Well the journey here is finally over, and thank god.
(5/19) I met some really awesome people I’ll be hanging out with this summer in the airport, and then we embarked on our 8 hour plane ride overnight to Madrid. Me, not thinking, forgot to take sleep medicine so i was wide awake the entire time, causing me to get a migraine. With the great amount of turbulence, bumping landing, and less than average airport food (yes, i even tried just eating the vegetarian food, no it didn’t work well), as we were landing and stopping the plane, I sprinted to the bathroom to nevertheless, get sick. Between being the middle seat between two people who thought I was the perfect shoulder rest (they were nice so I didn’t want to wake them), and the lasting headache I’ve had since, lets just say I’m glad the traveling part to Madrid is over.
(5/20) Finally, we got off that horrid plane and I met up with more people, and eventually we found our trip leaders. While waiting on a charter bus outside the airport, I realized that this trip was going to be quite the experience. These people were about to be apart of a life changing month where I would submerge myself in a part of the world I’ve never been apart of, and they would be there for all the adventures and difficulties as well. I think they’ll be some cool friendships out of this.
The bus took us to the University we will be studying at (Estudio Sampere) where we finally united with the later flights ( I found my roomie finally, looking at you Carson). Carson and I finally met our host family, Manuela & Antonio, who drove us to their apartment.
As we drove through Madrid, I realized a few things. 1) It’s like, insanely beautiful (especially el parque retiro). 2) It’s very old (like most of Europe) and 3) It’s hugely populated (like any major capital city) . We got to their little apartment in the Lavapies neighborhood and were greeted by an angry Chihuahua, Sasa (it’s my goal for that dog to love me this month). We got our room, explored the apartment, and settled in. We napped for far too long, but the time change is killer.
I’ve been shocked by a few things in the few hours I’ve been here. 1, our host family is only speaking in Spanish to us. So if I had any doubt about using my Spanish here besides class, thats gone. A lot of Madrileños apparently do not speak English, which I find surprising but refreshing. 2, Spaniards live in much smaller spaces, with less air conditioning, less hot water, and their meal times are much different. It’s crazy how much we Americans take space for granted, as we live such large lifestyles.
After our first nap, Manuela made us a lunch with papas fritas (french fries), calabasasas (some sort of pumpkin thing?), jamón (ham), and enslada (salad). My empty stomach was very grateful.
Currently, I’m sitting in the living room of this apartment listening to the sounds of a spanish soap opera, and the hustle and bustle outside. I’m exhausted, finally getting hungry, and anxious about the next month of my life. This is going to be a culture shock, but I’m so incredibly excited to see the changes in myself (and my Spanish) when I return to the US next month. (29 days?) I cannot wait to wake up tomorrow, rested and feeling somewhat human again, ready to take our first placement test and walk around the beautiful city that is Madrid. For now, I’m excited for dinner and sleep. Adios everyone!
welcome to our crib!!