The Journey (and My Update on Packing)

Authored by:
Christianne G.

Christianne G.

So, I am currently sitting in my bed at the hotel in Madrid and can I just say, this city is amazing! The people are so nice and walking around has been a lot of fun! We've had one day of orientation so far and I have enjoyed getting to know my fellow CIEEers. I officially have a Spain phone number, a room to live in, and am going to get a bank account tomorrow. Overall, this has been a productive two days. But, you didn't click on this blog to read about my time so far in Madrid, you want to know about the journey, so let's get into it...

I arrived at the airport with my parents and brother where they helped me get my luggage into the airport to be checked. I said a sad goodbye to them and then got in line to check my bags. The man at the desk asked for my passport, vaccine card/negative covid test, and visa. I gave him my bags - only one of which was overweight (due to all of the winter clothes). I then went through customs with my carry-on and bookbag. After waiting in line and shuffling along, I was finally able to get my bags through the scanners. My first leg of the trip was from Atlanta to Chicago, so I was in the ATL airport - which is huge. However, the security guards and custodial workers I talked to were very nice and they pointed me in the right direction. I got some lunch and then was on the plane in no time. 

For my first hour and a half flight, I was in a cramped, small airplane. The gentleman sitting next to me was super nice and actually talked to me the whole way to Chicago. When we landed, I rushed across the airport to my Chicago to Madrid flight who had already started to board. I made it with 30 minutes to spare and got to meet some other CIEEers before we all boarded. The flight to Madrid was a little over eight hours - time I spent watching movies (I can't sleep on airplanes). We landed around 7:30 am Spain time, got off the plane met some other auxiliares (not through CIEE though) and showed our passports and visas to security. We also had to get a Health Spain app and fill out some forms (which we all did before hand). They scanned our codes and let us through. My small group of CIEEers turned to a large group of us by the time we got our checked bags. By 12 we were at the hotel where we wer met the rest of the orientation staff (some of which had picked us up at the airport). They got us checked in and by 2 I was taking a two nap to bide me over for the day (at this point I had been up for 24 hours). We had the option of going to eat with our orientation group but instead I walked twenty minutes to a churro shop to meet one of the other auxes from my school (she's from the Philippines). I walked back while Facetiming my mom who had just gotten off of work in the States. I was promptly asleep by 11 and woke up twelve hours later. 

Pro Tip: Try to stay up and active as humanly possible until you go to bed at night so your body gets acclimated quickly to your new time zone. 

P.S. I move into my room next Monday, and am so excited to meet my housemates!

A little update on my luggage - I ended up bringing two suiitcases. I went ahead and published the other  blog about bringing one becuase I do think it is completely possible to only bring one. However, I packed a ton of sweaters and warm clothes because of how cold my community gets in Madrid. My second suitcase is full everything non-clothes.


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