On Sunday around 11 a.m Spain time, J and I were picked up by two FWB missionaries, Sam and June McVay, from the Madrid airport. They hauled us and all of our luggage to Alcalá (which is the town my University is) to go to their church service. Although my Spanish is very bad right now, I surprisingly understood the majority of the sermon, so that was a bit of a relief. After church we headed to Alpedrete (the town where another missionary family lives) to meet them for lunch. Their names are Tim and Kristi and they have two kids, Alejandro and Ana. This is the family who so generously offered to let us stay in their home while we searched for apartments.
Sunday afternoon, Sam and June took us driving around different areas of Madrid we thought we may want to live as well as the school where I will be teaching English. We made a list of different apartments for them to call and set up appointments for the next few days. Overall we looked at apartments all day Monday and Tuesday and by Tuesday evening we found one! There were a few different factors for us to consider during this process. We wanted to be fairly close to the school I would be teaching and also not too terribly far from my University where I will be attending classes once a week. We looked in some really nice areas that were close to the center of the city that were a pretty simple train ride to my "barrio", or neighborhood, where my school is located. The problem with these areas is that since they are so close to the center they are more expensive and a few of the areas did not seem like the safest option. We also needed a furnished apartment. With this can come apartments that are not very clean. We can deal with tiny, because they are almost all tiny, but we were really hoping to find a place where we weren't afraid of getting a disease, haha.
The last apartment we looked at was in Puente de Vallecas (the town my school is in). We found this apartment online and the pictures looked too good to be true, compared to most of the other places we'd seen. We parked on the street and saw that it was an older street with older buildings and we thought there was no way the pictures could be real, so we sort of lost hope and already had it in our minds that this would just be another pointless visit. But, when we walked in the door we were pleasantly surprised. Everything was brand new and super clean: new floors, new paint, new appliances, new bathroom, new couch, new mattress...everything! They had just renovated the whole thing. On top of all that, it was one of the cheapest places we had looked at to rent and was within walking distance from the school I would be working at everyday. Puente de Vallecas is not the ideal area for two twenty-somethings because it is an older area and there isn't a whole lot of exciting, "trendy" things going on. It's more like a working-class community with families and older people. But it's also a quieter and safer area, which is a plus, and finding a place to live within walking distance from my school at such a great price was something we couldn't pass up. It is also just a 10 minute walk from the train station which will take us to almost any part of Madrid in about 10 minutes, tops. And the same train will take me straight to Alcalá, where my University classes will be, in around 30-35 minutes. Another perk was that this particular landlord didn't require that we have our residency cards (which we won't have for a couple more months or so) and didn't make us prove our financial status through the Community of Madrid, which could've been a complicated process as well. My passport and letter from my school sufficed. So overall, it was our best option and we didn't want to risk passing it up. There were two other people that were coming to look at it after us, so we told him we wanted it before we left. He scribbled a temporary contract on a piece of scrap paper and we gave him all the cash in euros and dollars that we had on us as "security" for him to hold our spot. Haha. He said as soon as the locks were changed we could move in.
The next day, the Johnsons took us shopping at Ikea for household items. And then on Thursday afternoon we met our landlord to sign the official contract and move in. Both missionary families came to help us move in because between all of our luggage and Ikea bags we needed two cars. We signed the lease and then they took us grocery shopping while we had their vehicles to get all of our main supplies. We cannot thank these two families enough for all they have done for us. I have no idea what we would've done without them!
Several people have asked to see pictures of our apartment so for now I will share the pictures taken by our landlord before we moved in. Later on I'll share more of what it looks like after we get all of our stuff packed away and cleaned up. Now, keep in mind, he must have had some type of fish eye lens or something on his camera, because these pictures make it look a lot bigger than it actually is. It's so tiny! Haha.
Our room as a sliding glass door to an outdoor little roof/patio area. I don't have any pictures of that yet.
Living room/kitchen (all one room):
Yes, that's a washer you see. Spaniards typically keep them in their kitchens and 99% don't use dryers.
That back door is our bedroom and the door on the left is the bathroom.
View from the couch:
This is a futon couch and it makes into a double bed. So come visit us! ;)
View from the front door:
Well there it is! Oh, and it's one of the very few homes in Spain with AC! Another plus. Especially for Americans, ha.
So for now we're just waiting on the little things. We won't have wifi in our apartment until next week, which is why we've been hanging out at McD's. And we're still working on our phone situation. Next week I start my program. I have orientation on Tuesday and Wednesday at the school I'll be teaching at and more orientation on Thursday and Friday in Alcalá at my University. Then the following week classes will start.
That basically covers everything that's happened in our lives since we've been here. We'll keep you updated as we go along! Love and miss you all!
Linking up with Chelsea.
Linking up with Chelsea.