The following weeks after moving to Madrid had some serious ups and downs. The Spanish course was fantastic, truly fantastic. I had not laughed so hard in along time. Yes it was a Spanish course but it was actually more of a beginners guide to Spain. Almost everything in the Spanish language has a sexual meaning of some kind. Political correctness does not exist. Our teacher took great joy in singling people out (in great humour) and teaching us new expressions: Someone mentioning that they were from North Dakota gave us el culo del mundo (the arse end of the world), and someone talking about their boyfriend meant that we learnt cursi (cheesy) (ok that one was me).
But at the same time I still had no internet or phone at home, I was waiting for insurance on the laptop, it was difficult to work without afore mentioned services and my grandmother was sick. I wasn’t the happiest bunny in town. Not being used to a stressed/unhappy girlfriend, my man also got less communicative on the phone which stressed me even more.
So here’s my first set of tips as for me, communication to the outside world is key: Internet providers
Telefonica – I have a dislike for this company which, for a while, leant towards hatred. This was the old nationalised phone company. Their customer service is terrible. They didn’t respond to two messages I sent via their English language website (www.telefonicainenglish.com), then when we finally got through they told us three times (and yes this was verified by a Spanish speaker) that they would be coming to fit the wifi and then cancelled the order every time with NO notice. Each time (after we called them) there was a different excuse 1. Telefonica can’t work in your building (then why do two of my neighbours have it?), we came and couldn’t connect you (no, I was the only person who lived there and I didn’t see you), 3. ok ok you get the picture and now I’m just whinging . The downside is that as Telefonica own most of the lines, even if you go with another provider, chances are that at some point Telefonica has to get involved which means delays.
ONO – This is the one I signed up to so this is an honest view. I love the customer service with this company. They are great. They have a number for English speakers (902 929 000) and are quick to respond to queries. The downside: despite two visits to my new apartment (I didn’t stay in the granny flat) they haven’t figured out why two computers can’t work on the wifi at the same time with out the odd cut off – slightly frustrating when we are both home but not the end of the world. Any they are one of the cheaper providors (around 40eur/month)
Jazztel – I have a couple of friends who have Jazztel and they are really happy with them. A real plus is that they don’t require a minimum contract. They are also one of the cheapest of the phone companies with regular special offers giving you the first few months for 15-20euros instead of the usual 40euros.
Orange – If you want a one-top shop then this is one of the two options you have. Orange is one of the cheaper mobile networks (they are all relatively expensive) but do offer decent internet/tv/phone deals from around 35/40euros per month. Most people I have spoken to seem happy with this service although as it’s not one of the preferred providers so maybe there are hidden problems that I just know about.
Now, I have saved the top tip for last. Whilst you are getting your wifi/broadband/phone organised – go to the Phone House (with identification including your visa if you need one, and proof of address) and get a dongle (I am not sure if this is an official term or just want my genius IT friend calls them). They are USB sticks that give you internet connection, available immediately and 100% transportable with the laptop. Usually they charge by the overall download in one day (kb/mb) – around 3eur per day is the most you should pay. You can also get this as a monthly service through StudentsPhone. Read our notes on these guys before you sign up though.
And finally I had internet. Welcome back long rambling conversations with friends and family. I had no idea that having internet was SO important but it is, and it’s worth getting it sorted. Now I could breathe a big sigh of relief….