It was raining in Madrid when I landed this morning at around 10am local time. I flew out of LAX about thirteen hours before. From there I flew to Dallas, Texas where I boarded a second plane to Madrid. As the title of this piece suggests: flying sucks. American Airlines packed absolutely everyone and everything they could into the Boeing I was stuck in. The seat reclined a full three inches into the knees of the poor bastard behind me. Combine this with the anxiety of leaving your friends and family, a slight hangover, and a troubled belly, and what you get is an incredibly uncomfortable flight in a piece of loud tin.
After taking a cab to Valdemoro (a town south of Madrid) I got to meet my distant family their. Tía Mercedes greeted me, and later I got to meet her daughter, also named Mercedes, who works as a teacher at a local school. It's quite amazing that without having ever met me these people have offered me absolutely everything. I've already been treated to great Spanish food (Spanish Omelet, Croquetas: fried balls of cheese and ham) and an assortment of pork--Spain exiled or killed most of its Jewish population during the inquisition, hence the Spanish affinity for pork. Mercedes' father was my grandfather's cousin, that's how we're related. She's married to a computer technician named Pedro, and they have two little girls named Ana and Isabel.
For now, nothing much is new, I'll be posting up some pictures and what not as soon as I being taking them. Until then, it's figuring out where I'm going to live (which shouldn't be too hard, since Mercedes and Pedro own an empty apartment in the center of Madrid) and maybe making some couch surfing friends.
My only reflections now are just the fact that I've got to accustom myself to thinking and talking in Spanish. Which is pretty easy the more I listen and talk. It's pretty nice not being as confident in a language you can understand perfectly, but where you make mistakes verbally. It makes you listen more, which is a valuable tool in seeing how people construct not just what they say, but how they think.
Much love to everyone. You'll hear more soon.