It has almost been a week since my arrival, and I have never been so overwhelmed and happy in my life. Leaving, I was extremely nervous. Long plane rides seemed impossible. I had fears of being placed next to a child that wouldn’t stop crying. It also did not help that I was sick two days before my departure. Despite all this initial anxiety, the flight was easy. With three friends from school, a couple glasses of wine, and The Hunger Games movie, there was nothing more to ask for. The days following our arrival were overwhelming. Scheduled orientations, meeting a lot of new people, navigating a new city, and observing essential travel and safety tips all at once was beyond words. But I realized a lot of things:
1. I applaud anyone who has ever done this experience completely alone. I could not imagine not having at least one person you know on the trip. I have more than 20 people on my trip that I know from school, and at all times so far I have been with someone familiar. Serious kudos to people who are up for the challenge of meeting new people in a new place with a new language.
2. EVERYTHING is a process. Figuring out the metro and walking places is so time consuming. I have seriously spent at least 6 hours a day walking or commuting to a destination.
3. Meals are ALWAYS an even bigger process. Putting aside two hours for every meal is not a question. It happens without trying.
4. Barcelona locals do not sleep. There is no way. Meals and commuting itself take hours. Apparently no one siestas anymore, which I am bummed about. And when they go out..its a full commitment. A commitment to tapas, drinks, discotecas, techno, dancing, taking cabs, and at least 7 hours in your pumps. I thought I was a pro stiletto wearer, but have been proved wrong. Props to the girls who trot around the city all day in heels. Coming home earlier than 5 am is rare.
5. Europe is much more eco-friendly than the US. Everyone uses public transportation, they are cautious with the amount of water they use, and they make people pay for plastic bags at the grocery store to encourage using recyclable bags. Their commitment to sustainability is impressive in comparison to America. And I guess it is a good reason to drink wine. Drink wine save water?
I am honestly the luckiest girl. After seeing the little I have so far this week, I can already tell I am about to have the best semester of my life. I am surrounded by amazing friends, locals, architecture, and environment. I can’t believe a week has already passed. I was so nervous about adjusting and liking the social atmosphere, but it has surpassed every expectation and hopes that I had when I applied. It is the best decision I have made for myself