With months of planning behind me, I packed my bags and headed to the airport. I had to remove quite a few items from my suitcase before I could actually get onto the plane, but hey, a girl never knows what she might need in Spain. I took a total of three flights. The first was a relatively short one from Tallahassee to Miami. The second flight was the real test of a nervous flyer’s patience – Miami to Madrid. That flight was nine hours alone, and I was very uncomfortable for much of it. Each bump had me gripping my armrest as if it could do something to save me. Although, a huge plus, this flight had pretty rad tv/movie selections.
Lastly, Madrid to Valencia. Although a very short flight, we sat on a small plane with a pilot who seemed to enjoy torturing us. I remember looking around and seeing several others who seemed moments from fainting. Quite bumpy. I was never so glad for a plane to touch down as I was that day.
Once at the Valencia airport, I really began to notice other students in my program. They were easy to pick out. The others were just as painfully American. I made small talk with a few here and there. I gathered names and faces as we made our way. A group of the study abroad employees greeted us at our gate and drove us to our housing. The excitement was palpable. Here we all were – in a foreign country. The majority of us knew nothing about Spanish culture and spoke little of the language. Even those whom studied Spanish in school for years (such as myself) could hardly grasp the language. The Spanish language in Spain is overwhelmingly different than the type we learned in school.
This was an entirely new environment and I loved it. I was happy that I didn’t know anybody or anything. This was fresh. This was my home for the next six weeks.