As in any new city, the metro can be its own unique challenge, especially when you are language handicapped. The town where we live, Puzol, does not have a metro stop. Eventually we will learn the bus system, but one step at a time. It still makes more sense to leave our car when going into Valencia because of parking, crowds, and accessibility. Cars just don't feel like a big part of Spanish life. Even the cities feel relatively traffic free. So, for our first metro ride we drove our mini to Rafabunyol, the nearest metro stop about 10 minutes away from Puzol. There is no parking area at the metro stop, just a hodgepodge of cars on narrow cobblestone streets. There was no problem fining a place to leave our car for the day. Entering the small, unattended, metro station began the days' lesson. There were several card machines in Spanish, which we couldn't decipher. When the metro arrived, we were still trying to buy a ticket. We thought we were successful when we saw some white slips in the machine. We presented them to
the metro conductor and she just shook her head, smiled indulgently, and pointed back to the yellow station. Needless to say, she didn't wait for us. It turns out we were presenting her with someone else's old receipts for their ticket. When we finally figured out the system, we felt very proud as we all sat on our first metro ride. It is a beautiful system, both clean and well used. It is a wonderful way to both see the Valencian countryside and watch the way people interact with each other. Observing the shopping bags people carry, the time of day people ride, and the way kids and parents treat each other is one of the best educational tools to the way of life here. Our confidence in mastering the ticket system was short lived when it came time to disembark. When we approached our metro stop, we stood by the door waiting for the doors to open, but the train slowed then kept on going. We thought that there must be maintenance going on, but it happened again at the next stop. People around us smiled softly to themselves until someone stepped in front of us and opened the metro door. In Spain, you open the door at the stop when you want out. If nobody opens the door, the train keeps going. I'm sure there were many Spaniards at their 3:00 lunch that day telling their families about the American family standing at the metro door like dogs, waiting for someone to let them out. Next time we road the metro, we glided on like locals and opened the door at our stop. It felt like ages ago that we were the struggling Americans making sense of the Spanish metro system.
Sally and her family moved to Spain for a year from July 2017 - July 2018. They lived in a little town called Puzol, which is about 20km north of Valencia. Her kids, Carson and Celia, attended the American School of Valencia, an International School located in Puzol. The goal for the whole family was to experience another way of life, and learn Spanish.