Phase one of the journey to Spain has been a success!! I made it safely across the pond, and am currently sitting in London-Stansted airport, awaiting my flight to Madrid. After my eight hour flight from Atlanta, I had myself a pleasant bus ride here from Heathrow airport via National Express (I highly recommend them!). The flight itself went quite well, despite a two hour delay due to engine trouble. Once the maintenance had been taken care of, though, everything went off without a hitch! I really have to say that I prefer international flights. The food served on-board was more than decent, consisting of a chicken & veggies dinner followed by a light breakfast sandwich just before arrival. I especially love how far technology has come on these flights–each passenger had complementary access to a wide variety of movies, TV shows, music, and games on a personal screen in front of them–would’ve never dreamed of such things when I was travelling overseas in the past! Unfortunately, it did end up being a rather restless flight for me…c’est la vie!
Contrary to my original plan, I opted to purchase a bus ticket to Stansted instead of attempting the Hell that would be hefting my luggage through the various connections necessary to take the Tube. Though it would have been the cheaper option, and I might have been able to kill time sight-seeing for a few hours, handling the stress of such a venture would’ve been unwise on my part–let’s just say that tired, grumpy Court makes for a less than easy traveller. There’s only so much one can do sitting around an airport terminal for five hours, but at least I’m not having to worry about getting here anymore. And, luckily, I will be ending my journey in London as well, so I’ll hopefully have a moment to explore at that time. From what I’ve seen of England so far, it reminds me a bit of home sweet Humboldt, but with a distinctly European charm: green fields a-plenty, wide open spaces, and lovely architecture abound! The people I’ve interacted with here are intriguing, since so far they seem to fit into two age-specific categories–the young people (mostly women) who work in the facilities consistently act as if you’re a huge bother to them, while the older people are very gracious and helpful. It’ll be nice to experience a more diverse populace the next time I make my way to this part of the world, that’s for sure…I can’t imagine that ALL the young people here are quite this distasteful.
Well, it turns out the Brits are just as stingy as we Americans, and charge for their WiFi access (bummer, dude), so I must wrap it up. Tomorrow I move into my homestay, where I will meet my new Spanish family, consisting of mother Sonsoles and her six year old son Leo. I’ll have internet access both within my homestay as well as at my university, so I’ll try to post updates fairly regularly! Expect my next update once I’m settled into my new Spanish home.