Mi primero dia en España

The jet-lag is real, ya’ll.

When I arrived in Cádiz, the first thing I did (after meeting my host mother and father and sisters – who are wonderful!) was nap. I woke up and took a short walk with my roommate before dinner, since we had some time to kill. Why? Well, because the people here in Spain normally eat dinner at 9:00 or 10:00 PM. Crazy difference, right? The dinner that my host mom prepared for us last night was muy delicioso – it was something called puchero. It was a soup, made from a delicious broth, that had hard-boiled eggs, ham, and rice in it. It was like a breakfast soup. I loved it. I found a similar recipe for this soup right here.

I did get some pretty cool pictures from that first walk, though.

Yeah. This is my home for the next 17 days.

Yesterday, I felt terrible. I was exhausted, irritable, anxious, and jet-lagged. Two minutes in, I already wanted to go home. I want to express to everybody thinking about studying abroad right now that THAT IS A NORMAL FEELING! Not even 24 hours later, that feeling passed, and now I am ecstatic to be here. Power through it, and keep thinking positive thoughts.

Soon enough, you’ll remember why you signed up for this. Once all that jet lag and anxiety passes, you’ll remember that this is the experience of a lifetime!

Flying… Flying… Flying!

So, apparently, Barcelona was a popular destination this last Saturday. The lines at check-in were insane! Surprisingly, I got through security and boarded rather quickly, though.

This was my first time on a plane since I flew to Florida when I was seven years old, and I learned fast that me and flying aren’t friends. Let’s just say that life is tough when you’re 5’10” and the guy in front of you decides to be the only one on the plane that puts his seat alllllll the way back. Nice. No sleep for me!

But after a gruelingly long and semi-painful flight, I finally arrived at my layover in Barcelona.

Fun fact – notice that the signs in the Barcelona El Prat Aeropuerto have three translations? Did you know that people in Barcelona speak a different language? It’s called Catalan – though most of the population in Barcelona can also speak Spanish.

My layover in Barcelona was about three hours, and as if I wasn’t already jet-lagged to the highest degree, my flight to Jerez was delayed. 🙂 Fortunately, when I finally did get on the plane, I finally got some sleep. I opened my eyes just in time to catch some pictures on our way down.

From the tiny Jerez airport, we finally were able to make our way to Cádiz!

And, yes – I did go to sleep as soon as I got to my host family’s house. Necesitaba una siesta!

It’s down to the wire!

In just three more days, I’ll be on an airplane – on my way to Europe!

Today, I’ve spent the last several hours packing. It’s not necessarily the most exciting aspect of travel (those aspects will be coming soon), but it’s equally as important; we all have to do it, right?

I recently learned of a packing tip from a Facebook group that I’m in that has changed the game for me. Instead of folding clothes – roll them up, and stuff them in tight!

I feel like a lot of people probably already know this tip already, but it made packing so much easier for me, so I want to share it anyway – just in case!

This is my suitcase, with all of my clothes packed into it already. Yes, all of them! Plus a fresh bottle of Excedrin (can’t forget that). As you can see, I still have quite a bit of room on top of those rows of clothing for all of the other things I have to squeeze into my suitcase. I’m trying to leave some extra room, so that I can take some new things from Spain home with me, too!

I haven’t even left the United States yet, but I’ve already learned something valuable – research packing tips and start to plan your suitcase and bags BEFORE it’s time to go! The internet has a lot of wisdom to offer, sometimes. Trust me, it will save you lots of space, and probably lots of headaches, in the long run!

Here, you see that my dog wanted to help me pack, but he got distracted by licking his own leg. Thanks, Willy.

Anyway, did you know that UMass Lowell has its own “Health, Safety, & Travel Preparation” page? It has so many helpful tips, from advice on what to do in an emergency, to passport and visa information, to how to stay happy and healthy while abroad! If you’re traveling any time soon, you can check out that page right here.

I’m off – these bags won’t pack themselves! (Wouldn’t it be nice if they did?)