Tuesday, January 18, 2011

European Adventures? : A Really Long Post About Waiting Around in an Airport

I just spent over 15 hours inside the Madrid Airport, yesterday.
No Wifi. Cancelled Flights. Long lines. Spanish.

(Mucha niebla. I don't think I'll ever forget the word for fog.)

At least, I think it was yesterday. I can't really remember. . . Yes, if I had to guess, then I'd say it was yesterday. (Sorry if this post is absurd - I'm sure it will be - I went to bed at 3:30 am or something.)

I had a lovely flight from Seattle to JFK and then from JFK to Madrid. Sure they were long, but they were also pretty empty, on-time, and, on the last leg, I sat next to a 24 year old Israelite man named Ellie (I don't know how you spell it in Hebrew) who was returning from visiting his American girlfriend. We talked about how great Christmas is. Ironic, to say the least. (Quick questions: do you call Isreali Jews "Israelites" anymore? Or was that just an Old Testament thing?) Those 6 and 7 hour flights were wonderful. Surprisingly the 1 hour flight to Sevilla gave me the most grief.

There were a lot of Americans in my CIEE study abroad program connecting to Sevilla from Madrid, so we kind of all sat down in a big mob by some computer monitors to wait for our gate to be assigned. I'm sure people were annoyed by the loud Americans, sitting around discussing Taylor Swift and . I was annoyed by us, even. But we were in Spain, so I found some girls from the group who were actually speaking Spanish, and hung around with them. Until we got too tired for Spanish.

We sat around. We stood in lines. Unlike America, the airport doesn't really explain anything to you about a potentially cancelled/delayed flight. They assign a gate an hour before the flight leaves. You wait around for the assignment, if it doesn't appear then you go wait line at the information desk. We waited for about three hours in line. And got assigned a flight for nine hours later.

A girl I met compared the nightmareish situation to an episode of the twilight zone, in which toys donated to the Salvation Army come alive and can't except the basket that holds them. But I finally made it to Sevilla. My bag didn't (it arrived two hours ago), but hey, it just reminded me that there is more to life than superficial things like shoes.

Now, sitting here in my hotel room, it still feels like I fell into some sort of weird American made for TV movie about studying abroad in Europe. I keep expecting Mary Kate and Ashley Oslen to pop out from behind an orange trees and ask me for directions to Paris. The city just has that kind of vibrance and surreal effect.

There was no fog here today. It was quite sunny and wonderful.

I move into my homestay tomorrow. I will be living with a Señora in the "Trianas" district of Spain, across the river from the Universidad y study center.

More on that later.


  1. Dear Elizabeth,

    Great post...keep them coming.

    Much love, Dad

  2. Liz,
    I miss you. But I am so thankful that you are in Spain - I am so excited to hear more and more about your life there!
    loads of prayers from snowy, snowy seward,

  3. Haha, Israelites, yes I do believe people say Israelis now. That's so funny, I was having a conversation about this with another friend just a couple days ago. GAAAH! This is already starting to sound like a most splendid adventure! Can't wait to read what else is in store for Elizabeth Kelly!

  4. i found my way here! so scratch my request for a facebook message update. this is GREAT.

  5. Mary Kate and Ashley Olden. Lol.
    I'm sorry your bag arrived late, but you're living it up now with your senora. No te preoccupes.