October and November 2008
October and November 2008
The Famous Edificio B (Literally "Building B") - The Faculty building where I had most of my classes
Looking back on my diary is fascinating. I was so relieved to finally be in Spain, I spent an entire month doing everything Spanish I could possibly think of. For my first weekend I went to a campsite a few hours north of Madrid for a weekend binge - that's right, barely unpacked and I was pissing Spanish wine into Spanish bushes for a Spanish weekend. I then went to Zaragoza, in the North-East of the country (close to Barcelona). After that, I spent the next two weekends on a bar-crawl, you know, just getting to know the city.
Of course, it was all drunken debauchery. By day, I would attend this place called University, at which I was requiered to read books, and comment on them in the native language among my fellow students and a teacher. I will never forget that first day at the Complutense. In the middle of the day, at least 200 students were packed into a lecture hall for a three-hour infodump on how to do everything at the university. It was the only time I'd come out from a lecture with a headache which had been caused from merely listening. Having said that, integrating into my classes was relatively easy, since foreign students were everywhere, and we had a month to settle and choose which classes we would take for the semester. Being a novice, I think it's safe to say my eventual choices were a little hit-and-miss. I hated two of them, absolutely loved one, and liked but couldn't keep up with the reading for two others. The eventual results didn't even reflect this, but it took me the first semestester to find my feet in UCM. I pretty much spent October to January trying to get to grips with the system, which certainly put me in good stead for the second semester; but that's for another day.
November got off to a good start, too. Without intention, I found myself in my first steady relationship: and with someone English, at that! Oh, the irony of three years of unsuccessful attempts in the UK, before giving up, going to Spain for a bit of fun, and shacking up with a Brit! C'est la vie, I suppose. Then Barack Obama won the Presidential election, and I made some long-lasting American friends.
Then I turned 21. The advantage: I'd come of age abroad, with all the possibilities that afforded me. The disadvantage: I hadn't any of my best friends around, and the friends I had made were relatively new, and weren't close enough for me to say what I would have liked to say on that day. Nonetheless, I had a great time, and my birthdays have never been all that, anyway.
Winter was approaching, and fast. Madrid is a city of extremes, and the weather is no exception. First came the wind, then the cold, then the rain. As with every winter, I began to fall into a slight depression, which was only exacerbated by the fact that I had been having trouble sorting my bank and visa issues out in time before the end of the year, and had my first bout of homesickness. As December rolled in, so too did my first real feelings of discontent...
Part One: Summer and September 2008