by Erin Elaine
I guess I forgot how much work it is to unpack an entire apartment! The last time I did this was the summer of 2010, and at that time I had a smaller apartment and less stuff. Now I’m setting up a 2-bedroom apartment that’s all my own (yay office!) and it seems to be taking forever. It’s also expensive!! Service activation fees, new soap, wall decorations and picture frames. Have no fear, I’m making slow progress and eventually it will all be done.
The culture shock hasn’t been too bad but it’s been there. I have to choose a health care plan, and the options are all great by U.S. standards, but not by Spanish standards. Here, it’s basically a balancing act between high premiums and low coverage. In Spain it’s like “Oh, you breathe? Here’s a health card. It covers basically everything. Take care.” Here, I’m analyzing pages of legalese that basically amount to: I’m choosing to pay high premiums and that still won’t cover everything. If I get hit by lightning, I will still have out-of-pocket costs and will probably have to hire a lawyer to make sure my insurance company pays up. Weee! Looking forward to that.
Driving again has been pretty great, I have to say. I’ve been sticking to the easy stuff, music-blasting highways and in-town grocery runs. I’ve decided there’s no way in hell I’m driving in downtown Seattle. Tried that last summer – never doing that again. I’ve visited Seattle twice already and have been sticking to buses. I’ll do the same Labor Day Weekend when I go to Bumbershoot. Even though the buses can’t hold a candle to the Madrid Metro (oh how I love thee) they’re still better than driving and parking in that mess of a city.
The best part of being back has definitely been seeing my family and friends. It was one of the reasons I came back in the first place. I may or may not be back for good, but right now I’m happy.