Hola otra vez!
Well I know its been a while since my last post, but as I am spending the next year studying in Spain I figured I would keep people updated on my latest adventures!
So far this experience has been the complete opposite of going to Costa Rica. Then, I had little regard for what I was leaving behind and was terrified of arriving/living in a foreign country, but this time I wasn’t really nervous about any of that, yet more apprehensive to leave for such a long period of time. I have to say though, this summer was amazing in that I got to see much of my extended family across the country and was able to spend quality time with those I love; the awareness of my departure encouraged me, as well as my friends and family, to take full advantage of our time this summer, so when the time came to leave I was pretty much ready to go (sounds Existential right?).
Anyway, one of the things I like most about traveling is well, traveling. I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved airports and flying is probably one of my favorite things to do. I especially like traveling alone because it gives me more of a chance to connect with the other people flying solo. For instance, I met this really nice man at Lambert then he ended up being in the seat next to me! We didn’t really talk too much though, because I was asleep before we were even all the way in the air. There was a slight hiccup because I only had about an hour layover in Dallas, and our flight from St. Louis ended up being delayed by almost an hour. When we landed, he helped me push through the crowd to try to get to my terminal. I guess they were holding the plane for me because when I got to my gate they knew my name and the plane took off shortly after I was seated. It was a little stressful, but all’s well that end’s well.
I had never been on a 10 hour flight before, but I was really excited about flying at night. It was just about as awesome as I had anticipated. Seeing the sun set and rise was cool, but it was nothing compared to seeing the stars! I didn’t even really feel that cramped, in fact it was sort of cozy. Oh and the dinner we were served was actually pretty good; the breakfast was just alright. On this flight I was sitting next to a young man named Veru (I’m sure that’s not how its spelt, but it rhymed with Peru). We had some things in common and overall talking to him was very interesting. It was also very reassuring. Although he currently lives in Reno, he’s originally from India. He spoke English very well and didn’t even have that thick of accent, but I guess he was also kind of a low-talker so I pretty much had to ask him to repeat just about everything he said. It was reassuring because I would consider myself to be fluent in English, yet it demonstrated to me that sometimes other factors influence comprehension. With that in mind, I was prepared to communicate poorly with the people in Spain for at least a couple of days.
My plane got in right at 8 am and everything in airport went well. I have to say, Spanish customs are by far the easiest I’ve experienced; we didn’t even had to fill out that little piece of paper on the plane! Although I hadn’t been sure what to expect, I did get just a bit nervous when there was no one there from my university to receive me. Then I stopped to check my email. Apparently there had been a miscommunication; the university had told my host mom that I would arrive on Sunday. I am therefor extremely fortunate that my friend Bomi convinced me the day before to send her an email just to give her a heads up that I was coming. She was a bit confused but told me she would be waiting for me nonetheless. It was a little scary leaving the airport and venturing into the great wide open, but it was a very easy trip. The taxi ended up costing about $20 less than I had anticipated, and we actually communicated effectively. The traffic here is definitely much lighter than it is Central America and the ride was quite smooth. There was a door man waiting outside the apartment expecting me, and I was also very pleasantly surprised to see that the building has an elevator, as we are on the sixth floor and I had a year’s worth of luggage.
My host mom, Beatriz, greeted me very graciously, especially considering I was there two days before she expected me. She didn’t seem to mind too much though. She lives by herself in an apartment so now its just the two of us. She seems very nice and to my great surprise, I can understand about 97% of what she says! So far she’s been responding accordingly to me as well, so at least that’s not as hard as I thought it would be. She took me for a walk around the neighborhood and showed me how to get to the school, which is only about 20 minutes away. We then went the supermarket, and she showed me a couple of other useful places.Overall it seems like a great area.
Its truly surreal that I’m actually here. My first impressions of what I’ve seen of the city so far are that the streets are very clean, and for a big city they seem rather calm. Besides the fact that everything is in Spanish, it all just seems sort of normal. It was pretty hot today, but not too bad. I was surprised when Beatriz just told me that its 89 degrees in the apartment because there’s really no humidity so it feels cooler. I tried to do my best to stay awake today, but pretty much every time I sat down I couldn’t keep my eyes open. It’s about 11 here now though, and I don’t think I should have too much trouble falling asleep so hopefully jet lag won’t be that bad. We’re going to see some sights tomorrow so I’ll be sure to take pictures and post again soon!
Hasta la proxima!