Well early Thursday morning I headed off on my adventure. I was feeling really nervous about flying by myself but I had faith everything would be ok. My family and I headed off to Portland Airport early Thursday morning, my flight was to depart at 545am. We made it to the airport and I said my saddest goodbyes. It will be the biggest obstacle of mine to be away from my family for so long. Once I made it to Dallas Airport I was there for about 5 hours so I sat in the terminal my next flight would leave from. There a lady walked by and I must have caught her attention, she sat next to me and started to talk to me. Her name was Aurora, she too was flying to Spain to visit her daughter. We walked around the airport and waited for our flight. Once it was time to board, I walked into the plane and the plane was big! I’m so glad i had an aisle seat. A nice man sat next to me. His name was Carlos, he had just dropped off his daughter in Canada to study. We too got acquainted on our 9hr flight.
As we were on our way to Spain and about to fly over the Atlantic ocean someone wasn’t feeling well so the unexpected happen and we had an emergency landing in Boston. I started to get really nervous and panic. I wasn’t going to be able to make it to my meeting point with the other group members in Madrid. I had no way of communicating with anyone in Spain to let them know of my flight delay, we weren’t allowed off the plane. So there we sat in the plane, waiting. After getting the passenger off and having to also look and take off their luggage from the plane we were stalled for an hour. Finally we were off! Carlos next to me saw my worried face and told me everything was going to be ok. He would let me borrow his phone once at the airport to let my host mom know about my delay and he would guide me to wherever I needed to go so I would make it to Segovia. I was so relieved and thankful for such a kind man. We arrived in Madrid around 1pm (we were supposed to arrive 10am). We called my host mom and made arrangements so she could pick me up at the bust stop. Carlos helped me get to the metro and there another lady was on her way to the bus station as well. Carlos left me with the lady and her and I were on our way on the metro to the bus station. Her name was Martha and she was on her way to visit family. Once at the bust station Martha helped me get my ticket and left me at my bus stop. I stood there waiting for my bus, at this point I was exhausted. I just wanted to get to my destination and sleep. Long plane flights are no fun!
I finally arrived in Segovia to the bus station and my host mom and her son were waiting for me. As soon as I stepped off the bus I was exposed to the first difference between the U.S and Spain, the way people greet each other. Like I usually do, I was going to shake my host moms sons hand but custom here is to kiss on each cheek, so a bit lost I did just that, he told me that’s how they do it here. Sure enough that is how they do it here, I learned about other differences when I had orientation at school. We made our drive to her apartment and I couldn’t believe I was finally in Segovia, the views were amazing! Once we got to her apartment she fed me some pasta with tomato sauce. She showed me my room and my bathroom and I got all settled in. I fell asleep as soon as I made it into bed.
The next day (Saturday) I had orientation at school. As if anything else could happen the death of my host moms brother arrived. She had to leave to Madrid for the day. She left me with a neighbor and to my surprise her neighbor too had an AHA student! I was thrilled to know another student from my program would be my neighbor.
Some other differences I noticed when I got to Spain was the way their home is set up. All the living spaces have doors, the kitchen has a door and is small and we eat in there. The living room and dining table too have a door (this is known as the salon). As Saturday went by I was informed of many things about the people of Spain. There daily schedule is definitely different. Eating lunch at 2pm sleeping for a siesta after and then not having dinner until 10pm. Then you would think that it’s time for bed but nope the night life begins at 1030pm for all the young adults. Saturday night the group went out for drinks. Another thing about Spain is the amount of bars you can find here.
I’ve started classes and everything has been going good. I’ll post about my first week here soon!