Hola! My name is Chatham and I am 17 years old and from Auburn, Alabama. I left Monday, September 7 for Madrid, Spain to study abroad. Taking off on that flight was quite overwhelming since I knew I would be gone for four months! After arriving in New York, I had to get off of the plane and find the international terminal. After a few laps around the Delta terminal, I finally found the exit and had to catch the AirTrain to Terminal 7 (Iberia).
The security line was super long and since I way overpacked, my backpack was killing my back! After security I met up with all my new friends who were all traveling with me to Spain. We had about three hours to spare in the airport and got to know each other pretty well! After 8 long hours of flying, we made it to Madrid at 1:30 am central time. We were all exhausted.
As soon as we walked out of baggage claim, a member of our study abroad organization was standing there with a sign with all of our names on it. We rode in a super nice Mercedes to Hotel Miau (pronounced MEOW) and it was such a pretty drive.
After dropping off our bags we toured around Madrid and ate some native Spanish food. None of us were sure what the menu said exactly so we just took turns ordering random things. I ended up with some gross kind of beans but the desert at the end made up for it.
After lunch we took a siesta and we all agreed that it turned around our moods for the rest of the day! Dinner was at the most beautiful outdoor restaurant under the cutest lights ever- definitely my favorite meal so far. We tried different foods and then all ordered ice cream. It was delicious!
This morning we woke up and had breakfast at 9:30. The most exiting moment of my trip thus far happened at breakfast- there were cocoa krispies! So exciting! I was in desperate need of American food. After breakfast we toured the Palace of Madrid and then ate paella for lunch.
Paella is rice cooked in broth with vegetables and chicken. It was amazing. After lunch we took our siesta at a local park- the weather was perfect and all the scenery was beautiful. I can already tell that the way of life here is much more laid back than America. Our leaders told us to remember that if you plan to meet someone at 9, that actually means 9:30! The Spanish do not have a sense of time. Another thing that is different than the United States is that when walking down the street, people push you and say “move!” They are not trying to be rude and they really do not even think they are being rude- that is normal to them. Instead of asking politely for something at a restaurant, you say “I want..” Very different from America!
These two days in Madrid have been very fun but exhausting. Tomorrow we have an orientation and then load up the bus to be taken to our host families. We are all taken to bus stops where our families will be waiting on us. I am very excited and very nervous. I have been in contact with my host family for three months so tomorrow is a big day! Adios!