Homeless in Madrid

Our Plan: Stay in a nice, pricelined hotel for 5 days and move into a decent apartment within walking distance of Kyle’s school.

Our Reality: Stay in a nice, pricelined hotel for 5 days, stay with our wonderful friends – Cesar and Karina – for 2 weeks, and move into an amazing apartment within walking distance of Kyle’s school.

All in all we’re happy with our reality despite being VERY ready to be settled in our own place!

Our first few days at NH Sanvy

To start with, let’s just say that apartment hunting in Madrid is a challenge in and of itself, but when you don’t speak Spanish it becomes an entirely new beast! We spent our first two days in Madrid walking the entire city (I believe we walked over 10 miles a day according to our pedometers) checking out apartments for rent or “piso se alquiler.” We had several appointments made through online resources and even started asking doormen to show us apartments where a ‘for rent’ sign was posted. Most of the places we saw were okay, one we really liked but it was a little farther away from IE (Kyle’s school) than we were hoping. We were feeling somewhat discouraged…

On the second evening of hunting, we stopped at one building to ask (as best we could in broken Spanish) about a ‘se alquiler’ sign and the doorman gave us the keys to go up and look at the 10th floor apartment. It was already dark out as we took the tiny elevator up to see what we mind find, hoping that we would stumble upon the perfect home. When we opened the door to the apartment we both looked at each other and started laughing. In front of us we saw the perfect home – the perfect home if we were independently wealthy and a family of 6!!! A lovely chandelier hung from the ceiling, the entire place had gleaming wood floors, high ceilings, crown molding, and large windows opening up to a wrap around terrace and views of the city. Um…amazing, but not exactly our ‘single income, starving student, 1-year in Madrid apartment.’ Further exploration led to a four bedroom, three bathroom apartment unlike anything we had ever seen. Oh what the doorman must have thought handing us the keys…I’m sure he quite enjoyed the thought of our reaction. Needless to say our hunt continued.

The next day we got in touch with an agent who was recommended by some friends we’d met through Facebook from Deleware – it was definitely time to bring in an expert (and someone who spoke Spanish)! We met Loreto – a fabulous mother of 5 from Venezuela who wore converse and must weigh less than 100 pounds – and went to see our first apartment. We loved her from the moment we met her and loved her even more when we fell head over heels for the very first apartment she showed us! I wish I had pictures to share, but the place is gorgeous. High ceilings, big windows, everything white and tan, and incredibly well decorated. It turns out the apartment was featured in a home design magazine! Oh, but did I mention it’s tiny? I suppose we could say ‘cozy’ but really it can’t be more than 350 square feet – the best use of 350 square feet you’ve ever seen though! It’s basically a studio with a seperate bathroom and kitchen and a dividing wall between the bedroom and living area.  There’s a table to seat four, a fold out couch (waiting to be slept on by visitors), two huge closets, and a full sized bed. The full size bed was a definite plus since we’d slept in twin beds pushed together since our arrival and were getting a little tired of waking up falling through the crack in the middle!  Kyle saw the look on Anne’s face, realized it would take only 10 minutes to walk to class, and knew we had found our home on the 4th floor at Diego de Leon, 61.

The only problem was that the owners were still living there and needed time to move out. This is when we became even more grateful to have friends in Madrid. Karina and Cesar welcomed us into their home and told us we could stay as long as we needed. They have been absolutely incredible and made us feel at home. We’ve enjoyed dinners together almost every night and have sat around laughing and solving the problems of the world. We’ve talked about having a weekly dinner night once we move out so we’ll be sure to keep in touch!

We had to steal this cute pic of Cesar & Karina from FB - a sign that we need to take more photos!

The other good thing about not being able to move in right away (besides getting to spend time with Cesar and Karina) is that Kyle’s student loan money was lost in cyberspace and we didn’t have money to make a deposit quickly! We had money in the US but had no way of transferring it internationally and the Spanish bank account we had set up before arriving in Madrid sat empty, rather than holding the student loan money that should have covered our living expenses for the year! Let’s just say we were a little panicked until we realized how slow things move at Kyle’s school and that the money would be deposited by the end of this week. Thank goodness for Anne’s mom who ended up wiring us money (on her birthday none-the-less) so we could make our deposit and sign the contract – making it official. What would we have done without her help?!?!?

We have a home! And we get to move in on November 1st. Pictures coming soon…


One Response to “Homeless in Madrid”

  1. Tisha and Chloe Grant Says:

    We had such fun reading about the beginning of your Madrid adventure! We love you guys and are thinking about you. Can’t wait to see more pictures.

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