is the same amount that I was driving at home every work day)
5) Atlanta traffic (haha) – there’s no traffic on the metro… well, there can be a lot of people at times, but it’s not that bad
Sorry for such a long post, but a lot has happened during my internet-less days!
Oh and today I broke a jar of salsa on the metro just a while ago. Goooo me! 🙂