Clinking coffee cups, the chatter of locals and the alluring smell of fresh brewed coffee waft through my living room windows when I pull them open in the morning. Living next to a bakery certainly has its perks. As tempting as those smells are, I also plan on continuing to fit into my clothes, so I have settled on a nice compromise with myself. Each Saturday, I select one treat and a coffee from downstairs to indulge in. While I could enjoy the ambiance of the shop, I have made it a habit now to take my coffee llevar (to go) and bring it up to my balcony. Oscar, the baker, already knows my order and greets me with a giant smile each time I walk through his door. He also helps me work on my Spanish as he has limited English skills, and let’s be honest, I live in Spain now and I need some serious work on my Spanish.
There’s much more to my neighborhood than just delicious bakeries, of which there are more than a few that tempt me daily. I also happen to live in what I think is the best situated neighborhood. On the outskirts of my particular barrio, my place has a family oriented vibe with quieter streets and virtually no tourists walking around. I truly feel like I’m living like and with locals. At the same time it’s a quick 3-5 minute walk to the public buses or tram connecting me to anywhere I might need to go. Now have I mastered the timing of getting to said bus/tram stops, no not really. Have I watched as the bus/tram I wanted pull away riding off into the sunset as I am left to wait another 12-16 minutes for the next one, you betcha. But we can’t all be perfect and at least the public transit is way more reliable than the T ever was in Boston!
If I am talking about my favorite things I can’t forget to mention the people. Friendly doesn’t do them justice. No matter what shop, or restaurant I go into or person I have spoken to on the street, I have encountered nothing short of the kindest people. As I stumble over my Spanish, flustered and frustrated that I can’t communicate fluently yet, I have been met with a lot of patience and then handed an English menu to end the torture for all of us.
There are also my new friends at work too. New teachers or veterans it doesn’t matter, everyone has been amazing. Offering to help, making sure I know what I’m doing, I feel so lucky to be working with such a great group of people. And us newbies have really clicked and become a great group of friends. There is always someone up to do just about anything. I don’t know how I would survive without this amazing group?!
I am absolutely loving my new city. Each day brings new surprises and discoveries. Slowly but surely I have begun to settle into new routines and new ways of doing things and it’s only been about a month! There is so much more I will learn as the year progresses. I can’t wait to see what Spain has in store for me.