shan2010's Travel Journals

shan2010

  • From United States
  • Currently in Madrid, Spain

My Adventures as an Au Pair: a Southern Belle becoming a Madrileña

My entries in this journal will be about the people I meet and the experiences I have while living in Madrid, Spain. Also I will include stories about being an Au Pair.

Arrival to Spain and Los Reyes Magos

Spain Madrid, Spain  |  Jan 06, 2013
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Finalemente he llegado! Finally I have arrived! I can’t believe that I am here in Madrid and writing this entry from my bed in Spain. I had a long flight to get here (about 8 hours), but I was very fortunate to fly first class! And honestly after experiencing it, at least for really long flights first class is the way to fly! I quickly became friends with my seat mate, Keith, as we tried to figure out how to use the TV and the seats (which go all the back) because it was his first time flying like this as well. There was a 3 course feast and the food did not disappoint! Unfortunately the flight became bumpy during the time that I was trying to sleep, but before I knew it, they were back and serving us breakfast with only 1 hr in the flight to go! Spain does not have any forms for you to fill out and all they did was stamp your passport, honestly the easiest country to get into. I did end up bringing 2 large suitcases weighing over 50 lbs each, but I was able to get a cart and luckily I had Keith to help me put my baggage on the cart. Finding a taxi was easy enough since there are like a thousand waiting to be used and since no one was at the airport I got one easily and told him where to go. Of course when he started talking to me he knew I was American, but I am going to have to get used to that J

About 20 minutes later, I arrive outside my host family’s apartment! If you didn’t know I am going to be an Au Pair for 3 children who are 3, 9, and 10 years old. After ringing their number, they told me to come on up. I should have asked for help with my suitcases, but I somehow managed to get them into the lobby, into the small elevator, and finally into the apartment. I was nervous at seeing the family although I have already talked several times on skype to them. They were all very welcoming and it was time for breakfast when I arrived which was about 10:15 am their time (4:15 am US time). We had cookies, toast with marmalade, and milk for breakfast. They offered me coffee, but I knew I was in desperate need of a nap, so I declined. The 3 year old is a boy and is so adorable, I can’t take it. He doesn’t understand English so I speak Spanish to him but also I teach him English words. The two older girls can speak English, but the eldest can speak it very well. After my 2.5 hr nap, it was time for lunch, which in Spain is around 2-3ish and is a big meal. We had rice with vegetables and bread and cheese. Later we got ready to head to the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos.

 In Spain, they celebrate Christmas and get some presents, but their big present day is January 6. Los Reyes Magos, or the Three Wise Men are similar to what Santa Claus is for the US. On the 5th, there is a huge parade (but actually my family said it was much smaller this year due to Spain’s economic crisis) with big beautiful floats al leading up to the arrival of the three wise men. We walked about 20 minutes to the Plaza de Cibeles where the parade ends and the wise men speak. There were huge crowds as we squeezed in to be able to see the parade and the stage where the wise men were to come. Families had step stools that the children stood on to see better and some were on their parents shoulders. After standing for about 1 hr, the parade finally gets to us, but it is hard to really see since there are so many people, but candy is thrown out in the crowd and there is a lot of excitement in the air. After all the beautiful floats, each wise man comes with his float and they finally speak to the crowd. Once we got back (at 10pm), then we had dinner and had to prepare the gifts for the wisemen.  Each wise man got a piece of chocolate, a mandarin, and we left them a box of chocolate. Also we put out milk and water for the camels. Every member of the family leaves out their shoes by the gifts. During the night the three wise men come and leave presents for all! I will tell all about the next day next time! Buenas Noches! 

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