Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Leaving in Four Days

To follow up on my last post, I received my Spanish visa in the mail a couple of weeks ago. However, because you do not know how long it will take for the consulate to process the application which can take anywhere between 2 and 7 weeks, I was unable to go to the Olympics with my dad because I did not know when I would receive my passport in the mail. While I am bummed about missing the olympics, at least I obtained my visa without any major trouble.

I cannot believe how fast the summer has gone by. I am leaving for Spain in less than four days! I am quite mix of excitement, anxiety, and nervousness. As some of you may know, Fulbright does not provide housing. They will put us up at a residencia for two weeks during which time I need to find an apartment. This is quite nerve racking for me as I will be moving to a foreign country without having secured housing or having a telephone contact number. Thus, all I will be taking with me are two suitcases, a carry on, and an email address for people to get in contact with me.

In preparation for my trip, I have created a list of goals that I want to accomplish while in Spain. Below I have listed most of the things that I would like accomplish.
  1. Find an apartment!
  2. Become fluent in Spanish
  3. Try lots of new foods and learn how to cook some authentic Spanish dishes
  4. Visit at least six countries and go to Africa once
  5. Learn to navigate the metro system in Madrid
  6. Become familiar with the neighborhood I live in and explore other neighborhoods in Madrid
  7. Become a better teacher and teach my students different world views
  8. Stay in contact with friends and family
  9. Take lots of photos
  10. Volunteer and get my students involved as well
  11. Go to a concert, theater, and flameco performance
  12. Learn to be more laid back and not have everything planned ahead of time
  13. Visit a temple, mosque, and church
  14. Make friends with Spaniards
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Enjoy reading an entire book in Spanish
  17. Buy a piece of art from my travels
  18. Find an intercambio partner with whom I can practice Spanish

Please let me know if you have any other suggestions to add to my goal list or any travel advice.

I have already purchased an international student ID card, but opted not to by a Eurorail pass because they are only good for up to three months and I don't when I will do the bulk of my travel. Plus there are a couple of cheap airlines that fly within Europe.