Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1/7/11- Here We Go!

Who can believe it, my semester abroad is here already. After probably about a year of planning, I’m on my way to the fabulous European country of España. The day started off with me being woken up by a hug from my crying mother. It’s like she didn’t want me to go or something. We had packed my checked bags the night before so all that was lest in the morning were my carry-ons. I quickly took care of stuffing my little pink heart pillow and other odds and ends into my back pack and other carry-on and we were off to a little before 11am to get one last American-style meal, cheeseburger and fries, at a cute little soda shop in Nashville. We finished lunch and headed to the airport.
Flight check-in was easy with no line, but my parents didn’t want to leave my side any earlier than they had to. Since my flight was delayed by a half hour and we had gotten there with two hours before the original time we sat in the waiting area outside of security. At 1pm I figured it was probably about time I went through security just in case the flight arrived earlier. We said our tearful goodbyes (mostly on my mom’s part, couldn’t tell if any were coming from dad because he was wearing his sunglasses inside as usual) and I breezed through security. When I gathered all my things and began walking to the gate, because my dad has me so well trained, I heard him whistle and I turned to see them standing by the exit waving one last good-bye. I continued to the gate waiting for any indication of the schedule for take-off. Finally the airline lady made an announcement about the plane and the delay. She also mentioned that it was a small plane and that nothing bigger than a briefcase would fit. And the anxiety attack began.
My carry-ons consisted of a backpack with another backpack which made it rather bulky and another bag with a full-sized pillow in it which also looked rather large. Listening to the business men and other people around me complain about the restriction, I began to slightly freak out. Considering my already tight connection for the flight in Philadelphia, I did not want to cut it even shorter by having to wait for my bags on the jet way. Thankfully, when I went to board the lady didn’t reach for the yellow tags, meaning I was good to go.
All settled in my seat, I crashed and slept most of the way. When I woke up, I noticed that the guy sitting next to me was reading something in French. He looked like he could be a student so I asked him if he was on his way to study abroad and he answered yes. I guess a little bit of the south has rubbed off on me (or maybe just my mom) because we began to talk and share our “life stories.”
When the plane landed in Philly, the gate we pulled into could not have been farther from where the gate for the flight to Madrid was. The other student (he introduced himself, but in the chaos I forgot it instantly) and I teamed up to not get lost and to find our way to the international terminal. We had to get on a shuttle and then from the drop-off my gate was the farthest one, go figure!
Thankfully, even with the delay out of Nashville, I made it to the gate with about twenty minutes to spare. I was the last of all the Wake Forest students on our flight to get there, but the main point is I got there and am now sitting on the plane with about 2 hours left. Holy Cow!!! I keep saying “this is no different than leaving for college, but now I have friends with me.” This is true, but it is so much more than that. It is a chance for me to grow as a person and an individual, to be fully immersed in a different culture and to hopefully become fluent in the Spanish language. It will be tough, I have no doubt of that, but I’m so excited. The nervous/nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach will subside sometime, but for now I’ll just embrace the jitters and prepare myself for one of the most incredible and rewarding experiences of my life!

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