Sunday, January 22, 2012

Arrival and Initial Impressions

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been pretty worthless at the whole blog thing so far. Upon leaving the states I had great visions of writing during my hours of free time, a select few wisely-chosen excerpts making their way from my detailed journal—probably aged brown leather with pages singed long ago by an open flame—into my blog for everyone to gawk at or, more accurately, not read. In actuality, I have spent the majority of my free time sitting outside of touristy pubs with friends new and old, and I feel my English slipping with each day that I try to master a different language. However, I will try to recount my travels up to this point with what few words I have left.

I flew out of the Columbia airport 2 weeks ago after saying goodbye to the family and a few loyal friends (big shout out here to William Jeter, James England, Meredith Johnson, Perrin Tribble, and their driver, Skylar Jones). It was a very emotional time, and I didn’t get 10 meters away from them before tragedy first struck. My brand new bottle of anti-frizz cream was not within the permissible liquid limit for the aircraft. I ask if I can dump half of it out so that it is within the limit. He says no. I feel like I will never be happy again.

Things are going smoothly even though it’s my first time flying alone. I faced only a minor setback on my flight from Atlanta to Madrid, discovering that the man to my right has muscle spasms when he sleeps, which caused him to sharply elbow me in the ribs several times before touch down. After the 3rd time – which woke me up from my very important jet-lag-prevention sleep— I briefly thought about pressing charges, but realized I was drawing a blank on the Spanish for “affidavit.”

I arrived in Madrid and eventually figured out that I needed to take a bus to a different terminal for my flight to Sevilla. Having to navigate the terminal and find the right bus was the first time that I really felt the severity of the language barrier, and it appeared that freak-out mode was on its way. I hopped on a bus with all of my luggage, praying that it was the right one, and as we drove across town –no doubt on the way to a sweat shop or slaughterhouse— I heard the faint whisper of “We Found Love” coming through the bus speakers. It was at this moment that I knew things would be okay, and I thanked God for all things that, like this Barbadian angel crooning on the radio, are universal. The cuteness of baby animals, McDonald’s, and the hand signal for choke, for example.   

At the Madrid airport, I ran into both Rebecca and David, the other two PC students studying at UPO. We made plans to meet in the city the following afternoon, and David and I ended up having the same flight to Sevilla. He and I parted ways outside of the Sevilla airport, and I took a cab to my apartment where I was buzzed in by my host mom, Guillermina. I quickly learned that she spoke zero English. I asked her to speak slowly –and sometimes still do— but the woman talks as if she’s going to die in the next minute and is trying to get out all of her final thoughts. It’s nearly impossible. She’s lovely, though, and my Australian roommate and I have given her the tender name of “Gwilly” to use behind her back. My roommate’s name is Alicia and she doesn’t speak any Spanish (hence the accidental reading of Guillermina as ‘Gwillermina’ instead of Gee Yair ‘Mee Nah). We get along great so far. Yesterday, she was talking about playing in a touch football (very similar to rugby) tournament and said it was called a “touch carnival.” I thought this was pretty hysterical and have found myself wondering what exactly a “touch carnival” would look like in the states. The image of Neverland Ranch comes pretty close.Too soon?

I’m finished with my intensive language class and think I’m going to try to audit Intermediate Spanish II this semester, which is taught by the same woman who instructed my intensive course. She’s very fun and energetic. Thursday, we did an exercise where we had index cards with different activities written on them, and you were supposed to ask someone in the class when it was that they last did that particular activity. My word was enamorarse, which means to fall in love. Awkward, right? I decided I would ask our professor the question, seeing as how she is married. Wrong choice. She proceeded to answer saying that she’s been married for 18 years but that the last time she fell in love was with one of her students 3 years ago, and that the people of my class were now the only people on this Earth to know about it. Um….AWKWARD?!  #wheninspain #doitellthehusband? #cantgetoverit

Anyways, I will try and get better about blogging. In short, life is good, I love it here, I miss everyone, and I’m spending money like it’s my job. *Sigh*


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