The Arrival

Trip Start Sep 01, 2013
Trip End Dec 20, 2013

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Flag of Spain  , Madrid,
Sunday, September 1, 2013

After about 24 hours of travel time, I finally arrived in Alcalá De Henares, Spain around 10:30 this morning! Let me start out by saying that everything up to this point has been perfect! No problems with the flights, no problems with navigating the airports or bus stops, and my Spanish family is incredibly nice and hospitable. Let me take you through the day.... 

Yesterday morning, I was dropped off by my parents at the Indianapolis airport. Things got slightly emotional, but for the most part I feel like I should congratulate my mom for being willing to say goodbye for 4 months. I took the group flight over here with about 12 other Butler students, half of whom I knew previously and all of whom I know now! We did have a long layover in Charlotte, NC (5 hours or so). The flight over to Spain left Charlotte at 4:45pm Eastern Time (Sunday) and arrived in Madrid at 7:30am (Monday) - about an 8 hour flight! It was definitely the largest plane I have ever been on! I was seated between one of my buddies from Butler and a girl named Stefania from Madrid who was returning after interning as a nurse this whole summer in Texas. She gave me great advice on how to get around Madrid and what sites to make sure to visit, so that was pretty cool! 

After touchdown in Madrid, we took the 30 minute bus ride to Alcalá De Henares as a group. The bus pulled up to the center square in town where all the families were waiting for us. Names were read off and students were then paired with their families for the next 4 months. My madre (spanish mom) ran up, gave me a big kiss... and then we were off on a mad dash across the city to the apartment. We took a bus and walked several blocks to the home. I'm on the second floor of a mid-rise apartment complex with clothes out drying on the balconies, just like you would expect.

At the apartment I met my madre's son, Alberto. He is a 19 year old engineering student in Madrid. He commutes to school from Alcalá and stays either at this house with his mom or across town with his dad. The parents are divorced. 

The first hour after getting to the apartment was spent unpacking into my very own room! It is all very comfortable. I have my own bed and a large desk to do work on. My Madre popped her head in about every 5 minutes to ask if I needed anything. She is incredibly fast moving and has a ton of energy. She is one of the most caring and kind individuals I have ever met. She understands very much how abroad students usually feel at first and is slowing down much of time time when she speaks to be sure I understand. She has hosted 3 students from the United States before, so it is not a new ordeal for her by any means. 

After I was unpacked, my madre, Alberto, and I all crowded around the small kitchen table to eat a large, filling lunch. It was very good! I will be getting three home-cooked meals a day here, and I am more than happy with the food I have had so far! After lunch (around 2:30 pm) I took a siesta (mid-day rest time). I ended up sleeping for 3 hours, but it was much needed after little sleep on the flight last night. After the nap, I went on a walk with my madre around the city. She took me on the 20 minute route to my school, which I am responsible for getting to tomorrow, and told me to navigate home! The roads here are very windy and random. It is nothing like a grid system, so it was a little more challenging than it may sound. Luckily I had no problem finding the way back home! After getting back, we had dinner (around 9pm is normal dinner time). Now I am just relaxing, catching up on the blog, Facebook, and watching TV with my madre. "The Dome" is premiering here in Spain tonight, so we are watching that. I'm glad it is something I am familiar with... I had actually watched the first part of the season this summer with Dad. The only difference this time around is it is in Spanish! 

Tomorrow I hope to run in the morning and then head to school! We will be having two days of orientation and then the first day of classes start on Thursday! Tomorrow I will be taking a placement exam for some classes and getting tours of both the school and city. All buildings here are incredibly historic and beautiful. I'll post about some of them later when I know more! Expect to hear more soon! I forgot to take many pictures today - I was too focused on experiencing! I'll get some more up soon! 


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