I am a few days away from my flight to Madrid, and the melting pot of emotions is officially starting to swirl around my brain. I’m nervous about starting a whole new life in a country that speaks a language other than English. I’m sad to leave my friends and family behind. I’m excited for all of the amazing people I’m going to meet and the places that I’m going to see. This past summer has been filled with doing all of my favorite summer activities, meeting new people, and preparing for my year abroad.
One of the biggest tasks I’ve had this summer is obtaining my visa. The process of getting a visa is something that I don’t particularly want to repeat. I decided to start applying for my visa as soon as I was within the application window. For a Spanish visa, you can’t apply any sooner than 3 months before the day you plan to land in Spain, but it also takes around 4 weeks to process the visa once you apply. This results in a very small window to apply for and receive the visa. It also takes a lot of planning before your visa appointment in order to get all of the documents together that the Spanish Consulate requires. So after planning a day trip down to Chicago and finally getting to my visa appointment, I found out that I was missing one of the documents. I almost started crying right there in front of the waiting room, but thankfully they gave me 15 days to get the document and send it to them. It all worked out in the end, but the entire process was just plain stressful. I am pleased to inform you that I now have my visa in hand, though it came a week later than I thought it would. I’m now very thankful for planning for my visa early on.
I finished up my last day of work a few days ago, and now I am spending my days packing, saying goodbye to family and friends, and watching as many episodes of my favorite TV shows that I can before I no longer have access to them. Packing for an entire year is a very daunting process. Everyday I look through the clothes in my suitcase and debate whether I need something, and usually I end up just tossing it all back in and telling myself that I should bring it ‘just in case.’ Hopefully in the next couple of days I’ll be able to narrow down my wardrobe, otherwise I might have some problems with going over the airline weight limit.
It’s actually very surreal that I leave for Madrid in only a few days. This 10-month journey abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, and I get to do it! It seems like years ago that I jokingly told my family that I wanted to go live in another country for a year, but now I’m actually packing and preparing for it. If there’s anything that I’ve learned through this whole preparation process is that sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and I’m sure this will be a philosophy that I will have to live by for the next 10 months. All I have left to say before I leave is here goes nothing!