I made it to Madrid in one piece, giraffe suitcases and all.
This time Monday, I did not know that I would be embarking on the longest day of my life. It all started on Monday night when I couldn't sleep because of the anticipation. My mom and I left for the airport at 3:15am on Tuesday morning, running on adrenaline and nothing else. While waiting in line for the check-in counter to open, (we were at the airport at 3:45am. The airport does not open until 4:30am) I met another girl who is studying abroad in Seville, Spain. I was struggling to keep control of my brightly colored Vera Bradley duffel bag and my two giant pink giraffe print suitcases, all the while the giant "AMERICAN" sign was flashing above my head. She was carrying a backpack-that's it. We would both be in Spain for 4 months. I suppose that we simply have different packing styles. I checked my baggage, said goodbye to my mother, and ventured off through security.
The first leg of my flight was uneventful. Everyone on the plane seemed to suffer from narcolepsy and fell asleep before the plane was off the ground. Everyone except for me. I sat next to a couple who I can only assume were newly-weds. They were "touchy-feely," to say the least. I landed in Washington, DC with no plans on how I would pass the time during my 6-hour layover. I had snacks, I read my books, I played on my computer. It was a long 6 hours. At hour 4.5, my roommate, Heather, landed in DC. We introduced ourselves to each other and became best friends right away. It helped that she agreed that Subway should be our final American meal. Sandwiches in hand, we boarded the Aer Lingus (Ireland's National Airline) flight to Madrid.
Once again, I sat on the plane bright-eyed and bushy-tailed while all of the people around me slept. We had tiny TVs on the seat back in front of us, which was convenient for those of us who have plane insomnia (self-diagnosed, and not a real condition). I watched 5 movies, all of which were terrible. And the woman who sat next to me was rude. And snored. But the plane ride was once again uneventful.
Once in Spain, I made it through customs unscathed. They didn't even check my visa, which was a pain in the butt to get. But, if I hadn't gotten the visa, then they definitely would have asked to see it. I met up with other ISA Madrid students (5 of us total) and some ISA staff members who dropped us off at our respective host families. The apartment in which Heather and I are living is amazing! The location could not be better (in the oldest part of Madrid, directly above many tapas bars and restaurants) and my host parents seem very nice (they do not speak English, but they are willing to repeat themselves and speak "mas despacio" for me).
Now Heather and I are "napping" until lunch. However, I have the inability to sleep. Hopefully tonight I will sleep well and my jetlag won't slow me down too much. We have orientation tonight at 6pm just around the corner from my apartment. So the adventure begins and I am extremely excited and relieved to finally be here. I'll write again soon.