CIEE ALCALÁ DE HENARES-SPRING 2014- ASHLEY HUBER (UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI-OHIO): MY FIRST 3 DAYS IN ALCALÁ.
Oh mygod. I'm in Spain, y'all. Let me just say that I had some real doubts about doing this, and I was completely terrified (still somewhat true). But this is the adventure of a lifetime! I cannot believe that after all the strenuous preparation, I am finally studying abroad in Alcalá de Henares. So far it's been an amazing experience, and I can't wait to share this with you (whoever you is, that's actually reading this.) So, here's a recap of my first few days:
Day 1/2 (P.S. these are the pretty boring days, so you can totally skip it if you want. I'll only be a little offended).
I packed all of my bags and checked in at the airport (checked luggage weighed in at 49 pounds, which is talent if you ask me), and the super nice airport check-in lady let my parents come all the way to the gate with me, which I totally acted like it wasn't a big deal, because I'm a "big girl," but I was actually soooo excited not to have to sit in an airport by myself. I arrived in Atlanta and made my way to the Delta lounge (oohs and aahs acceptable here) in the wrong terminal. But oh well. I acted like I knew that, because I'm cool enough to be there, and sat in a ridiculously comfortable chair and read my book, and then got a burger and hopped onto my flight to Madrid.
If you have never flown business class, do it. But only if you can afford it. Which I can't. Thanks daddy! I had a seat that completely reclined into a bed. I had a TV with movies straight out of theaters (by the way, The Heat is not funny. I ended up watching Anchorman for the 1249023228943920th time). I had a pillow and blanket and socks. They served me mimosas and a four course meal. It was fantastic. But when we landed, my spoiled moment was over (though my brothers will argue that that moment never ends) and I exited into a BRAND NEW COUNTRY. To me, anyway. This is where the trouble began. I was exhausted and hungry, and I could not find my shuttle to my hotel anywhere. So I used way too many international minutes calling home (where it was 3am) trying to figure it all out. Eventually, I realized how stupid I really am, and found it. I got upgraded into an unnecessarily large room, where I slept. A lot. And my dad found a way for me to watch Netflix, which was fantastic. I took the shuttle to a shopping center, where I ate McDonalds, then sat around watching people. I know, not very "Spanish" of me. Whatever.
I woke up and ate a nutritious breakfast of Chips Ahoy and Powerade, then headed back to the airport to find my group. I met them very quickly, and we bonded instantly. Our resident director, Cristina, is wonderful, and cares so much about us. Also with me was Laura, Diana, Elizabeth, and Ryan. Unfortunately, we couldn't find Ian, who we later learned missed his flight or something, so we headed out without him. Later, we met up with Lindsay, Nancy, Victoria (who lost her luggage :(), and Megan. One person, Jessica, has yet to arrive...
We went to a hotel in Alcala and rested and ate, then rested and ate some more. I'm telling you, I could really get used to this Spanish lifestyle. We had some really good food, and they eat A LOT. My first meal was at a restaurant near the hotel, and included pasta with chorizo, a plate of chicken, beef, sausage, chickpeas, and cabbage, and chocolate ice cream. Delicious. Dinner was a beef steak with salad and french fries and kiwi for dessert. And bread. Lots of bread. The next day was orientation all day, with more food. We had breakfast (coco puffs, two oranges, and a donut, along with some sort of fruit juice) then after three hours of talking about life in Spain, we had some sandwiches, more donuts, and croissants. Three more hours of talking, then lunch. This was pasta with sauce that tasted eerily to similar to spaghetti-o's, fried fish and french fries, which I traded for green beans, and more ice cream.
After lunch, we rested, then visited a shopping center, called El Corte Ingles, which had 5 floors. I bought a hair dryer, which turned out to be unnecessary, because my host mom had one for me. Oops! Speaking of which, here's the really exciting part. I got to see my house! Unfortunately, my host family is currently vacationing in Cuba, so my "aunt" is staying with me until Sunday. But my room is amazing! I have a bed, a desk, a bookshelf, and a private bathroom! Also, I have the entire third floor to myself. It's not extremely large, but it's great to have the privacy. Dinner was tortilla espanola, with salad and bread. We watched a Spanish game show, and then I skyped my parents (sort of) and went to bed.
I got up and had Coco Krispies, and my aunt had left the TV on for me. An American show about catching alligators. 'Murica. I then learned the bus system, kind of, and went to the train station and met up with the group. From there, we headed into Spain, where we got a tour of all the major sites, then after a ton of walking, we ate lunch. This time, I had pasta (again) and a hamburger. For dessert was a pancake. Interesting choice. Towards this time, I started to get a huge migraine, so I decided to go back while everyone else stayed. Being the big girl I am, I took the train back all by myself. But don't worry, it was really safe and all the mugging happens on the metro. So it was all good (mom and dad). Then my aunt met me and took me back to the house. I took a nap, then we had chicken with coconut milk sauce and rice. And more bread! Now I'm probably heading to bed soon again, because Spain is exhausting! Hasta luego!