Oh what a wonderful start to my day.
Today, some other ISEP students and I had to apply for our residency cards since we are staying in Spain longer than 90 days. The entire process was fairly easy with a few minor bumps along the way. The real fun started when we tried to take the 15 minute bus ride back to the city center where we all live.
Okay first, let me make a disclaimer. Being in a foreign country and barely speaking the language can really mess with your common sense sometimes. I mean, you can be so focused on counting out money, or trying to form the correct grammatical structure in your head that you end up forgetting basic rules about whatever situation was stressing you to begin with. It really is very common. With that being said, don’t judge us.
So, after having a little celebration at the bus stop because we FINALLY are done with the extensive government paperwork, we spotted our bus. We failed to notice however that the bus we were boarding was the exact same line as the one we took to get to the foreigner’s office and was heading in the opposite direction of the way we needed to go. So Sabrinah and I boarded the bus, paid for our ticket, walked all the way to the back, and waited for the others to join us. After a few seconds we saw our friends frantically waving to us and saying this wasn’t our bus. They quickly stepped off the bus, and after shooting to our feet and trying to run to the doors, the bus driver hit the gas and took off.
All we could do was wave through the window as we passed our friends standing along the curb.
You think we would get off at the next stop right? Well the next stop was 10 minutes deeper into the outskirts of the city; an area lined with cactus speckled dessert and abandoned-looking factories. Great. Finally we were able to disembark. However, we had no idea where we were. Only that we needed to find a bus line heading south. Luckily, there were a few men at the bus stop who we could ask. They pointed us across the street to another stop so there we went.
I still have no idea where in Murcia we were. The suburbs here are very much like the ones surrounding Chicago; they are their own entities but politically are a part of Murcia. Forty minutes later, after seeing 4 other buses pass by, we then finally figured out that con linea meant these buses connected with the line we needed to be on so hungry, tired, and hot we boarded the next one to pass through, paid for a ticket ( I have no idea what ticket the driver even gave us) and sat down for the ride. However, as we neared the second campus for our university (which is much bigger than my campus and still no where close to the center of the city) Sabrina and I decided it was much safer to get off this bus and to take the tram system instead because the tram runs in a circle and is pretty much idiot proof.
However, we had a close call at the tram station. Sabrina has a pass but I do not because I don’t have classes at this campus. Some students from the Chinese sister school here were having trouble buying tickets and holding up the line but the tram was approaching! Sabrina snatched my euros from my hand and in a few quick motions paid for the ticket but by this point the tram doors were open and everyone was boarding! The alarm that signifies the closing of the tram doors was going off and the machine still hadn’t given me my ticket. Finally, the machine spit out the piece of paper and we ran through the doors with seconds to spare. Holy shit.
Once in our seats we were able to laugh a little bit and catch our breath. The tension in our shoulders loosened up and I was oddly proud of us.The point is we made it. The tram ride was long, another 20 minutes, but we figured out what the heck to do and we eventually got back to the city center. Murcia 0 Foreigners 1.