Since Thursday night, I've been sporting the same stupid outfit because Iberia airlines can't get their baggage handling together. Do yourself a favor if you ever fly into Madrid airport...pack a change of clothes in your carry on. Apparently lost luggage is a very regular occurance in this airport. When we met for our teacher meeting on Sunday night at our hotel, there were four of us from the western states reps (which was out of 15 total reps) that didn't get our luggage. Luckily it showed up last night, and I've never been happier. Of course, we'd already gone out and spent money on new stuff to wear for the interviews...but I think I'm going to keep what I bought. I worked too hard trying on so many ill fitting outfits in the last 48 hours, that those clothes I bought are my trophy. I'd mentioned in my previous post, but the clothes in Spain are not very big. It's really hard to find anything over a size 6 or 8. And if you do, it's cut really funky and doesn't hang right anyway. I was dreading going in another dressing room just to stand in front of the mirror in something that I feel like a stuffed sausage in. And I'm fully aware that I'm not fat...but I'm a normal sized American gal. Our co-worker's wife was telling us that there is a real problem with women and eating disorders in Spain. I believe it. You have no choice but to starve yourself if you want to wear anything besides a burlap sack. What a horrible message they're sending out to these women.
So when my luggage arrived, you can imagine my elation. The luxury of actually getting to change my clothes was like being an Ethiopian kid invited to Souplantation. Oh, the choices I had! It was glorious. And I realize I might be a little dramatic (shocking), since it was only 2 days, but the last thing you want to wear after being in airports and on planes for 15 hours is the outfit you had on. Plus, there was something very unnerving about being in a foreign country and not having your personal items. And as anyone knows that's met me for more than a couple hours, there's nothing I hate more than not being in control of something.
And the language barrier makes it hard to understand what's going on. I will forever kick myself for not taking Spanish in high school. Both the co-workers I'm with are fluent Spanish speakers, and it's so nice to have them around to translate, but it's frustrating, and I feel like a total idiot. I hate having to ask for help, and being the only one that doesn't know what's going on. I wish I'd at least gone and bought a Spanish dictionary/phrase book, so I could at least TRY to communicate, but time did not allow it before I left. I feel like such a stupid American when I have to talk to someone and ask if they habla English before giving them the courtesy of trying to speak in their native tongue. It's mildly humiliating.
I hope these posts of mine don't reek of negativity, because all in all, this has been a great trip so far. But the quirky experiences must be shared. I've eaten amazing food, the weather's been fantastic, and we hired 3 AWESOME teachers today (for those of you who don't know, that's why I'm here...to interview/hire Spanish teachers for my company). Tomorrow night, we're going to a dinner/flamenco show, which I'm really excited about. Tonight we're going to a restaurant called Botin. It's evidently the oldest restaurant in Spain, and Ernest Hemmingway used to hang out there when he used to live here. AND their specialty is serving a whole roasted suckling pig on a tile, so of course that's what we're going to order. If we have leftovers, I plan on dropping them by the Jewish retirement home after dinner. I'm so kind to the elderly.
I'm going to end this post here, and go change my clothes. Maybe twice. Just because I can.