October 11, 2011

Catching Up (Part 1)

I was so excited about having a blog and a place to write about Spain, and I have only updated one time since I've been in Spain! Oops. And it's not like I can use being too busy as an excuse.

I wanted to back track and tell you all about my first few days over here. Let's start with the plane ride. First, I always get excited about traveling. I love flying, I love road trips, etc. I just don't mind sitting somewhere and reading a book and some magazines and hanging out with friends or family. To begin with, it is hard to pack for 9 months, and I was trying to only check 2 bags, and both had to be under 50 lbs, so I put everything heavy into my rolling carry-on bag. Great idea, right? Until I had to lift it above my head on the plane to get it to fit into a storage bin. Luckily they put my bag under the plane on the flight from Birmingham to Miami, but on the Miami to Madrid flight I had to deal with it myself. And no one helped me! I guess I'm too used to having Matt around who lifts anything heavy for me. I had to wait for a lot of people to go past me (I didn't want to hold up the line), so everyone in my area is already seated, and I was walking around trying to find a place my bag would fit, and trying to pick it up on my own (I'm pretty sure it was well over 50 lbs). Everyone was just staring at me! Finally one lady suggested I get a flight attendant to help, which I did, and the two of us managed to find a place to put the bag and lifted it into the overhead bin. So I felt pretty awkward (also, it seemed that everyone on the flight was from Spain and spoke Spanish, so in case I didn't stand out enough with the suitcase incident, I am the only one with blonde hair and I don't speak any Spanish). The guy next to me was from Barcelona, and spoke a little English, enough to say hi but that was about it. The plane was 2 seats, 3 seats in the middle, then 2 seats on the other side, and I was in the 2 seats with the guy from Barcelona.

Right after we take off and the seat belt lights go off, the man sitting beside me but across the aisle (in the 3 seats) gets up out of his seat -- and falls down - face to the ground - in the aisle! I noticed him when he got on the plane because he was a really large man, and was acting a little strange, kind of jumpy, but once he sat down he fell asleep immediately - chin to his chest snoring asleep. So he falls down, and on the way down grabs the lady's arm behind him and pulls the arm of her sweater down with him, but it was really weird, he just continued to lie on the ground with his hand in the air still holding the lady's sweater. So all the men around me jump up and gather around him, and the flight attendants come running and everyone is freaking out (of course we are all thinking terrorists). Well in my opinion I think he probably had too much to drink, or the other possibility is maybe he was sick? I am not sure. But the flight attendants got the other 2 people sitting next to him to move, gave him some water and crackers, and he stretched out across all 3 seats and slept the rest of the flight....with his feet across the aisle almost on me and snoring and coughing very loud the whole night. Other than that my flight was really smooth! Haha, quite an incident.

I thought the Madrid airport looked like Ikea - very fresh and modern with clear walls and very clean. Luckily most of the signs were also in English. Customs was a joke! I will be curious to see what customs is like coming back to the US. The lady looked at my passport picture, looked at me, stamped my passport and gave it back to me. She hardly had time to look at my name or where I was from or anything! She didn't ask me any questions or even speak to me. After getting my passport back, I went to get my bags and there were these little carts you could use if you had lots of bags or heavy bags - so I got one. And I couldn't make it go. Everyone around me was using them and mine wouldn't roll! So I tried a few different carts and realized it was me, not my cart, looked at the picture and watched someone else and finally got the brake to let up. That was my first experience feeling like a tourist. I got my bags and waited for a few minutes, just when I was starting to feel nervous about not finding FJ, he showed up. (Matt's practice got changed and he couldn't come to the airport, so FJ, one of his agents, was going to pick me up). We got to the car and drove to Avila, FJ speaks great English and was really nice, so that was great. When we got to Avila we ate breakfast at an "American Restaurant" called Malibu BBQ. I thought it was funny because under the Malibu BBQ sign was the logo of a surfer, but then all over the restaurant there were New York signs, which has nothing to do with Malibu. It made me wonder how many "foreign" restaurants we have in America where we get the country wrong. Anyway, so even though it was an American restaurant, I had Spanish food, because I didn't know what to order so I just got what FJ got, which was churros (kind of like a funnel cake without the sugar - fried bread/flour) dipped in hot milk. But I got chocolate in my milk so it tasted more like hot chocolate. Not too adventurous for my first taste of Spanish food. FJ kept laughing at me though, saying that most Americans get a ham sandwich or something their first meal, and here I was eating churros (I didn't really get why this was funny...).

So then he drove me to the gym and I got to see the rest of Matt's practice! I was really excited to see him so soon, I thought I would have to wait until he was finished with practice. I had this romantic picture in my head of seeing him for the first time in five weeks at the airport, and I would run toward him, and he would pick me up, and I would cry prettily...haha so my first time to see him he was in the middle of practice and smiled at me but couldn't come say hi. Then he ran up in the stands after practice but was really sweaty so we just kind of hugged. haha, so not picturesque but I was so happy to see him! Luckily he had the rest of the day off so we got to see each other a lot and he got to show me around the city.

I think this has been long enough, I'll add a catching up part 2 later. :)

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