Monday, December 3, 2012

Tootsie Rolls

Let me start with my very first adventure in this new chapter in my life by telling you a little bit about my flight over the sea. We sit on the runway for an extra 45 minutes after we were supposed to leave. I would be fine one second then have anxiety creeping in the next second... it was awful but okay at the same time (hard to explain). The old guy next to me is not from the states and I can't understand much of what he is saying but his significant other was busy chatting away to the lady next to her so of course what does he do? Start talking to me about multiple different things-- one of which the only that I could understand was about the Cardinals after I told him I was from STL.  I already have a headache at this point from the overwhelming scent of cigarettes coming from his breath. Well.. after I snuck and stayed on my phone texting my mom "I love you! I miss you already! I love you! I will call you when I make it to my flat! I love you! I miss you! Love you!" for an extra 20 minutes... I decided to turn it off (by 'turn it off' I mean turning the data off.. aka no more texting whenever I want.. wifi needed at all times) and the plane finally started moving. Yay!! Or. Not. All I could smell was exhaust.  The other man to my right is covering his face and nose with a blanket and my non speaking English friend to my left muttered out something about "this not being right" what do I do? Panic. Obviously. "What do you mean sir, does it not usually smell like this?" "No it is NEVER This strong" Greaaaaaat. There go the racing death thoughts through my head. After mentally loosing it for a few minutes I pulled it together and next thing I knew we were off the ground. This is by far the absolute BIGGEST plane I have ever been on. So big.. they call it the "air bus". Shortly after takeoff.. I get giddy and excited that I am FINALLY on my way (literally!) to chasing a dream I have had for several years. I'm going abroad!  The first few minutes of the flight I try pulling out a book to read and realize I read the same paragraph 4 times. Can. Not. Focus. I guess traveling 3000+ miles away from your friends and family and everyone you know will do that to you??  A lady comes over the intercom talking about the meals and mentions there are complimentary beer and wine throughout the duration of the flight.  Nice to know because I had already planned on getting one glass of wine to (hopefully) put me to sleep.  Turns out one glass of wine later and dinner is in my face. Not appetizing.  I went with the "hot chicken" meal and took literally 2 bites and was done. But wait. Let me rewind. After the first round of drinks were served and before dinner, my non speaking English friend whips out a ginormous bag of tootsie rolls and generously offers me one. Who can deny a tootsie roll?? Not this girl. He proceeds to just set them on my tray table for the next two hours and of course I can't say stop or "no I don't want anymore" at this point so that may have a small factor in why my dinner tasted not so good. Massive tootsie roll intake. Either way my friend to my left is going to be forever remembered as the tootsie roll man. After that.. I emailed a few people, listened to music on my iPad, organized all my apps on my iPad, and watched a documentary on Mark Zuckerberg.  After about 4 hours into the plane ride I fell fast alseep and woke up about 20 minutes prior to landing.  It honestly went by WAY faster than I had anticipated.    

"Welcome to Barcelona ladies and gentlemen! The current time is 8:30 am and the current temperature is 15 degrees."

I really can not explain my thoughts at this moment in time. They went a little bit like this.. I was in a completely new country.  I was in a completely new city.  I was alone. I knew NO ONE in the city I had just landed in.  I was 15 hours (flying time) away from my family.  They do not speak the same language as me.  Not only that, but many of the people here only speak Catalan, not even Spanish.  Maybe I should have studied Catalan a little bit before I came.  Did I remember everything?  I can't turn on my phone and text my mom "I made it!!!" like i do every other time I am ever on a flight and I land safely.  Would they have wifi at the airport?  Will the lady 'Mette' who I had arranged to pick me up from the airport be there waiting for me?  My flight was delayed.. what if she leaves because she has to pick someone else up?  What if she wasn't there?  How will I get ahold of her?  What will I do?  What is my flat going to be like? What if my bags didn't make it?  Oh my gosh, what will I do if my bags got lost. What time is it in Belleville?  Will anyone be able to understand me?  etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. 

As I said, I can not really put into words the MASSIVE amount of thoughts racing through my mind at this point.  However, instead of freaking out, being scared and panicking (which I DEFINITELY could have done if I would have allowed myself at this point) I took it one step at a time. Literally.  

After walking for what seemed like miles... I got to baggage claim and much to my surprise.. my bags were the first 2 off the belt.  Sweet. Now on to meet 'Mette' who will be holding a sign that says 'Lime Living'.  

Here are where things got a little messy... After getting my bags, I walk around the baggage belt seeing a few different people with signs.. none that say Lime Living. (Panic sets in). I walk around (sweating at this point from dragging two oversized bags with me) looking and still no Lime Living sign.  I begin to panic a little more and small thoughts such as what am I doing here, I'm getting on the next flight back to the states, why did I think this would be a good idea. I want my mom. creep into my head.  I sit down to try and get wifi to see if I can e-mail her.  No wifi available.  I know she said she will be waiting at baggage claim.  Check signs.. "Baggage claim here". What on earth. Where is she?  Maybe I will walk around some more.  Still.. no Lime Living sign to be seen.  (Could possibly cry at this point, but trying to hold it together for my own well being).  I will open up her email and reread it to get her number and try and call her from someone's phone. Will someone else let me use their phone?  They won't try to "take me" will they?  Why did I ever have to watch the movie Taken. Open up the e-mail.. Reading the email.. a lightbulb switches on in my head that could have possibly been the biggest and brightest lightbulb that has switched on EVER... "I will be waiting for you outside baggage claim".

Blonde moment, jet-lagged Jamie thought, panicked 'I just got to a new country by myself, I don't know what I'm doing' silly mistake... whatever you want to call it... scared the crap out of me.. buuuuuuut after all was said and done (and read correctly).. I walked about 200 more feet from where I was standing and there I found lovely, Mette and the glorious, amazing, light at the end of a fuzzy, scary, panicked tunnel... Lime Living sign.  

Barcelona.. I am ready for you and all that you have to offer.  :)

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