Day 2 in Madrid–I’m already faced with navigating the city on my own. The goal? get to Murcia, which is about a 4 hour train ride away.
All I had to do was take a metro to my train, and get on my train to Murcia. Easy enough, right? Yeah, wrong.
It was probably everything BUT easy. The Metro ride was fine, with having a bit of practice with New York Cities subways, it was practically the same (just a hell of a lot cleaner). Although once I got off the Metro and arrived at Atocha, the station where I was meant to board my train, everything went downhill.
At first, head held high, I followed the signs regarding where my train was supposed to board, but after about 10 minutes of walking around the station it hit me… I was completely lost.
“Mierda” I whispered to myself.
I found the first person with a neon yellow vest on and began with “lo siento, mi español es my malo.” he smiled and was warmed by my efforts at spitting out, “can you help me find my train please?” in Spanish. After being pointed in the right direction–which only got me a bit closer to where I needed to be–I then was directed by two workers that were just as lost as me (it seemed) to the customer service area.
I walked up to a lady and smiled, confidently, “Puede usted ayudarme a encontrar mi tren?” . While I knew how to ask, I had no clue what her response was… so again I apologized for the fact that my Spanish was not very good, and asked her to speak more slowly. She somewhat scoffed at me, and retorted “no hablo inglés” and turned away.
Frustrated, I walked away and found another worker who finally could see that I was very much lost and ready to give up. He took me to exactly where I needed to be and, finally, an overwhelming sense of relief came over me.
Safe to say, it’s in my best interest to learn español pronto.
To all of my Spanish teachers over the year: I’m sorry that I did not pay better attention, and you get the last laugh.