by Erin Elaine
When I moved in to my apartment yesterday, it didn’t quite feel like home. I had just spent ten days living with three other girls, exploring the city with them, learning their neighborhood. Now I was living in a brand new neighborhood, in a furnished but bare room, with a roommate whom I had only met for about 20 minutes the previous day. It was a little jarring.
I decided that decorations and time were what was needed to make this place feel like home. I knew I wanted to get some art at El Rastro, which is only on Sundays, so I couldn’t do that yesterday. But I did go to El Corte Inglés to get some hangers and bedsheets. The ones I chose came with a pillowcase, fitted sheet, and flat sheet, for 30 euros, marked down from 65. These sheets aren’t even pretending to be soft, but you can’t have it all, right?
Before I left for the Killers concert, the room still didn’t feel even close to homey, and I figured it was because the walls were still bare, and because I hadn’t spent enough time in this apartment. My experience last night changed that.
The concert ended at 1:30am, and the metro line that serves the University stops running at 1:30, so that wasn’t an option. Walking also wasn’t an option because the venue was pretty far out, and it would have taken me about 90 minutes if I knew exactly where to go, but the city is still new to me and it was the middle of the night. My feet were also KILLING me. I’ve been walking a lot more than I used to lately, and standing for hours on end just made them hurt more.
So I tried to flag a taxi, but every single one was full. Dozens and dozens of taxis went by me, but they were all full. I walked along the street for a while trying to find a more strategic spot to stand and to maybe get ahead of the crowd a little so I could get an empty cab, but no luck. At this point it was around 2:15, and I had spent 45 minutes wandering around trying to get a taxi, in a strange city, surrounded by people who don’t speak the same language as me so I couldn’t even ask for help. I was starting to get pretty worried, and the exhaustion didn’t help at all.
Finally I found someone who spoke English and they told me that there is a night bus service that could get me kind of close to my apartment. I thanked them and went to stand in a huge crowd of about 40 people waiting for a bus. Finally it came and they packed us on like sardines in a way I’m sure violated several safety codes. The bus finally left the venue at 2:40am, and I had to keep standing on my painful feet.
Eventually I get off the bus at Gran Vía and Calle Salud, which would have been totally walkable to my apartment if my feet didn’t hurt so bad. So I hailed a taxi (there were empty ones!) and told the driver with correct pronunciation “Calle Dos Hermanas, cerca de Tirso de Molina”. He drove me to the general area, but couldn’t find my street. He even asked people for directions, but they weren’t any help. He drove around in circles for a little while longer, and finally I just told him to drop me at Plaza Tirso de Molina, because I knew how to get home from there.
By the time I got back to my room, it was 3:30am and I was completely exhausted. I was so happy to see my bedroom, and at that moment, it felt like home. That night I fell asleep on papery sheets, in a room that was completely un-decorated, that I’d never slept in before, and I felt at home. And it was totally worth it for that concert.