I can now say that it feels real. What else is real? The jet-lag. I am exhausted, but trying my best to stay ahead of it and adjust in the best way. Here are some things that I have learned already...
SLEEP ON THE PLANE! I tried and failed to sleep on the plane. I couldn't get comfortable enough to sleep plus I realized that I hate sleeping with headphones in and the noise of the plane was bothersome for sleeping, but enough complaining.
DRINK WATER AND THEN SOME MORE! I knew to drink water to keep from getting dehydrated, but it still wasn't enough. I can definitely tell that I am dehydrated, but I am working on getting that fixed.
DO NOT NAP MORE THAN AN HOUR AFTER ARRIVAL! First thing I did after getting to my hotel was take a shower and it was amazing and much needed to make me feel human again. The next thing was take a nap, but I did not allow myself more than an hour because it makes jet-lag worse. Some of the other students took longer naps and it actually made them feel worse. It was hard to not over sleep, but luckily I was able to time it so that I had to get up for my welcome meeting.
Okay, enough about that, and more about how everything is so far... my mom, dad and sister cried at the airport and I was too busy grinning. I almost made it without any tears, but then my sister had to send a sweet text and prayer to me and I teared up before boarding my first plane. My first plane was sooooooo very small that I almost felt claustrophobic, but it was only and hour and a half flight so not to bad. Take off and landing were really cool to watch from the window seat. The flight to NY was very pretty, and let me just tell you...JFK airport is huge. I never left terminal 8, but it took me 20 minutes to walk from my arrival gate to my next departure gate. Boarding the trans-Atlantic flight was pretty smooth. I found my seat and settled in by the window. A nice couple that I didn't really talk to sat next to me. After we reached cruising altitude, we were served dinner. I had chicken parmesan, salad, bread, and a cookie. The pepper cream salad dressing was pretty tasty and the chicken was good for being on a flight. After eating, I watched Maleficent 2 the movie and then tried to sleep. I think I was successful for an hour, but I just couldn't stay asleep. I spent the next couple of hours watching the beautiful ocean (not really because it was dark) and the sky; I was able to see a few stars. Around 5 am (Spain time), We were served breakfast which was yogurt with granola, and the granola was awesome. Then we arrived in Barcelona...I could only see lights because it was 6:30 am. Going through the airport was smooth. You get divided based on the passport you have. I walked up to the desk, handed it over, the guard scanned my visa, and then I continued on my way without him ever speaking to me. Then came customs, it was pretty relaxed and I didn't have to declare anything, so that was easy. After that I got my luggage and proceeded to the meetup location. I met some nice people that I hit it off with and we sat together from 7 am to 10 am. Our program coordinators came at 10 and we loaded into a bus. The ride to the hotel was quick and the architecture is beautiful. I had enough mental capacity to appreciate it, but honestly, I was so tired that it is kind of foggy.
Check in at the hotel was quick and easy as well. Like I said before, I went to my room, showered, napped, and then went to my meeting. The meeting was general information about our program staff, some safety info, and really relaxed. We went on a practical tour to learn the metro system and get familiar with ATMs. After that, the girls that I share a hotel room with and that will be my apartment-mates walked around for a bit before dinner.
Dinner was FABULOUS. I apologize for not taking pictures, but it was so good and I was starving. The food was tapas. I ate pan con tomate (tomato and olive oil on bread), a cupcake with a cream inside, a mini sandwich with tomato, cheese, olive oil, and salami, then another mini sandwich was the most delicious bread and cheese. I took some to have for later, no joke.
Now, I am back to my room trying to process everything and I will probably call it a night early because I do not think it is physically possible to stay up much longer. Sorry for the brain dump, but that is as coherent as I can be right now. I promise to be more eloquent when I am caught up on sleep. I can honestly say that I am loving it so far, and this is one of the best decisions I have made that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Today was exhausting, but the best first day of many more exciting days to come.