Studying Abroad in Madrid: January 9th
I hate security lines at the airport. It’s not like I ever have anything on me but I always get worried that I accidentally left tweezers I my bag, a sharpened mascara want in my purse or worse, I accidentally strapped a bomb to my shoes. Ironically the stress of the situation causes my heart to race, my legs to shake, and my eyes to dilate. Three crucial signs of being a terrorist. This all goes through my head as I place my baggage on the security belt and stand oblivious to the growing line behind me as I contemplate the worst.
30 seconds later, I’m at my gate. My mother’s epidemic neurosis coupled with my studying abroad transformed her from comically overprotective to restraining order crazy. But even though I dismissed every piece of advice she gave me about traveling abroad, I still caught myself shoving my passport down my pants and clipping money to my bra just in case. Pack dry rations for a week, just in case. In her eyes I was embarking on the Oregon Trail rather than a semester abroad.
After securing all my belongings and double checking my ticket 45 times I looked at my watch. I had arrived four hours early, just in case. My friends sat around me, surrounded by magazines, sudoku, and snack food. In all my mother’s preparation for the worst, she had forgotten to remind me to buy things to entertain myself. At 20 years old I still hold her fully responsibly for providing 24/7 entertainment. God forbid I’m bored. Seriously god forbid, I have A.D.D and when my mind starts to wander, my legs often follow and before you know it I’m stuck on a 17 hour flight to Beijing, Full House style.
Despite begin with my friends and catching up on Cosmo’s latest tips on how to please my non existent boyfriend, time did not fly. 17 years later my flight began boarding. I grabbed my brand new rolling airline approved carry on bag overdramatically in an attempt to show it off to my friends. However my over packing apparently caused some unequal weight distribution and the bag barely limped to the plane, let alone roll.
I was over delighted to see that seat 27 E was a middle seat in the middle row. There is nothing I love more than sitting in between strangers for a six hour flight. Luckily none of them were fat. Unluckily they all fell asleep for the duration of the flight which left me trapped in the middle as my bladder grew heavier. But being a season traveler, I know all the tricks. I opened my tray table repeatedly, unbuckled my seatbelt, turned pages loudly, unbuckled their seatbelts until the girl next to me finally woke up. I too pretended that I had just woken up and then before she could fall asleep again, I yawned and asked her to get up so I could go to the bathroom.
Seven seconds later, I stood in the bathroom line that stretched so far back that I’m 87% positive I was still on the runway in New York City. Three seconds later the captain decided to cruise through some turbulence and demanded we are return to our seats. Spain was already hazardous to my health and we hadn’t even landed yet. Everything my mother said was turning out to be true.