Today it's been almost a week since I left the United States for my semester in Spain. Even now, it still feels like a dream. On Tuesday, when I was sitting in the airport for eight hours, I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that I was about to leave for five months in a completely new country. In fact, I was utterly convinced that somehow I would never arrive in Spain—the plane would break down or I would injure myself somehow. However, I managed to avoid my silly premonition and arrive in Barcelona without a problem.
Flying solo is scary, especially when you know that you have no way to contact anyone if you're lost. For this reason, the moment I saw the rest of my group in the airport, I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I muttered a flustered “Hola,” completely forgetting every other Spanish word I knew. “Jeez,” I thought to myself. “You’re in Spain for five months and the only word you can remember is hola? Yikes.” Luckily, slowly but surely my Spanish began to come back to me. Soon enough I could have broken Spanglish conversations, which was probably the best I could hope for at that moment.
We left the airport at 1 p.m., jet lagged and bleary-eyed from our sleepless nights on the plane. Our tour guide, Enrique, was a very friendly and gregarious man who had an infectious laugh and a broad smile. He helped us feel at ease in the midst of all the new changes surrounding us. We took a bus to the main city and my heart did a flip. I. Am. In. Spain.
Suddenly, it was real. It was scary, exciting, breath taking and lonely all at the same time. As we drove around the city, the buildings looked completely different from buildings in the United States, older and more beautiful. I knew with certainty that this experience would be a life changing one. Barcelona, here I come!