Well after 10 hours of flights, 9 hours on a train, and a lot of walking, I have finally made it to my destination, Salvaterra de Miño! It has been an awesome journey so far and I am looking forward to this next 9 months more than ever.
Upon arriving in Madrid, I ended up meeting an American couple from Oregon which neither of them spoke any Spanish at all. So after chatting on the flight and while navigating the Madrid airport we figured out that we were to catch the same train that day! This ended up being the perfect trade, I helped them with Spanish and they kept me company during a long day of traveling on train. The first night I arrived in Spain I stayed in a city called Leon. Leon is situated in the autonomous region of Castilla y Leon and it is on the Camino de Santiago (ironically). In this town, I reserved an Airbnb and stayed with a girl named Hayley. Hayley is actually from Australia and teaches English in Leon much like I am doing in my town. Hayley was very accommodating and even walked to the train station to pick me up so that she could show me the city while also helping me with directions to find the station again in the morning. After getting settled into her home, I went walking around the city and decided to buy some things that I would need for my stay because Salvaterra is smaller I wanted to buy some essentials in case I could not find them here.
I explored the city plaza ( Plaza de San Marcos) and was able to see the old cathedrals and a missionary which is now a fancy hotel. However, I did have to catch a train very early the next morning so I did not get to see much more of the city than that because I need to get a decent amount of sleep. (which didn’t happen because you know, time changes and sleep schedules). Currently, because of the time difference I usually don’t fall asleep until about 3am or so. Which is annoying but it will get better 🙂
Anyways, the next day I caught my 7am train to Salvaterra. This train ride took 7 hours because there are multiple stops throughout Galicia, which I loved. Although the train ride was long, it was worth it because of the views. For those who are not aware, Galicia is very beautiful and can easily be compared to the Pacific Northwest in the United States. It is very green here, the temperature is very cool and soothing, there are hills/mountains, and it rains A LOT. Therefore, my next purchase should probably be an umbrella, rain jacket, and possibly boots. 😉
Upon arriving in Salvaterra, I booked an Airbnb with a family here in town and they are precious! They have been so helpful to me and have helped me get adjusted to life here in town. The mother/wife is named Laura and she is absolutely fantastic. When I arrived at her home, she made me lunch (it was during siesta for the day) and she helped me to get comfortable in her home. She is married and has two kids who attend the school where I will be working! So it has been great to spend time with them and learn about the way of life in Salvaterra. Their hospitality is great!
I also have already looked at a piso (apartment) which would be shared with a lady named Marta. She doesn’t speak any English at all so it is interesting to communicate with her but we make it work! She is fabulous as well. After meeting her and seeing her apartment, we ended up driving to another town called Tui and we went shopping in a mall there and she showed me around that city. Marta is younger so I think that she will make a good roommate and that we will have fun together. I am not sure when I finalize moving in with her but I am hoping to this weekend because her apartment is so nice. I have my own room and bathroom. She also has a balcony. The apartment is situated near the city center so all of the government buildings, stores, and bars/restaurants are very close. Another nice thing about my city is that they supply free wifi for the city center, so if you live in that area you will have access to free wifi. I visited the government building (city hall = concello de Salvaterra) today so that I could get a contract to use the wifi and to get and stay connected. After visiting the city hall, I went to the local “Chino.” Chinos are stores that are ran by Chinese citizens in Spain and there is one on every street, I swear. They literally carry anything that you would need essentially for your home, office, etc. They are very cheap too!
On top of achieving all of that, I have also already visited my school! It is precious and the children/teachers are fantastic and so nice and welcoming. I received my work schedule and I only work Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays for four hours each day! Therefore, I have a four day weekend every week which leaves me plenty of time to relax and explore.
Right now, it is siesta so many people in the town are at home eating lunch and getting ready to relax before the evening activities. Marta and I are going to Portugal this evening to go shopping (TWO COUNTRIES IN ONE WEEK, ITS AMAZING) ! She also wanted to show me more things around town like the doctors offices, police station, and the more essential places I need to know about.
So far I am already in love with life here. It is so relaxed and calming. I forgot how different it is here than in the United States but it is definitely a good kind of different. Everyone is super nice and has been helpful in my adjustment to life here. I have had many questions about American culture and of course, the presidential election. That always leads to entertaining conversations! I am happy that I have met and been in contact with many people here already but it is making it feel more like home to have a support system and I could not be more thankful! That’s all I have for now!