Tag Archives: Spain

By Starbucks and Christmas lights

It’s how I finally learned these darn streets (and found my way home last night). I figure it’s finally about time I got a grip on the landscape here.

I’m officially almost 12 hours away from my 36 hour journey home.  It will commence in the morning with a trip to the airport, waiting at the airport, an 8 hour flight to New York, a 22 hour layover in New York (which will include a truly restful night’s sleep on a hard chair somewhere inside JFK airport), a flight to Chicago, another layover, and at last a short flight to Fort Wayne.

I’m ready.

Spain has been uneasily laced with an abundance of challenging frustrations, but at the end of the day, of course it was a great experience.  I think I’m a little too close to the situation to have any kind of an objective perspective though.

Right now, my heart is heavy with home and the ineptitudes of the educational system.  I’m remembering all the lonely nights and times that just weren’t quite everything I had hoped they would be.  But I think I only feel that way because I’m tired and thoroughly burnt out.

But even exhaustion can’t ever take away the magic week where I suddenly understood everything going on around me, what it was like to learn Paris all by myself in the middle of the night, or even what it was like in that taxi ride from the airport in Morocco.

My frame of mind is quickly transitioning to what I’m going to do next summer, where I’m going to live next year, my thesis, how I’m going to pay off school, and who’s going to hire me.  I think there’s something about going forward that will make looking back and recognizing everything I have because of this trip much more obvious.  Actually, I’m sure there is.

And I am truly thankful that I will have this blog as a record to go back and remember exactly what it was like, because, good and bad, it was all a learning experience.

In the coming months, there will be no spontaneous last minute cancelled trips to Ireland or tales of Moroccan orange juice.  So for the time being, the travel commentary has pretty much dried up (along with my bank account), but that doesn’t mean this blog is going anywhere.

I like to think that by writing things down, I’m not merely recanting inane facts from my day, but actually expressing what I’m thinking and learning along the way.  As such, I almost feel that converting the regular everyday to thoughtful text has more value.  A racing mind on a CSS Thursday night is truly magical, and coping with all the crazy stuff that goes down at Wes often takes all the energy I have.  Committing those experiences to text gives a whole new kind of long-term prospective.

All this traveling has convinced me that it in the end, it really is all the same.   As such, living someplace long enough to call it a real home  has got to really mean something.

So stay tuned, because I’m not going anywhere.  I’m just coming home.

ps

wordpress officially stinks because it is not letting me upload the lovely photo I took of my host family last night.


Bookends

It’s a good thing I never ended up booking that trip to Barcelona, because I’ve spent the last two days more or less locked up in the house fighting off sickness.

But, then again, after the last two weeks, maybe slowing down isn’t such a bad idea regardless.

Despite not being able to go out this evening and look at the Christmas lights like I had originally planned, the night turned out rather nicely.

I dug up a few old episodes of Gilmore Girls and started packing, just like I did in my stuffy bedroom four months ago in New York.  Except this time, instead of dreaming of foreign lands and actually being able to speak Spanish, I was just thinking about home.

 

 


¿Estás listo? (Are you ready?)

Too late.

It took us forever to get to out of JFK because of bad weather, which made us miss our connecting flight to Santiatigo de Compastala in Madrid.  I’d compute how many hours it took for me to get here, but I between the time it took to get to New York, the delays, the time difference, and most importantly, how tired I am right now, I doubt I could compute it.  Rest assured, I am so psyched to finally wash my hair.

I can’t even begin to describe what it’s like here, mostly because my my mind is flipping somewhere between really bad Spanish, English, and exhaustion.  I was quite frightened when I could barely understand anyone in the airports, but once we got here the language got a lot easier to understand.  I was actually quite relieved.  Once we got in, we sat through a brief talk and got a schedule before we were broken into small groups to get tours of the city.

That’s where it started getting tough.  I understood maybe 85% of what was said, but I wasn’t able to respond as well as I’d like to have had.  It quickly became clear that my Spanish was the worst in the group, so I would often have to get additional explanations of where we were at and what was going on.  At one point, the guy showing my group around (who doesn’t really speak English) made sure that I was doing okay in English.  I really did very much appreciate the help, but I was also really embarrassed.

On a more comical embarrassing moment, I think a couple people in my group thought I was confused because I had a dazed look on my face and, as I soon realized, my mouth was hanging open a little.  The streets here are like none I’ve ever seen in person before.  I have no idea how many old the Catholic Churches here are, but the university is more than 300 years old and there’s road built by the Roman Empire, so that might give you a reasonable idea.  James, disciple of Jesus, is suppose to be buried at the Cathedral I’m going to visit tomorrow.

So in summary, I love the history, my Spanish…ummmm, and I ate octopus (that still looked like octopus) for dinner.

PS

photos to come soon.  Doing all I can right now!


I love going places,

but I hate being in transit.  I’m sure getting there will be great, but I truly cannot wait for the next 48 hours to be over.

In about an hour, I’ll be leaving Fort Wayne.  My flight will land at LaGuardia around 10pm.  Then, after one bus, two different subways, and one tram, I’ll finally arrive on Roosevelt Island.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to avoid being stranded like I was in Hartford, because I am actually familiar with the route I’ll be taking.  Tonight, I’ll crash at the Getz’s apartment for the night and pick up the bag I (purposely) left at their place in New York.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll take one subway, the airtram, and shuttle bus to get to JFK.  Due to my father’s anxiousness and my own unfamiliarity with the route to the airport, I’ll leave the apartment fairly early, even though my flight doesn’t leave until 6pm.  I will undoubtedly have more than just a few hours to kill once I get there, but that’s okay.

I’ll land in Madrid early Friday morning and take a connecting flight to get to the orientation site outside of the city.

I'll be going here first.


A Few Words

Today was my first day off since the weekend before the first team arrived (the second one is here and the the third arrives tomorrow), and I can’t even remember when that was.  It was nice to get a little extra sleep.  Unfortunately, I had to spend most of the day doing laudry, but it still wasn’t too bad.

On another note, one of my projects stretched out over the whole summer is to formalize the internship program.  In that handbook there will be a list of things to bring to New York.  On that list will be walking shoes.  Someone as smart as my mother might think that’s a no-brainer, but it’s not one that I picked up on.  I’ve worn walking shoes maybe 2 days in the last 2 years, so I didn’t think it was necessary.  But I’ve done enough walking all over the city with teams that walking shoes has become a (painful) necessity.  Hopefully I can take care of that tomorrow.

In addition to finding walking shoes, I hope to finally finish the layout for the General Conference display…and get 2 (more) passport photos for my visa (for Spain. I’m studying abroad in the fall)….and get a money order to get my visa….and makecopies of all my paperwork for my visa….and fill out the paperwork….and get the documents for my visa that is currently en-route from Indiana…. and be paranoid that I’m not going to have everything I need to leave the country and get approved in time….and file my receipts with Jeff so I can pay my bills…and meet team number three.

Full day. But a day that will be good if I attack it with the right attitude.  The visa stuff is stressing me out though.