Tuesday, June 5, 2012

mi cuarto

After looking at three apartments, I decided to finally choose my place of residence for the summer (and moved in after work on Monday):

Calle de la Palma, 69, Apt 3D
Madrid, Spain 28015

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in the Tribunal/Noviciado/Plaza de España region. 

I found it using a website called EasyPiso that's basically like directed Craigslist/Airbnb ads for people looking for roommates/flatmates. It's a great website for finding apartments in Madrid (and other places in Spain) if you know what area to look for - if you don't, you need to keep a tab of GoogleMaps open next to EasyPiso to constantly be checking what area of the city you are living in. 

There are four people living here: 
  • Fabian, the macho alfa (alpha male), is an actor from Colombia who has lived in Madrid for 8 years.
  • Helena, from Barcelona, works as a store clerk near Sol
  • Stefany, from Tenerife, one of the Spanish Canary Islands, speaks with a madrileño accent and is a photographer getting extra cash working as a store clerk
  • Lillian, an exchange student from the Netherlands studying politics in Madrid until the end of June.
It's a nice, diverse group of people to live with, and we speak only Spanish, so I get to practice a lot. Sometimes I struggle, but it's a learning experience. 

The view as you turn right out of the apartment and head towards the Tribunal metro:

It's a quaint little residential area with lots of young people and lots of hip places. But needless to say that since I'm paying less than any of the other MISTI interns for a place, it's a bit more run-down and smaller. The view out my bedroom window (at least I have a bedroom window!) looks out into an inner courtyard where I see the renovations that are being done to the building, with only minor precautionary measures: 
but it doesn't affect our day-to-day. 

The kitchen is small but functional: 
 You can see a washer there next to the stove. But no dryer....

And my room is small and simple. The beds are not the XL Twin we college students are used to - the bed is just long enough to fit me length-wise. But all I do in my room is sleep, so it's a place I can call home for two months. 

Talking with some other MISTI people has made me realize that dryers are not standard here. Well enough, since the air is so dry that clothes on a clothesline dry super fast:
(you can see my shirts drying there)

Three cool things this apartment does: 
  1. bote - not sure what the translation of this word is in this context, but it's basically a common pool of money every month (something like 2 euros each) that can be used by anyone to buy common apartment items, like cleaning supplies, toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. 
  2. horario de limpieza (cleaning schedule) - there are 5 cleaning tasks (all the floors, kitchen, bathroom, take out the trash, living room) that are distributed among all 5 residents that change weekly on a rotating basis. They're fanatic about recycling here (both in this apartment and in Madrid in general), so figuring out where to bring the recycling was an interesting challenge... 
  3. Every month on a Sunday afternoon we all make lunch and eat together. Everyone makes something and we eat potluck style, saving the leftovers for the next week. This month, I made salat olivee (known everywhere else in the world as Russian salad). More on that later. 
When I have an apartment of my own I'm definitely implementing some form of (1). 

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