To understand why I haven't been writing as much as I would like to, it is important to understand what a typical day was like for me. For those of you that don't know, I currently live in Spain, and most people's work schedule in this country is broken up in two parts. You go to work in the morning, come back home for lunch, and then head back to work for the other half of the day. This has a nasty side effect of taking up your whole day, and reducing any free time to a minimum. This is what my typical work day would look like:
7:30 AM - Wake up. Breakfast, daily grooming, and getting ready for work.
8:30 AM - Bus commute to work. Roughly half an hour, which I would use to read books and/or comics (though not floppies, as carrying them in my backpack would easily damage them), listen to podcasts, or just check Tweets.
9:00 AM - Work.
1:30 PM - Get out of work for lunch. Again, a commute back home of half an hour.
2:00 PM - Lunch. I'm pretty lucky that my wife usually cooks for me so the food would ready when I got home (She does this because she is home in the morning, not because she is the wife. Last year, when she had to go her school in the morning, I usually started cooking as soon as I got home)
Here I would have around 30 or 40 minutes of free time, give or take. I would use this time to check for important emails or messages, answer them, and check news. And cuddle with my wife. There must always be cuddle time. When I was feeling particularly tired, I also took a power nap (about 20 minutes) which would help me get through the rest of the day.
3:30 PM - Commute back to work.
4:00 PM - Work
7:30 PM - Get out of work for the day. Commute back to home.
8:00 PM - This is the time that I would get home for the day, where you can finally relax and enjoy the rest of your day... which is only 4 or so hours. And this time includes dinner, taking baths, walking the dog, etc. Any writing or comic reading that I would want to get done must either be done in this time period or not be done until the weekend.
12:00 PM - Ideally, this would be the time I'd try to get to sleep that would guarantee me the minimum amount of rest to survive the next day. I often failed spectacularly.
As you can see, the work schedule is absolutely brutal. You leave the house at 7:30 AM and only really finish your work day twelve hours later. Even though it's only eight hours of work a day, the same as (mostly) everyone else, it manages to feel like the whole day. I wasted two hours in commute every day, and while I manage to find ways to utilize them, if my work schedule had been continuous it would have been half of that.
And that's a regular day! If I needed to get something done, like say go to the bank, post office, or comic book store, I would need to take out and extra half an hour from the free time. You see, nothing here is ever open on Sundays, and banks, for example, open only from 8 AM to 2 PM. To say that it's a pain in the ass is an understatement. Back in the United States, I would work from 7 AM to 3 PM, which meant that I had the whole afternoon for myself. Even the typical 9 to 5 job would grant you more freedom. There have been talks of adopting those kind of continuous work hours, but knowing Spain, it probably won't be for years until they finally establish it. As it stands, most of the country works in what is called here "Horario Partido" (divided hours).
Of course, that is all over for me. December 31st, 2010 was my last day at work, and I am currently unemployed. That routine is forever gone (or at least until my next job).
Tomorrow: A trip to the unemployment office!