30 May 2009

Where am I?!

Palabra del dia: incomodo --> uncomfortable/awkward

Isn't home where you're supposed to feel most comfortable? My recent life experiences have proved this isn't true. I arrived home (well, Kansas City for the weekend with my sister, my second home) on Thursday night. It was a looooong journey, to say the least. It started with a 4:30am (Spain time) wake up call in Malaga, where we had stayed in a hostal the night before. I didn't sleep well that night because it was hot, there were people being loud in our hostal, and since Barcelona had just won the "SuperBowl of Soccer" (as my host brother Nacho likes to call it), people were shouting and honking and being loud in the streets for a really long time. Needless to say, I was tired from the start. My friend Sarah and I got up and got to the airport for our respective 7am flights. She headed to Athens to meet her boyfriend, me to Madrid. When I arrived to Madrid, I got some Starbucks (much to my dismay, actually. I really miss Spanish cafe con leche!) and sat to write in my journal. Literally, as I was sitting there, I was fighting tears. This has been a common occurance for the past 3 weeks or so. There's been a number of things attributing to this, the biggest one of them all being the realization that I have to leave Spain. Really I just wanted to get it all out, but I knew that wasn't the time. So I had a 3 hour layover in Madrid. I wrote, wandered, and got $33 American dollars back from my 15 Euro and 5 UK Pounds left. Cha-ching!

Finally boarding time came and I was relieved to get on the plane. But not so relieved to leave Spain. I almost cried again. Sheesh. I ended up sitting by this 40-something year old guy who thought I was Spanish (um, what? Do you see the blonde hair?) and kept calling me "senora." **Side note, senora is used for older women, it's senorita that is used for younger. Thanks.** We didn't talk until food finally came around. Then we figured out we were both American, go figure. His name is John, he works at Macy's and lives in Chicago, and he said his life revolves around going to Europe. Interesting flight. I didn't barely sleep cause I was crammed in my seat. Note to the wise, the table doubles as a good head rest, even though it's slightly uncomfortable being bent over in that small seat. Whatever, I was tired.

After 9 hours, we finally arrived in Chicago. We had to get off the plane, get our bags, go through customs, and recheck our bags for connecting flights. Long story short, I missed my connection because this all took too long. We got in a little after 2pm (central US time) and I wasn't able to catch a plane until 8:35pm. So that means 6 HOURS in the Chicago airport. At this point, I want to tell you about some things I immediately noticed about America in my exhausted, I-don't-want-to-be-in-America-right-now state.

1) I found that I am a lot more aware of diversity. Everywhere I looked I picked out the non-white people in my brain. And, I favored those who looked Spanish or Middle-Eastern. Go figure. Maybe it's the familiarity of it all?

2) I'm sorry, but America as a whole is a lot fatter than Spain. It's the truth. Sorry if you think I'm being insensitive, but it is clear when you look at it.

When I finally got on the airplane to Kansas City, I was surprised I hadn't fallen over from sleep exhaustion. At this point, I had legitimately been awake for at least 24 hours. Mom advised me to "drink some coffee so you actually get in the right car when you get to Kansas City," as in actually find my sister. Haha, thanks for the advice, Mom.

Now for a tangent. I don't know if you notice this, but I think that first class is the stupidest invention ever. EVER. Seriously, what purpose does it serve? Unless you want to shell out enourmous amounts of money on a flight, why else would you sit first class? The only excuse I could find was on a looooong flight (I'd say over 4 hours) in which the comfortableness (yes, I just made that word up) of the seat would be good for sleeping. On the plane from Chicago to Kansas City, I thought it was ridiculous. The flight attendant brought a glass cup with some sort of alcohol to almost every passenger in first class. Really, people?! Is it necessary? You can't hold off for an hour and a half till you get to your destination? YOU'RE PAYING FOR A GLASS CUP!!!! I think it's ridiculous.

So now that I'm back in the States, how am I feeling? Well, I feel like I don't belong. My poor sister, God bless her, is such a sweetheart for putting up with my not-always-positive attitude. I can't even describe it. It's like I'm a stranger in a strange land. I literally don't feel like I belong. I know this will pass with time, but right now I'm exhausted and confused. I find myself getting tired of speaking in English and still speak in Spanish. This can't be good for one's brain. I know I have to adjust at some point, and I'm sure I will. The trick will be combining the me now with the me I was before, because I'm different now. So if you see me, and I seem confused/upset/dazed/cranky, please just go with it. I'll be better soon, hopefully.

That's all for now. I'm going to go sleep off some more jet lag.

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