|Finally, I am on my last plane ride towards Madrid! It has been a rough 20 hours. When I got to the Dulles airport in DC, I learned that my flight to Madrid had been mysteriously cancelled. So, I had to fly to Brussels, Belgium, and then to Madrid. Luckily, I had met two friends, Lisa and Josiah, in Detroit who were taking the same flights.
While we were in DC, we met another ISA student, Greta. All three students are awesome! I’m happy to have made friends with such great people.
I slept for most of the flight on the plane ride to Brussels. In the morning, as the plane flew over the city before landing, Brussels looked rather quaint. Stretches of farming surrounded closely-knit groups of homes. As we landed, it hit me that I was in Europe for the first time. I had successfully crossed the Big Pond. What would it be like inside the airport? Would it be drastically different? Would I get lost and not be able to find help?
But, as soon as I stepped off the walkway from the plane, I knew I had nothing to worry about. It was much less intimidating as I thought it’d be. Everyone could speak English, and majority of signs were in English, too. The airport was clean, modern, and good-looking and there were tons of designer stores.
The terminals were so modern that it felt futuristic. Trashcans came in groups of four: waste, paper, plastic, and cigarette ashes. Large metal arches swooped over the roll cake shaped terminal. The arches were constructed like the tracks on the Millennium Force at Cedar Point. When I bought a bottle of water, I noticed the beverages were a bit smaller than my American eyes are used to.
All the women – and men! – were dressed to impress. I was wearing yoga pants. I so badly wanted to change into my most trendy outfit that I had packed in my suitcase. But, as I observed the people more closely, I saw things that I would have seen in any airport in the U.S.: a couple swinging their locked hands as they walked; a group of young girls laughing and gossiping; and a mother holding her baby’s hands above its head as he practiced walking.
At our gate I finally heard some beautiful español spoken by natives. The airline for the flight is called Iberia, which is the name of the peninsula of Spain and Portugal. The flight attendants speak in Spanish and all the signs on the plane are written in Spanish. Lisa and I looked at the food menu and I saw many jamón serrano dishes (literally means attractive ham). I hope my host mother makes some!
I am feeling very anxious and we prepare to take off for Madrid. I can’t wait to step foot in Spain, practice Spanish with the taxi driver, and look out the bus window as I travel from Madrid to Granada.