Simple things somehow have become complicated tasks
Let me take you through the challenges that this little American girl faces on a normal day in Spain.
First things first, how do I get into my building/my apartment?
You must enter your building, good luck figuring which key to use and you better make sure that you are in the right building (I swear all the buildings and doors look the same, Mariclare agrees, click here to read about her experience looking for her apartment in Sevilla). Anyways, once you are in your building you may get stared down by your portero, that’s normal, just say “hola!” and continue on your way. Then go the right way down the hall way, find the elevator and choose the correct floor!
Then find your door, mine is floor five door two right, what does that even mean?! It’s whatever, but I definitely couldn’t tell you how to write my address on a piece of paper. You found your door but the trick now is to get it open. If you choose the right key to open your door and you are golden! Otherwise you may be at the door a while testing keys, move around a bit so that the motion sensor light doesn’t go off. Also, don’t accidentally ring someone’s doorbell to turn the light back on. Last but not least, turning a door handle to open the door is not an option. It’s just not.
Why can’t I make the shower the perfect temperature?
Showering used to be so simple. I used to turn on the water and the water stayed the same temperature until I changed it. Now, I have two knobs and I have to turn them both and it’s just not that easy. To me it seems logical that if you turn the red knob a little and the blue knob a little they will make the perfect temperature. False. The hot water fights with the cold water ensuring that the water changes temperature while I am showering. Lovely. One day I will get it right.
All I want to do is charge my phone!
Plugging things in. You can’t just plug in American things. Did you remember to bring all of your adapters and converters? I did! Why can’t everything just go straight into the outlet?
Then I need to wash my clothes (That is a weekly task here in Spain)
At home, I do the laundry once every three weeks or so. Here in Spain I don’t have enough clothes to last me that long so I do laundry weekly. This part of the week is time consuming, however, at least I now know how to use the washing machine. Detergent, laundry softener, in the metal thing, close it, turn the knob, press the button. Similar to washing machines in the USA but the set up of the machine is just…different.
My clothes are clean but how the hell do I dry them?
Oh yeah, I have to tender my ropa. That means you have to hang it on the clothes line (outside) to dry. Cross your fingers that it isn’t going to rain soon! Also, find someone to show you how to do this the right way. Apparently you have to put the clothes pins on the ends of the blankets so they don’t slip down…duh…?
P.S. have you bought sheets in Spain?
For some reason decently priced sheets feel like sandpaper. By decently priced I mean anything under 30 euros. What ever happened to great sheets from T.J. Maxx for cheap prices? Not an option! At least not that I found! Also, if your bed sucks and you want a mattress pad that will cost you too. Maybe if you get a really comfy pillow and a down comforter it will make up for your crappy mattress and the springs going into your back.
All of those challenges were just inside of my own apartment…then I have to go out into the world (There are always always a lot of people out there too)
Back to the basics, How do I get out of my building/apartment?
Uhm, hi? Where’s the door handle?
Where is the metro?
If you make it out of your building, you probably want to go somewhere. Probably you want to go there by metro because it’s most economical and relatively fast. By relatively I mean it’s faster than walking…Find your metro and choose where you want to go!
But how do I even know where I want to go?
You have to look at a map…weiiiirdddd. No, no, this is not like a car. Once you get on you are committed to that direction. Choose wisely.
How do I get out of the metro station?
When you first leave the train you can follow all the people. They all know where they are going and no they don’t have to read the signs to know. They just know. For the rest of us, maybe just me, we look at the running man. He leaves all metro stations so that you know how to get out. However, in many metro stations there are multiple exits, so at last you will see a sign pointing left or right. How do you know where you want to go? Sometimes it’s easy because the street you want will be on the sign. Most of the time it’s not that easy. Not to mention, I am sure you didn’t look ahead of time to see which metro station exit would be most beneficial to you. So really, just exit to whichever exit sounds nice and then you can ask someone where to go once you make it to the street.
So, you have ventured though the metro. Maybe now you want to go to the grocery store?
Which cheese is the one that I like?
Semi-curado, curado, oveja, cabra? I just want some mother fucking Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese and maybe some cheese curds from Culver’s. Done and done.
Why do I have to weigh my own produce?
Which fruit is this? Am I allowed to lie and say that my peaches are actually oranges so they can cost less? is this an honor system?
Why aren’t the eggs in the fridge? or the milk for that matter?
My Grandma would not approve of this.
Then I want to use basic functions on my phone…
iMessages cost extra?
Saldo? What the fuck is that?
You can’t just call people without paying per minute? That’s also dumb.
Wait, wait, my phone died and now I need a PIN code to access my SIM Card?