Waking up at 5am after not being able to call asleep until about 2am because of everything going through my head, was not the most pleasant way to start a 17 hour travel day, but there was no looking back, it was time. When I arrived to the airport I weighed my bag, and it was exactly the 50 pound weight limit you could not surpass. Saying goodbye to my family and friends is never easy, but it means I am about to embark on something new and unknown. While going through security, Tori and I (Tori is my best friend who I will be living with in Madrid for the next three months) noticed that the famous rapper 50 cent was right in front of us because he had, had a show in Kansas City the night before.. One way to start a trip.
We flew from Kansas City to Charolette, North Caroline, which was an easy flight in comparison to the following one from Charolette to Madrid, and had a 6 hour lay over. The lay over was a roller coaster of emotions, after all we were just sitting there with our thoughts of what had to come. Some thoughts were anxious and others were exciting, all I knew was that I was ready to get on the flight and arrive in Madrid so that I would be busy and not have time for any anxious feelings or thoughts. So, after 6 hours of waiting it was time to embark on our 8 hour flight to Madrid. Tori and I both ended up sleeping for almost 5 hours of the flight so it was not nearly as bad as we thought it was going to be.
Then we landed in Madrid.
I would like to add that Tori and I scheduled our flight wrong and we were set to arrive a day earlier than everyone else in and were required to get our own transportation to our host families home. Once we arrived all we had was an address, so we called our host mom, Catalina, in hopes of directions. As we should have expected she spoke little to no English, so she put her 11 year old son, Mateo on the phone who gave us as much information in English as he could. (We ended up giving our address to the information desk for the Metro, which is exactly like a SubWay). There were 4-5 different stops and different trains we had to get on with our 50 pound bags and not an idea in the world of where we were. There was not even enough time to take in the account that we were half way across the world in a completely different country with a completely different culture.
Somehow, we got off on the last stop we were told to, and made it all in one piece with all of our luggage. Now we were in a city with no cell phone service to help us get to our host families house. We walked up and down the streets of Madrid, while taking everything in, still not even aware of where the street signs were. After walking for about 45 minuets we arrive to the apartment building and call Catalina. She did not understand when we were telling her we had arrived and were on the first floor of her building. After talking back and forth, she understood and came rushing down, greeting us with hugs and kisses.
After this long day of little sleep and poor navigation we were ready to put our bags down and take a nap (despite the fact it was 10am in Madrid). But, there was no elevator, and Catalina lives on the 5th floor (6 stories), so we had to carry our 50 pound bags, along with our backpacks, up 6 flights of stairs in a building that was well over 100 years old with very small steps all the way up. Once we made it up, we talked for a short time, and Catalina told us to take a nap and she would wake us up at 3pm.
Once she woke us up, we met her son Mateo, who spoke a lot of English and helped us all communicate with one another. He is a delight to be around when he is not at school. We also met their dog, Tata, which is a white lap dog who is very sweet and cuddly. Catalina prepared us lunch and we all ate together. They went off to the opera while Tori and I began to unpack and then Tori and I called it an early night being able to fall asleep easily, even after the long nap we had taken earlier!
Definitely one way to start a trip, with many more experiences to come!