Sitting in my slightly odd smelling Airbnb getting ready to fly to Madrid tomorrow, it’s suddenly struck me that this is happening. This of course referring to me spending 4 months away from the predictable rhythm of classes, club meetings, and Friday nights with my friends to live with a host family, study at a Spanish university and perhaps learn some new enlightening truth about myself, and sip sangria of course (I mean really that’s the main reason I came). I am trying to wrap my head around the reality that this experience that I’ve been running through my head all summer is finally starting.
The last 2 weeks have included countless views, tourist hot-spots, TripAdvisor approved restaurants, many light-hearted jokes about my 5’2” stature, and a sprained ankle thanks to many 12 miles day. I’ve been traveling through Italy and France with three of my friends, and it’s been pretty fantastic. Most nights I find myself brushing my teeth before bed thinking how happy I am that circumstances threw these three friends and I together and we were able to explore a new corner of the world together. Of course there were a few snafus in our immaculate multi-page-Google-spreadsheet-plan. Buses didn’t come, I briefly thought I had gotten a strange infection from Italian mosquitoes when my ankle swelled to the size of an orange (turned out to be a sprain), and then of course there was the night we walked out to the suburbs of Rome in search of an Italian restaurant with no English menu and ended up getting turned away from 4 restaurants before finding some mediocre pizza satisfy our hunger. But we always figured it out, coordinated Osprey packs in tow.
The real event though begins tomorrow when we arrive in Salamanca, fashionably late thanks to Ryanair pulling a fast one on us and changing our flight time. If these past few weeks have taught me anything, it’s that everything will work out and hiccups are just part of the process. Ankles heal and there’s always another bus, plane, or train to get you from Point A to Point B.
My mom likes to say that it wouldn’t be an adventure without a few challenging moments. And I’m trying to internalize this as I embark on these next few months. I’m sure at first I’ll have some issues with my Spanish, putting together a schedule that works for me, and navigating the cultural differences. But I’m confident I’ll figure it out, by myself and with the help of my family at home, my host family in Salamanca, and everyone in the GU Salamanca office.