Aidan’s first day on the bus… and I’m now 2-3 in my quest.

Tuesday was Aidan’s first day on the bus… Other than today when we all went to see him off, Josh will be taking Aidan to the bus stop on his way to the metro station.  I’m glad that I was there this morning though.  He almost went to the American School as the bus stop for that school is on the other side of the same intersection. Debora, our bus contact at BFIS told us that Aidan’s bus would be a white bus with stripes, the chaperone’s name was Chiqui and that there was only one other student at the bus stop. Josh asked one of the parents if it was for BFIS and he said yes apparently (perhaps didn’t understand English as well as his child)… then the bus showed up and it was short and grey and the chaparone’s name was Maria which didn’t make sense based on what Debora told me, not to mention there were about 8 kids, but I was trusting that Josh had asked the parent before I got there. I asked another woman, “and this is for BFIS right”. She said, “no!, the American School”. Mind you, Aidan was on the bus and they were closing the door. Thankfully this woman got Aidan off the bus for me! And his bus was waiting across the street. Barely made it!! But we did make it and now we know exactly where his bus stops and what it looks like. Whew – what a morning and it’s only 8AM! An adventure a moment it feels like!

The good news is on the way to the bus stop this AM we found La Tintorería (or the dry cleaner). So armed with a load of stinky shirts, I headed out this morning to get them cleaned. I had left my cell phone home because I needed a pin # to get in to it and Josh hadn’t IM’d me back…who knew what pain that would cause! I managed to tell her I wanted them cleaned – but then she asked for my telephone #. I don’t know it off the top of my head and said, esta en mi casa (it’s at home…at least I think that’s what it means, it sounds right to me). Apparently this was a BIG issue because she called a guy from out back and asked him (in spanish) how to handle this problem. He punched a few things on the computer and that was it. Then she asked me to pay (this took a moment for me to figure out what she wanted, then she pointed to the credit card machine). Ok, so apparently you prepay for these kinds of things here. 44 € (notice I finally found the euro sign) later, I’m all set. Finally something accomplished!!!!

During the day today I heard the doorbell and went to the door thinking perhaps they might be coming to fix our heat or install our dryer. I had heard clanging outside. It turns out that it was a truck filled with orange propane type tanks. Apparently they go door to door to sell them in the city. He said something to me that I didn’t understand and then pointed to them. I said “no gracias” – to my knowledge we don’t need any propane. It’s interesting that they just go up and down the streets with them – they bang on the rail of the truck with something metal so you know they are coming.

So on yet another positive note – I also found ice cube trays today. Again, it’s the little things in life. Aidan decided after school to wander into another 5 n dime type place (there are a lot of them around here) and lo and behold – ice cube trays!! Success!!! 2 items in one day! I may be ready to tackle the bus or my NIE (foreign social security number) sometime in the next millennium… seriously though at this rate, my confidence is building and perhaps sometime in the next week I’ll think of tackling those things!

I went out with Cristy tonight to a tapas place – called Tapas 24.  It’s off Passeig de Gracia which is a very nice area.  We ended up dining for 4 hours.  We went thru 2 bottles of Spanish wine (I don’t care what Josh has said, spanish wine does in fact give you a hangover, I can promise you).  We had amazing conversation and didn’t realize how fast the 4 hours went by.  It was interesting because in Barcelona, restaurants are very focused on the customers that are currently seated versus those who are waiting.  Instead of taking a new table and hurrying us out after we paid our check (a whopping 40 euros for the 2 of us), the waiter instead brought us a plate of olives (unfortunately neither of us particularly care for that)…then he convinced us that we should have more wine…and then another dessert.  So instead of taking on a new table, he continued to cater to us.  It was a really great experience to see this first hand as I had heard about that from Josh from his stay in December.

However, all great nights must come to an end and without looking at our phones / clocks, we decided to head out.  We got into the metro station and all the gates were open.  Free??????  Hmmm… I look at my clock – 12:02.  Shit!!  The metro stops running at 12!  We race down opposite sides of the metro and Cristy barely makes hers.  I’m crossing my fingers that there is still one more for me left because there are about 6 other people waiting.  Worst case I take a cab but I’m already here, I’m buzzed and I just want to get home.  Finally about 2 mins later a train arrived – whew!!  I made it back and walked the couple of blocks back to our apartment.  I thought I’d be anxious walking by myself so late at night here but I actually felt quite safe.  Someone told me recently that other than pickpocketing, they had heard that the most violent crimes were if someone were held up with a butter knife.  It’s just not a violent area.  That’s not to say I won’t be aware, but I won’t be scared either.

Side note – I didn’t publish or finish writing this entry til Wed – I’d like to point out that apparently I drank way too much red wine last night and spent a chunk of the night making friends with our new toilet. 

Julie

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