If you’re arriving here you likely didn’t even know that I had a blog, which is because I generally didn’t share my previous blog with much anyone else other than my family. The previous one was much simpler – all I had were my entries and that was it – no travel info, no comments, nada. I had so much more information to share though, so in order to accommodate the content that I am including now, I had to move to a new site. As a result, this new site remains a work in progress. Hopefully this blog can be everything my old one was, though, and more! Contact me with any feedback or ideas! Mil gracias!
I woke up this morning at 7AM, it was dark outside like usual. I got ready and hopped in the elevator to head to my car in the garage. I saw I had a missed call from Jacob, so I rang him up to see what the deal was. He then told me that it was snowing outside at his work in downtown Madrid and that I may not be able to drive to work. Sure enough, when I opened up the garage door of our parking structure I saw that the ramp was just starting to get covered in snow.
And it hasn’t stopped since. It’s been snowing like mad here! Massive snow flakes have been falling all day. I would say that we’ve had at least a foot or more of snow. Jacob is fortunately now home safely – the roads are an absolute mess. See it’s not normal for it to snow like this in Madrid. Sure they might have a light snow once every couple of years, but nothing that sticks to the ground for very long. This, on the other hand, is a Tahoe-style winter wonderland. Being from San Francisco and only seeing snow on the rare occasions that I’ve headed to Tahoe or Seattle makes this extra exciting. I’ve been staring out the windows in complete awe all day long. I sense that the Madrileños feel similarly though….the news is covered with people making snowmen, having snowball fights and just plain enjoying the freakish, but fun weather.
Here you can see some of the pics of the snow from our casa: http://gallery.me.com/erin.ridley/100385
I remember being in a doctor’s office when I was five years old and my doctor telling me that I wouldn’t have to get another shot until I was 15 years old – specifically the infamous tetanus shot. Well, I counted down the years until I turned 15, scared for my impending shot….but then I got smart and just decided not to mention that I needed it altogether. 15 came and went and I managed to avoid that horrendous shot for a total of 22 years! Sure, other shots came and went (wisdom teeth…oh and that small little back surgery I had), but overall I managed to avoid just about any shot (blood tests – who needs ‘em?).
Last Thursday night I was in a holiday decorating frenzy, running in and out of the closet to fetch decorations. And then something terrible happened (OK, not that terrible, but the implications to me were terrible) – I stepped on one of those carpet staple things! It didn’t hurt a bit, but drew the slightest bit of blood. Panic set in immediately. I dialed up the first doctor I could think of and was given the bad news – I should get the shot. At this moment I became a big supporter of the “second opinion” philosophy. I then called up Ben, whose Dad is a doctor, and sure enough he reported pretty much the same thing – that while the chances were slim that I would get tetanus, I would be a fool not to get the long overdue vaccination. Ahhh – I was hoping that there would be some excuse not to!!!!
Very lucky for me, Bob (Ben’s dad) said that he could indeed give me the shot. While the thought of a shot was horrifying, being able to do it in the comfort of someone’s home and with people I love and trust made it seem slightly more digestible. Trust me though, I weighed heavily whether I would rather get a shot or tetanus and the shot won by a very, very slim margin.
Saturday night I headed over to the Scribner house. I loaded up on booze and anxiety pills and was feeling pretty good. Bob told me it was time, and that he was just going to clean my arm…and before I even knew he was going to do it, it was done!!! People – usually I cry and possibly run when I have to get a shot! This time, I did it! No tears! I am mighty proud of myself.
Now I’ve just got to get over the fact that my left arm is twice the size of my right and crazy sore. Oh well – at least I got my shot! Now I am free to step on rusty nails with reckless abandon for the next 10 years!!!
Aside from confronting the biggest of my fears, I’ve actually been having a really great time at home. Seeing my friends and family has been so heart warming. Last weekend I even had the chance to meet up with my new email buddy, Heather. Yes, we met online, but that sounds bad – it wasn’t a 90’s-style chat room encounter, but rather it was via a somewhat professional social network because she was making plans to move to Madrid. She and I have bonded over our shared love of Spain, wine and especially chocolate – need I say more? She currently lives in LA, so Jacob and I met her half way in San Luis Obispo. There we had lunch, visited the beach and even did some wine tasting! It was a lovely day (despite my nervousness about the impending shot). I am hoping she will make it out to Madrid very soon!
I will be here for a few more days…time sure is flying. It sure is good to be home. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!
Wow, the last week has been a bit surreal! This last weekend was my birthday – Jacob wouldn’t let me in on pretty much any of the details regarding what had been planned…and I had a feeling that my pleas for a puppy would go unanswered (and rightfully so). But little did I know what he had in store for me.
On Thursday of last week, Jacobo told me that he would like to meet me at my work for lunch. I headed down all seven floors to meet him outside. When I approached him he seemed really nervous, telling me that he had to show me something, that even though it wasn’t my birthday, bla bla bla (it’s really all a blur)…then he turned my around, and my dear friend Kenny was standing there!!! Oh my gosh, I screamed and cried, and cried some more, all on this busy street in the middle of Madrid. I spent the entire lunch and the rest of the day nearly sick from the shock of the surprise. Apparently Jacobo had been planning it for months, intricately coordinating to have Kenny fly out and blindside me completely! I have never been so pleasantly surprised in my life!
As if that weren’t enough, really! The weekend rolls around and I am expecting nothing special expect for dinner on Saturday night…I did start to suspect something was in the works, but couldn’t quite figure it out. I decided that it must just be a dinner with more people than I expected, and that that would be it. There was something fishy about it all though. We ended up driving by Jacobo’s sister’s house, and somehow we just had to go inside. I was onto them at that point – not really knowing what to expect, but knowing that something was up. We got into the house and his sister gave me a healthy shove into the living room at which time a group of probably 25 people screamed “sorpresa!!!”
Nope, that wasn’t on my radar at all. A dinner with the family and a couple friends, sure, but all of these wonderful, generous people came just to wish me a happy birthday and make me feel at home because they knew it would be my first birthday here and away from the States. Jacobo’s sister, with the help of others, so generously coordinated and hosted the whole thing – his family continues to make me feel like this is my home away from home.
On top of everything else, here I am an ocean away and so many of my friends and family have called and/or sent emails, cards and packages, all making me feel so close even though I am so far away. What could have been a very lonely day was really one of the most special days ever. Oh, and they even threw a parade for me here in Madrid!! Ummm, ok, it wasn’t actually for me, but you know that guy, what’s his name – Christopher Columbus, that’s right, he made his little discovery a few years back and as a result the 12th of October is Spain Day. Lucky ol’ me gets my exact birthday off every year, no matter the day of the week . Not too shabby!
My friend Kenny will be here until this Friday, and then that same day, Jacob and I fly to Rome. I know, my life is way, way too rough, it’s quite ridiculous actually. Jacobo has to work in Rome next week, so we are flying out early to enjoy the city. So, until next week, ciao!!!
The vacation is over my friends – this last week I officially headed back to work. It felt so good though to finally have a real purpose here! It was a very, very long week, but at the same time very gratifying. I’ve definitely found the right place here. I’ve also decided to postpone my return to school for a semester or two so that I can focus on work first.
So, a little about the company. It is a startup with under 20 employees, most of whom are in Bucharest, Romania. In Madrid, it is just myself, the CEO, and one other part time employee. I am managing the marketing end of things, which is proving to be a challenging, but very enjoyable task. Erepublik is a hybrid of many things, but can most closely be described as a massive online social strategy game. I know, it’s a mouthful, so here’s the translation – it is an online social experience in which people from all over the world can reinvent today’s real world countries in an accelerated reality. I may not be the typical player, but I have to say, this game is absolutely fascinating. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about a new occurrence in the game and am not completely blown away by the creativity, passion and innovation of our players. Truly, if you know anyone who likes gaming at all (without the crazy time commitment – the game only takes 15 minutes a day, and is free!), let me know and I will try to get them an invitation to the game – otherwise the game officially launches in the next month (it is currently in Beta). You can visit the site at www.erepublik.com.
The office is in the very best part of Madrid – at least in my opinion. It’s close to the best shops, great restaurants, and even a Starbucks so that I can get my US fix! I actually went to a yummy restaurant in the area earlier this week and found myself admiring the food and how much it reminded me of home. I grabbed their business card and sure enough their cuisine is considered “California Cuisine” – the discovery was the highlight of my week!!! The office itself is on the 7th floor of a charming old building – which also includes a charming old (and I mean really old) elevator that seems to be hanging by dental floss…I’ve been taking the stairs as much as possible.
The commute to work has been exhausting to say the least. I’ve been leaving the house at 7:00 (which is very early here considering we don’t ever go to bed before midnight), driving to the outskirts of Madrid to park, catching the metro, then I switch metro lines halfway, then I arrive near my office and walk a few blocks. It’s tiring. Right now, fortunately, I have Jacob’s car, but soon I won’t. That is why yesterday I went car shopping for a Smart! They are awesome little cars. I just need to figure out the car insurance situation here and then hopefully I will have a new car in the next couple of weeks.
Ok friends and family, that’s all from me for now. Don’t forget to tell your friends about the site if it’s something that will strike their fancy . Hasta luego!