I guess that the first thing I have to say about this whole experience is that I’m more terrified of the first day of school than I have ever been. Seriously. Exactly one week from the day of my writing this, I will travel the I will embark on a journey that will take me nearly 5000 miles away from home; the furthest I will have ever traveled, to my destination of Alicante, Spain. “Where is that?” many people might ask. And I can admit, I didn’t know where that was until about a year ago, and now I’m about to live there for five months. It’s an old city on the Mediterranean, arid and very diverse. Alicante was initially settled by grecco-romans headed east, and was developed by the Muslim presence until the inquisition. It continues to be a busy port today, especially for ships sailing out to the Atlantic.
I have a long flight to take. First flying into the Netherlands before heading south to Spain. The idea of having to pack for a 5 month stay is daunting, but I’m definitely bringing my summer clothes. It never goes below 60 there from what I understand. I guess its like Arizona… bout more Spanish? So I guess Nor’Easters and black ice wont be on my Christmas list this year. I’m definitely taking advice about sunscreen from the OIP’s preparation seminar back in May. It seems like that might be a good idea to have that when every day is nearly a summer day. I always got a kick out of Floridians who were foolish (or unfortunate) enough to visit New England during the winter, freezing in the toasty 38 degree weather; weather I’d consider to be jacket-optional. I think some role-reversal might be good for my perspective: Ill be hot all the time while they bask in the sun.
I’m most excited to be in an immersive environment whilst abroad. It’ll be a good chance to polish my Spanish skills. Maybe I’ll try my hand at Catelean, a local dialect of Spanish widely considered another language. Though it might be difficult seeing that it is much more used throughout Castilla de Leon, the northern portion of Spain. I’d also like to try an authentic paella. My Italian mother always tries to make them, and don’t get me wrong, she’s an outstanding cook, but I don’t think fish stew is her forte. It’ll be interesting to take all of my schooling in Spanish, rather than just the Spanish classes I take back in the States. It’s a very different culture as well, much more tolerant from what I understand, especially with Spanish schedules. Its’s not uncommon for them to sleep in till 10, and eat breakfast at noon, only to stay out until 2-4 AM to repeat the process. I’m a fairly late riser, but paired with jet-lag I feel that I might be in for some pseudo-insomnia.
I still have a few more hoops to jump through here though. I still have to finish out my last workweek, as this semester will be my first semester without a 30 hour per week job. After I finish that I owe it to my family and friends to visit them as often as I can in the next seven days. I’m going to have to wish some early birthdays, including my own, and Merry Christmases for any that I might miss, which might be tough. I should also probably clean my room, and dust off my school things, taking only what is necessary. I’m making sure not to forget any of my documents such as passports, visas, insurance, ID’s and facsimile. I’m not leaving my house until I know that I won’t have to turn around. One suitcase, one backpack.
I’m taking this trip seriously. I’ve worked hard to get to this point. There is no time for cold feet when your on the starting line; you just have to think about the race. And I’m going to shoot out of that gate. I am going into this, scared but willing to try everything, lost but seeking. I know that by the end of this I will have gained invaluable experience from it all.