Archive | September, 2011

When Two Worlds Collide

27 Sep

As I sit in one of the only two hostels of Lucena (my new home for the year), it’s hard to imagine that just 24 hours ago I was fighting through the crowds of people in Manhattan’s Penn Station. Talk about culture shock! Try going from the high-rises and propetual motion of New York City – population 8,000,000 – to the quiet streets and tranquil plazas of Lucena, Spain – population 40,000. Not to mention changing languages and time zones.

My tour guide and I in Times Square

But first the beginning: the big apple. After making it to 16 countries in 23 years, I figured now was as good a time as any to jump into the craziness that is New York City. Was I prepared for what I was about to see? Probably not. But thanks to the 25 cent guide book courtesy of Grandpa Bob, I arrived to the city sounding like I knew what I was talking about. But truly it was my awesome tour guide, Michelle, that got me from Subway A to Subway B and taught me the correct pronunciation of “Houston”. After only a short weekend in the city we managed to cram in Times Square, the Eiffel Tower, Central Park, NYU, Chinatown, Brooklyn, Little Italy, Rockefeller Center, The New York Public Library and so much more.

The question of the trip: Could I ever see myself living in NYC? Truth is, I was more concerned with whether I could live in Lucena, Spain!

Lucky for me, a mere taxi ride, 2 flights, 2 trains, 2 buses, 6 time zones and 24 hours later, I was able to get a better handle on that question as I arrived in Lucena. Luckily, I was greeted at the bus stop by another auxiliar, Anna, and headed to the hostel. The quiet of the small streets was almost eerie compared to the chaos of the ones I had come from. But sometimes contrast is good. After a stroll around the town and a Coca-Cola Light in the lively main square, I think the answer is yes… to both.

I would love to live one day in a big city like New York, but for now I’m pretty content on settling into small town España. Apartment searching and school visits to come in the morning!

Today’s Word: el piso (n.): apartment; as in: “If I don’t find a piso quickly, I’m going to be sleeping in the park.”

The 50lb. Weight Game

26 Sep

We’ve all been there. Eyes closed, nervously praying to the gods of lost weight and shrinking size as we heave our suitcases onto the front desk scale of the airport. Maybe if I wish hard enough my suitcase will have magically lost 4lbs between the scales at home and the airport gates. Or maybe I can just pull a fast “look over there” so the attendant doesn’t realize I slipped in those two new dresses at the last second? Or maybe I could start crying? “P-P-PLEASE don’t make me take out that extra pair of shoes lady or I might just…”

Wait. You haven’t been there? You’re saying you actually make sure your suitcases are right before you leave home? That’s ridiculous!

As someone who has spent my fair share of times packing for a long trip, I’m usually pretty proud of being able to fit my things all into one bag. (I’m gone til June, after all!) but that weight limit bologna gets me every time! Should I really be punished for being such a skilled packer?

Alas, this trip to New York proved to be no different nor the scales of the Dayton airport any kinder. As I found myself – suitcase open – trying to lose four pounds by throwing out replaceable things (Who needs socks anyways?) and shoving the rest of the stuff into my carry-on bags. Apparently it doesn’t matter if your bag weighs a thousand pounds as long as you’re the one lugging it around! (and of course it doesn’t contain sharp objects, large bottles of liquids, plants from foreign countries, live animals or plots to take over the world!)

In the end my bag came in at a solid 50lbs and was free to travel another day. You almost won this time AirTran heavy baggage fee, but not on my watch! Perhaps I would save money on the chiropractor had I only paid the overage fee.

Today’s word: la espalda (n.): back; as in “my espalda is killing me after lugging all that extra weight in my carry-on!”

Maleta

21 Sep

Contrary to what it may have seemed from my last post, I am (unfortunately) not still wandering around fairytale castles in Germany. Nor did I fall off the face of the Earth — just the face of Europe — after which I landed nicely in the vicinity of Cincinnati, Ohio.

After what seems like one of the shortest and most fast-paced summer of my life, I find myself sitting next to an empty suitcase once again. How could it be possibly that my closet has gotten bigger, while my suitcase has shrunk?

But I’ve got bigger worries than suitcase shrinkage. I find myself with less than a week before I’m on a plane heading to Malaga, Spain – a large costal city that is only about an hour from my new home of Lucena. And to think I’m going to squeeze a little trip to NYC in between then and now. Oh, life.

Today’s word: maleta (n.): suitcase; as in: “I would rather throw my maleta out the window than pack it.