I have made it to Spain!!! Here's some blog posts I wrote while on the plane without wifi!

Yesterday… or was it this morning… started out early for us at about 3:45 AM. Our flight for Seattle left Cali at 6:30 and we needed ample time to get to the airport, check in, and get through security lines. The night before we had weighed all of our bags, two each, and they all weighed in at less than 50 lbs. I was so relieved to finally have my bags checked with no overweight or oversize fees since the airline sites had sounded so strict about bags being over 62” (with all sides added up). Justin and I made it through the long long security line with minimal trouble and found that our gate was the closest one, feet away from the security check exit. Just as we got there they began loading the plane and we boarded for Seattle. Having never been to Washington state, I was pretty excited to look out the window and see Mt. Rainier and some others as we approached our destination. Our flight went quickly and soon we were exiting through the tunnel and meeting up with three of Justin’s friends who had been on the flight with us.
Unfortunately, upon arriving at SEATAC, we discovered that our plane for Paris was delayed 45 minutes. We already had nearly 4 hours to wait, so we got some food and took our time heading over to the international part of the terminal. The time went surprisingly fast as we waited for 1:00, our original departure time. We chatted, charged our electronics for the long flight ahead, and again scouted out some food for what was becoming lunch. We didn’t mind waiting in the airport, but it was hard knowing that we were most likely going to miss our connection flight from Paris to Valencia where the people from ESDES would be waiting. Finally we found ourselves standing around the gate with no where to sit, waiting for the plane to be cleaned and refueled. The departure time changed to 2:10, but we didn’t leave until around 2:30. 

Before we knew it, we were on the runway and leaving American soil for the last time in nine months. Our flight to Paris was about ten and a half hours, during which we watched the sun set and then met it on the other side of the world as it rose just a few hours later. One of the perks of all-night (or all-day) flying is that movies play to help pass the time. Logan’s going to be so jealous, but yes, I got to see the Avengers for the third time while flying somewhere above Canada or the Atlantic. Between 7 and 10 west coast time, Justin and I got a few hours of sleep, and woke up to breakfast being served. Then we got to Paris… TO BE CONTINUED

Ok, so we left off in Paris... Oh the Charles de Gualle airport. We spent a total of nine hours there after missing our flight to Valencia. There were five of us in a group together and only three spots on a later flight at 4:00 to Valencia. Justin and I volunteered to let the others go while we waiting until 6 PM to catch a plane to Madrid and then an 11 PM plane to Valencia. One thing that's really throwing me off is that here everyone uses military time so I have to think about it for a few seconds. Anyway, we waited and waited and waited in the terminal. We tried to stay busy by walking around, finding something to eat, people watching, and so on, but time only goes so fast. Still, it was cool to know that we were in Paris the whole time. And we didn't even know what was coming next. 

Finally, finally, it was time to board for Madrid. The Delta Airlines guy in Paris told us we would have one flight via Air France and then we had to use Air Iberia for the last flight. This presented a problem for our checked baggage. He told us he couldn't check it through so we would have to show them our little baggage claim sticker so they would know to take it to Madrid. Apparently it wasn't that easy. After a drowsy, falling-asleep-sitting-up flight to Madrid, we began to look for sings to the terminal we needed. We navigated through a series of halls, escalators, and confusing sings before finding the bus to Terminal 4. It turns out that the terminals are really far apart and the bus even used a sort of high way to get there. We went to check in with Air Iberia and that's when everything got tricky. They told us that our luggage was probably waiting somewhere in the terminal we had just come from, and that we had to go back and get it. But with buses and the size of the terminal, it would take so long that we could miss our flight. Long story short, after a lot of running, tears (on my part of course) and more confusion, we decided to head back and get on our plane and hope for the best. 

Justin was so calm during the whole event and kept telling me it would be fine, and I was so glad. I'm definitely the more uptight one and he was so relaxed and assured me that it would be ok. In the long run, we made it to Valencia by midnight even though our bags didn't. We later found out that another girl who was in our group of five lost her bags too (along with several other ACA kids) and everyone, girls and guys included, was SO helpful with letting us borrow and use their stuff until we could find ours. I only knew two people coming into this, Justin and Rachel, so I wasn't sure what it would be like to meet lots of people that both of them knew but who I had never even met. They were so kind and generous! I'm so glad I've met so many new friends already! No one hesitated to offer computer chargers, shampoo, or even clothes. Even though my first night was very rough (I got to my room and spent the night alone with no internet, baggage, or roommate... and those of you who know me know that I'm a weeper) and there are still moments that make me miss everything back home so much, I know that the friends I'm making are going to be some of my best friends by the time this is done.

Oh wait-- there's more! The last two days I've been here have been packed with activities! But I'll save those for the next post! ¡hasta luego amigos!

Sun setting on the way to Paris... or was it rising? Does it matter if it happens 4 hours apart?
Charles de Gualle... this is the terminal we spent nine hours in. It really was nice, very cool building, but you can only be so interested for nine hours.
Madrid airport... which was really soooo cool even though it made me cry! I would have liked to have seen it in the day time without jet lag and missing bags. Despite the issues, it was a very cool, colorful, airport.
9/19/2012 08:01:20 pm

You can't imagine how thrilled I was to see your blog! Your mom had told me about the internet problems, but never the less I have been looking about every hour to see if you could finally blog---and you did---and it was wonderful. Was so happy to hear about your trip. And I can't wait to hear more. Love you good!

Auntie Judy
9/19/2012 09:23:08 pm

I'm so glad you told us all about your adventure thus far! I CANNOT believe you are there! As I read this I was picturing you and Justin in my mind's eye and it made me so excited and scared and nervous for you all at the same time. You are going to have such a wonderful adventure and I cannot wait to see pixs and hear about it all. Be safe and we love and miss ya'

10/8/2012 01:01:02 am

Oh Shelby I'm going back through your blog reading all that I've missed--I can't believe you're there! The luggage thing sounds so nightmarish though, glad that got cleared up! Love the shot out the plane window :)


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