Summer is officially over for me! I can’t begin to explain what a fantastic summer it has been though. I had so many wonderful adventures and got to spend time with people who mean so much to me. And now that summer is coming to a close, a new chapter is about to begin… in about 5 hours actually. Yes, it’s 12:34am on Wednesday August 27th and I just about finished packing for my big move to Spain. Last minute, as usual. I hop on a flight out of Milwaukee around 11am today and won’t be stepping back on American soil until next summer. Honestly, I still don’t think it has sunk in how long a year actually is. I think about what I was doing at this time last year and I was just getting ready to start my first year at Madison as a sophomore transfer student. Crazy. Now I get to start over (for my third year in a row!) at a new school, in a new city, in a new country! Talk about not being able to stay in one place for too long.
My bags are (almost) packed and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Some important things I’m bringing along with me include: my stuffed bear, peanut butter (because apparently it’s hard to find in Europe??), and glow stars for the ceiling when I find an apartment. For me, not having glow stars is not an option.
But other than that I’ve packed an abundance of clothes for both winter and summer, electronics (+converters), and other odds and ends items needed for daily life and survival. I wouldn’t say I’m a professional packer, but I’m from Green Bay so there’s that… (Green Bay Packer reference for those who didn’t get the reference). I keep thinking that I’m going to need to bring so much stuff with me but I have to keep reminding myself that there are indeed stores in Madrid where I will be able to purchase whatever I may need.
I had my last American meal at my favorite restaurant in town (and second home) Noodles and Company and went shopping with my mom for some last minute items including tennis shoes. I also spent today making sure my credit card carriers and bank knew about my traveling so nothing gets cancelled or denied while I am over there and making copies of important documents including my passport, visa, and birth certificate in case anything were to happen to them. But I am going to make darn sure nothing happens to my passport because I’ll do anything to not go through the process of applying for a visa again. That gave me more headache than it should have and it’s done, it’s over, I have it, and I’m not going to lose it 🙂
When I arrive in Madrid tomorrow, hopefully I’ll be able to navigate around the airport and hop on the correct shuttle (with my 2 bags and backpacks) and arrive at the dorm location where everyone is supposed to meet. That is one disadvantage of not being on the group flight. For me, I chose to travel independently not because it necessarily cheaper, but because I didn’t want to be tied down to purchasing a round trip airfare. I don’t know what’s happening 2 days from now let alone 10 months. I may want to stay a little longer in Europe to do some traveling. Who knows! But the flexibility is nice.
But wow this is really it, isn’t it? I’m about to embark on what will most likely be the biggest adventure of my life thus far. As my dad would say, I’m going here for a reason. And that reason is to hopefully improve my Spanish to the point where I could be fluent. I also know I’m going to meet amazing people and have memorable adventures along the way. One of the smaller goals that I have is to hopefully become a regular at a local café where I’ll order “café con leche” and get my usual coffee fix. Thinking about the little things like that are what gets me the most excited. If and when I find this coffee shop, I’ll be sure to pass along the name.
But now I’m going to try and get some rest and take in the rest of my time here in the states. I’ll reflect on the wonderful memories this summer has given me and prepare for what in just a few hours will be… another beginning.