To say that the last 48 hours have been exhausting would be a gross under-exaggeration. But here’s essentially how they went:
Monday 2 p.m.: Arrive at Logan International. Alright I’m breathing, very nervous, but OK.
Monday 3:30 p.m.: Seated at the gate. Now I need some food before relegated to a metal tube flying 500 miles per hour over the Atlantic. I guess Sbarro will do.
Monday 4:00 p.m.: How are there no outlets to charge my phone?
Monday 4:03 p.m.: Found an outlet.
Monday 4:50 p.m.: I say goodbye to U.S. soil as I board the Iberia flight to Madrid. The plane is huge and unlike any I’ve ever seen. There are two aisles, yes two whole aisles and each seat back has a touchscreen complete with a headphone jack and a USB port. I instinctively plug my phone in to charge and take up residence in seat 34E.
Monday 5:30 p.m.: We take off on time and I start browsing through the touch screen. 55 movies, I think I can handle that. I choose The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies and hunker down.
Monday 6:30 p.m.: Dinner time already. I get a tray with a container of “beef”, “potatoes”, and green beans (trust me, I know that they were green beans), a slice of cheese, a roll, butter, zucchini(?), and what a later learned was cheesecake. I had a long flight so I just dove in.
Monday 7:00 p.m.: I have “finished” my meal with disgrace in my heart.
Monday 8:00 p.m.: The Hobbit wraps up and I’m brought back to the home screen. It’s pretty early so I scan the selection and decide upon Ex Machina with Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander.
Monday 9:17 p.m.: I have to pee, but I am bound by the chains of the middle seat. My neighbors are asleep or watching something, and I dare not disturb either. “Mind over matter, young one,” Ben Kenobi says to me as he appears in translucent form above my head. I power on.
Monday 10:00 p.m.: Ex Machina has come to an end. It was actually a very good film, relying much more on dialogue and effective camera work than flashy effects, something I appreciated. It’s fine, I already know I’m a snob. Anyway, I see I have about two hours left so I try to get some sleep.
Monday 10:10 p.m.: This is a thin pillow we’ve been given.
Monday 10:34 p.m.: It’s kind of cold in here.
Monday 10:36 p.m.: Oh yeah, I never went to the bathroom.
Monday 10:37 p.m.: Oh right, middle seat.
Monday 11:10 p.m.: The dream of sleep is dead. I’ve resorted to turning on one of the three episodes of Modern Family loaded on to the screen, while I eat the measly breakfast that has been served.
Monday 11:45 p.m.: They have The Middle too.
Tuesday 12:05 a.m.: The TVs shut off as we begin to land. I crane my neck to get a look out the window and see the sun just beginning to shoot rays over the horizon, when I realize I have to force myself to stay awake until the next night.
Tuesday 6:15 a.m. (Yes, we lose six hours): I land in Madrid! As it turns out, the pilot of my flight is retiring after 36 years with Iberia and this was his last flight! As we taxi towards the airport, a firetruck sprays a symbolic arc of water over the plane and the passengers clap and cheer for our valiant leader.
Tuesday 6:30 a.m.: I groggily step off the plane and into the grueling line for customs.
Tuesday 7:25 a.m.: We all make our way to the little train that will bring us to the main airport where we all speed through security to get to our 7:40 boarding time to Barcelona.
(Typing the days is annoying. We’re still on Tuesday, folks)
7:39 a.m.: I finally use the bathroom.
7:40 a.m.: Another middle seat. At least this flight is nice and short.
9:00 a.m.: We touch down in Barcelona and I still haven’t slept. I’m powering through it because the day has only just begun
9:45 a.m.: My luggage finally crawls around the baggage claim belt as I am sprawled out on the the floor the airport.
10:00 a.m.: We meet Arturo, our handler for the trip, and Inma, our coordinator in Barcelona, and they guide us to the bus that will bring us to Plaza Catalunya, the center of Barcelona.
11:00 a.m. We pull into a space and climb out of the bus. I snag my bag and backpack from underneath the bus and join the group as we walked to a Hard Rock Cafe just a few feet away. It is here that myself and Marco, the other student living in my homestay, are swept away by Señora Marisa, our “mother” for the duration. Marisa lives in the center of everything, on Avinguda Portal de l’Ángel, which just so happens to be the closest home to the school and our meeting spot.
12:00 p.m. I unpack all my things, and get myself settled before lunch at 1:30.
1:15 p.m. Having eclipsed 24 hours straight of being awake, I accidentally fall asleep on top of my made bed.
1:45 p.m.: I jolt awake and hurry to the kitchen to apologize for having fallen asleep. Marisa is completely fine with it and quickly hands me a large bowl of pasta with some cheese sauce and some meats sprinkled in. Without hesitation, I inhale the entire bowl.
2:30 p.m.: Finally, a shower.
4:00 p.m.: All the students meet up at the International House, a language school where we will be having our classes. I’m lucky enough to live only about 10 minutes away on foot. At the school Arturo and Inma lead an orientation to give us look into Spanish culture before we are thrown in. I now know not to tip if I really don’t feel like it, and have been thoroughly terrified into believing that everyone on the street just wants to rob me.
6:00 p.m.: We all get nifty phones, and I discover a newfound love of Super Jewel Quest, the only game on these Samsung bad boys.
7:30 p.m.: A short walk around the city. We see markets, shops, and the L’Antic Teatre (picture above).
8:30 p.m.: We arrive at La Lluna, and I am treated to the fanciest meal of my life. Maybe a wee bit too fancy…
9:00 p.m.: I think I ate raw ham in oil?
9:15 p.m.: Leek quiche is very good!
9:30 p.m.: Duck is… interesting! The bird is good, but the carrot purée with pineapples…
10:15 p.m.: No one can complain about brownies.
10:45 p.m.: I’m finally back at my homestay and as exhausted as I am, I can’t fall sleep. On such a busy street, there is always life and with life there is noise.
12:00 a.m.: Upon reaching the 35 hour mark without any more than 30 minutes of sleep, I pass out.
8:00 a.m.: Honey Bunches of Oats is international.
9:00 a.m.: I’m out the door and headed to International House.
9:30 a.m.: We all, minus a few, have to take a test. And not just any test, but a long 80+ question Spanish placement test, complete with an oral exam. Not my definition of fun, but I start plowing through the questions.
11:30 a.m.: We are treated to a lecture on the role of media on the Catalan Independence Movement. For those who don’t know, Catalonia is the region of Spain where Barcelona is where many of it’s residents are fighting to declare independence from Spain. The lecture was extremely interesting, but by the end some of us were fighting to keep our eyes open.
1:00 p.m.: A few of us head to a cafe called Edellman for some lunch. I branch out and decide to try a Spanish omelette, and much to my surprise, that’s a sandwich, and a good one too.
3:00 p.m.: We all meet up again to work on our blogs. Mine will get there eventually.
5:15 p.m.: Inma and another guide take us on a much longer walking tour of the city. We are introduced to Las Ramblas, various churches and tons of other sites. But my tired feet can’t take much more. The city is gorgeous. The bottoms of feet, not so much.
8:00 p.m.: I trudge through the front door and collapse onto my bed.
9:00 p.m.: Dinner time and I’m faced with my worst nightmare, seafood paella. I say nothing of my disdain for all food that comes from the ocean and fill up on the rice and water. Admittedly the rice was very good. But at the end of dinner I decided to tell Marisa of my relationship with the stuff. I brace for the worst, but she is just amazing and so accommodating. She asks what I’d like in the future and we talk for quite a bit. I promise her to make small steps in trying new foods.
9:30 p.m.: Crema Catalan! I’ll certainly try that.
Now: Finishing this daunting task I’ve made for myself of logging the past 48 hours.
Lots of stuff is coming up and I already cannot believe that I am done with day two. I miss home a lot but I can’t wait for all the new things coming my way. ¡Hola Barcelona!