All things go!

These past 9-10 hours of flying have definitely been an adventure. I've essentially been traveling non-stop since I left the airport around 11:30 am Friday afternoon. With a 2:30pm flight scheduled and the first snow of the SEASON upon us (in the Chicagoland area), I had to give myself adequate time to make my flight. Unfortunately for me, when I booked my flight I was not getting advised by a booking agent or anything of the sort so I chose what seemed like the best option for me -- the cheapest.

This meant that I would fly from Chicago to NY. From NY to Madrid, followed by a quick flight from Madrid to Granada. It sounds simple but I made it a little more complicated than I would have liked (had I known better), and there were also some other matters along the way to make things a little more frustrating. In New York I was required to switch airports. I located a CHEAP shuttle very easily but had to personally transport all my suitcases (a LARGE red duffle, two ME-size roll suitcases, and my carry-on "purse"), from one airport to the next. I thought that would be the worst of my problems. In Chicago I had to pay the AA baggage fees for two suit cases, in addition to my second being over weight. When I got to the Iberia terminal they tried to tell me that the receipt of payment for my luggage at AA was insufficient and that I would have to pay the exact same fee over again! After speaking with a supervisor, numerous Iberia employees at the counter, as well as a mysterious Iberia employee on the phone, they "waived" all of the fees for me except for the overweight baggage fee which I still had to pay. Seeing as this issue all arose because of this mistake made by the AA employee in the lack of producing an adequate receipt..I (should be) will get my money back. It still makes no sense to me how two airlines partnering with one another do not have a better system than this, especially when by their request, passengers literally have to re-check in their bags. I felt the entire situation was ridiculous and frankly, I was a little overwhelmed trying to explain my situation to them.

I will never travel like that again.

Despite this inconvenience and having to go through security another time, I did meet one of the students also studying in my Central College program which brought some relief. I had a traveling partner before the long haul from NY to Madrid. The flight was tranquil, just like the first. This second flight I was able to enjoy from my number one preference, the aisle seat. Although, I must say I have developed a new-found respect for the window seat. Watching the entire cityscape of NY at nighttime with all of the beautiful lights, bridges, buildings, cars, and boats, was breathtaking. (I was just in NY, as of the 4th of January, so I'll say it was good to be back[:). 

When checking in for my flights online, on impulse I selected the low calorie options. So at 10pm CT or so when our meals for dinner came, in the luxurious comfort of my aisle seat I received fresh fruit, rice cakes, vegetables, chicken, and rice. I already had dinner at the airport two hours prior so I didn't have much other than the fruits and vegetables. At 1:35am CT we were receiving our breakfast. This time I received a tomato and cucumber sandwich on wheat bread with more fresh fruit and low calorie jelly. I ate the fruit and jellied a piece of bread. I was content. I made myself sleep as much as I could, which I appreciate now. The only thing I would have changed about my experience on this specific trip abroad is traveled with a water bottle! I do it in the states; I never forget my water bottle. It saves time/$ so I do not have to purchased one at the airport and refilling is so simple. So forgetting it now makes no sense to me while for 6+ hours I forget a bottle and have to keep asking for refills in my tiny plastic cup. Minute detail! and honest mistake.

 When Fatima and I arrived at Madrid Barajas airport I found that it was easy to navigate myself around the huge airport because it was all very familiar to me from traveling there in June of 2011. It was a long walk (and pretty quick air tran ride) to our final destination, our final gate. After the stamping of our passports and our final pass through security, we found ourselves greeted by 15 or so of our fellow study abroad companions. 

So I bought myself a water, finally using euro! Anna Marie, a Bradley companion, took a taxi to our hotel where we will be staying for the evening. Carrying our 4 large suitcases up 2 1/2 flights of stairs wasn't exactly enjoyable but it can't touch our excitement. Although it's only 8:20 AM I feel energized, rejuvenated, excited, and a whirlwind of other emotions now that I am finally HERE. Words cannot express the excitement, pride, and enjoyment, and BLESSINGS..etc. 

The weather is beautiful and as always, so are the people. We're waiting for Tesla to join us in our room here. Our plans for the day consist of a run around the city before we re-freshen up from all of our travels, and EXPLORE! So we can look into telephones, adapters, and any other necessities that we need (including getting to know our new home!). Later on we will meet up with the students in our program to get to know one another and have some fun before Orientation tomorrow.

Orientation is at a nearby hotel for a period of time unknown to me at this moment in time, but I will find out soon! After orientation I will finally be given the names and address of mi nueva familia! Then another adventure begins... I will have to transport all of my luggage to another location to find my way home.

Now that I'm safely abroad, I'd love to hear from you! Please comment and say hello:)
13/1/2012 11:52:55 pm

Miss you hija. So enjoyed reading this, I t was as if we were with you.
Te extrano bastante !! Hojala que tu nueva familia to da mucha gracias y amor. Enviamos nuestros isaludos a todos.
Bendicion & Amor Hija
Tu Mama

15/1/2012 03:43:27 am

Si voy a dar sus saludos! Estoy tomando un tinto de verano ahora con Fatima, Rob, y Anna Marie y en pocos minutos tengo regresar a casa para cenar. Besos

14/1/2012 01:39:36 am

Thats great to hear you made it there safe and sound! Thats terrible about the whole luggage thing..but hey, it happens right? You are going to have an ultimate blast! Don't forget to give me your address! i'll send you a postcard from Peoria in case you miss it or forget it :)

14/1/2012 08:52:18 am

Hola mi amor! felice que llegaste sin problemas.
Mom and dad said to tell you hello and they will talk to you soon!!

Jessica Grace McNellis I
14/1/2012 02:02:33 pm

This was the most descriptive blog post I have ever read. I only made it about halfway through. I took a break around the airplane food description.
So glad to hear you are there though and I hope we get as much description about SPAIN as we did about the flgiht.
Love you oodles.

15/1/2012 03:45:44 am

Aw I thought that you were going to be happy about the food description. Darn. I'll try to get you next time! Because you will be hearing about everything else in more detail soon, chica. Habla pronto!


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