Let’s start at the beginning. By some miracle, I stuffed only one suitcase full of things for the whole year. Granted, I had to pay $50 for it being overweight, but nonetheless, it was one bag! (when I checked in today with my program, the coordinator asked me if all my luggage made it because she couldn’t believe I only had one suitcase…I was a minority among the women).
So, gigantic suitcase and overstuffed backpack and purse in tow, I arrived at BWI for the first of three flights. I flew to JFK, and made a friend along the journey. Alexis is studying abroad in Madrid and we had lunch together during our layover..and naturally, shared life stories. On my long international flight, I watched a Queen Latifah/Common chick flick (so bad, yet slightly entertaining) and talked to the very nice Spanish couple sitting next to me. They spoke very little English so this is how the conversation went:
Me: Are you from Spain?
Me: De donde eres? (for all you non-Spanish speakers, that means “Where are you from?”)
Them: Alicante. Spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish spanish I had no idea spanish spanish spanish I kept nodding and smiling
Me: Si! En un viaje? (On a trip)
Them: Si! spanish I didn’t understand for about 10 seconds….Canada...more spanish I didn’t understand….Bonita (that means pretty)...more spanish…I continue to nod and smile.
The really glorious part of this story is that I think she thought that I really understood her. I figure…”fake it til you make it,” right? 🙂
Anyway, my last layover was in my least favorite airport, Barajas (in Madrid). I dislike Barajas because it is extremely confusing for all human beings…Spanish speakers and otherwise. The arrows make no sense, and there are just lots of letters and signs but no real direction. For example, if you read a sign that said “Terminal H” and then it had an arrow that pointed down, you would assume that perhaps that meant it was downstairs. Wrong. It means continue straight. Sometimes the arrows are pointing in obviously incorrect places, like inside a perfume store. Sometimes they are diagonal. Sometimes they are squiggly. Can you understand the frustrating nature of this?
Arrows aside, I found my way to my gate by doing what I do best…befriending people who are going my way, assessing their level of competence and following them until I get where I need to be. Works like a charm. After a 6 hour layover, I boarded my final flight (this time I sat next to a French man and his business partner from Switzerland…we talked, but I don’t know enough French, so the conversation was short lived. I think they were going to Sevilla to decorate windows? But I wouldn’t bet my life on it). I have met a bunch of people also teaching, but only one so far in my city. I am excited to get settled, and to rid myself of the woes of Jet lag.
I’ll be here in sunny Sevilla for three weeks before moving to Granada. I have orientation this week, and I am taking a 2 week language immersion class (during which I will stay with a host family).
Adios for now!