Here’s a quick recap of my last week in California and my first week in Spain. I enjoyed filming and editing this so much that I’ll probably make it a monthly thing.
After 12 hours of flying, two nights in Madrid, a missed bus, and a seven-hour train ride, I finally made it to Sevilla last Saturday. While my journey was long, I knew it was worth it as soon as I caught a taxi towards my hostel.
It was around nine in the evening, and every street we drove down was full of people – families, couples, and groups of all ages – enjoying the perfect weather. As we passed by the beautifully lit river that runs through the city, I thought to myself, “This is a city I can call home.”
Exploring the Night Life
A major reason I enjoy traveling so much is the opportunity to stay in hostels. Not only are they super cheap (I’m always on a budget), they’re also one of the best ways to meet awesome people from around the world. I’ve probably stayed in about 10 or 15 hostels, and pretty much every stay has left me with some great memories.
As soon as I checked into the Black Swan Hostel that night, any jet lag or exhaustion I was feeling immediately disappeared. I was ready to experience what nightlife Sevilla had to offer. Fortunately (though not for my health), my hostel hosted free nightly pub crawls, so I signed up, ate some tuna and half a baguette, and started socializing.
Overall I was really impressed with the night life in Sevilla. The drinks are cheap, the people are nice, and it seemed like something was going on every night we went out, which is pretty impressive considering Sevilla isn’t a huge city like Madrid or Barcelona. While out I met a variety of people, including a ton of local Spaniards, several people from around Europe, and probably a few too many fellow Americans. I was even fortunate enough to meet quite a few people from my teaching program.
The Apartment Hunt
My first week in Sevilla wasn’t all fun and games, though. One of the conditions of the teaching program I’m in is that we have to find our own housing. This proved to be a considerable challenge.
When I did the program last year in San Sebastian, I was extremely lucky and found an apartment with very little effort. One of my students happened to have a friend with an available room literally two minutes from my school.
Things weren’t so easy this time around. Starting that Sunday, I called every ‘anuncio’ I could find, each one coming back ‘ocupado’. Apparently, apartments fill up quick down south, and it didn’t help that this was the start of a new school year; there was a huge influx of foreign students studying abroad, plus all of my fellow teaching assistants who were looking for places.
After turning down a place on Wednesday that was in a decent location but would have cost more than half my monthly paycheck, I started to feel the panic set in. “What if it takes weeks for me to find a place? I can’t afford to stay in a hostel that long.” “What if I run out of money???” “What if I have to go back to the states?” These worries and more began settling in my mind. So I did what any mature adult would do in that situation: I went out and got really drunk that night.
As luck would have it, this strategy paid off and I found a room after only two calls the next day. The room was small and the apartment had pretty old appliances, but it had everything I needed, was only five minutes from the bus station I would have to commute to work from, and was decently priced as well. I said “si!”, paid a 300-euro deposit, and moved in the next day.
What did I learn from this experience? Sometimes you just get lucky. Also, very little sleep combined with lots of drinking for six days means you’re definitely getting sick.
As soon as I moved into my new place, the jet lag and six nights of going out caught up to me. As I write this I’m recovering from a chest cold that’s kept me inside for the past few days. However, things are looking up and I’m very excited for the weeks to come.
Next Wednesday I’ll be moving to Spain to start my second year of teaching English. Because my first year was such an awesome experience, I decided to make a video about how you can take advantage of this opportunity as well.