Gina in Granada

Conquering Europe One Step at a Time


I’m finally here! My European adventure started in London, England where I had about 48 hours to cram in a few hundred years of history and culture. However, before I delve into that, I would like to share a tidbit (or several) about my plane ride overseas…

It all started approximately 6:45 p.m. when my originally scheduled 7:15 flight was delayed to 8:00. Uneasy, and nervous for another cancellation, I found a seat in the terminal amongst families returning home, students embarking on study abroad programs, and other various characters. One in particular who irked me like no other being has. Directly across from me was a middle aged man accompanied by a woman. As I eavesdropped I discovered they were professors at Lafayette College (don’t worry, I googled it too). Anyways, this man was the most pretentious individual in perhaps the universe. He had snide remarks for EVERYTHING, and critiqued every person, place, and thing in the airport. He didn’t even look cool doing it. His droopy cheek muscles and out of date glasses did nothing for him. I counted down the moments until our separation, and eventually it was time to board.

I took a seat on the aisle of row 21. 21C to be exact, next to a quiet Asian woman who I knew would avoid any communication with me, and therefore I was content. Well, before I even had a chance to get my phone out of my bag, a British woman to my right tapped me on the shoulder. “Excuse me,” she said in the sweetest accent, “would you mind switching seats with my husband a few rows back. You see, I have two young children and it would make my life a bit easier if he was closer to us.” I peered at her two perfect blonde hair, blue eyed children and paused for a moment. I really didn’t want to move, but I also didn’t want to be that rude American Girl. So, I complied and packed up my belongings. She thanked me repeatedly and led me back to her husband. 25,26,27..28. Row 28. Seat C. Right next to the bathroom,great. The last row in the section with non reclining chairs, excellent. And lo and behold- directly next to the asshole from the terminal. I was too upset to even panic. Instead I stared at him and gave a forced half smile. I had to play it cool and make minimal contact.

Firstly, let me start off by saying that before the plane even took off, this man, Michael O’Neill (yes, I checked his boarding pass), began scarfing down a bag of peanut M&M’s as if he was training for the candy olympics. Perhaps the fact that I’m a camp counselor played a role in my initial shock, but is it not fairly common these days for peanut allergies? He didn’t so much as think to warn me about the treat that had a 1.3% chance of sending me into anaphylactic shock. I know this may not have been intentional, but if I had a cat, or a hive of bees in my carry-on, I would have consulted with him first.

Moving on. Between his frequent grunts and deep exhalations, he managed to find something to watch. In fact, he managed to find the same exact movie as I did. I became extremely uncomfortable watching “What’s Your Number?” with this man. It certainly wasn’t rated PG, nor was it a movie anyone his age should be remotely interested in watching. After the movie, at approximately 11:00 p.m. he asked me if he could get by to use the restroom. I found this to be an opportune moment to 1, go myself, and 2, be extra friendly so he doesn’t shoot me when he has his psychotic break. I moved with no hesitation and said “sure, no problem!” Extra charismatically, of course. He went to the bathroom, I went to the bathroom and then he proceeded to stand outside the door for a few more minutes after which he went back inside and switched the lock on the door to “occupied.” I thought to myself perhaps he’s stretching his legs in private, but soon two minutes turned to five, five turned to seven, seven turned to ten, and at that point I began to panic and contemplate my hiding spot for his upcoming attack. For those of you who know me personally, it probably comes as no surprise to know that I unbuckled my seatbelt and placed myself on the edge of my seat, legitimately ready to dodge a bullet. For a second I thought “you know what I was nice to him, maybe he’ll spare my life if he really is a lunatic.” Then I thought “my mom would strangle me if she knew I switched seats.” She’s superstitious about these kinds of things. Finally, about two seconds before I was going to inform a flight attendant that there was a bomb being mounted in the bathroom, he emerged. Trembling, I let him return to his seat and watched him for 40 minutes as his hands twitched rapidly and his breathing got heavier. I came to the conclusion that this man either had Tourettes Syndrome, or just did heroin in an airplane bathroom.Needless to say I have never been happier to get off an aircraft.

I spent the next 48 hours being a stereotypical tourist in London. I saw Big Ben, walked the route of the royal precession, toured the National Gallery, drove over the London Bridge (the one Fergie sings about!) searched for the Spice Girls, etc. I even rode the tube, the world’s deepest underground subway system. Buying the all day rail pass was a good investment considering how many neighborhoods we stopped to explore. I never realized just how huge London is. It was super bustling, and the people were friendly. Both nights I wound up at the same little pub. The atmosphere was really nice and only a minute or two walk from our hotel. On a side note, London is extremely expensive and I felt like a peasant. I think two days was enough.

However,I AM FINALLY SETTLED INTO MY RESIDENCIA IN GRANADA! Our group briefly explored the city today, and I have already fallen in love. The sidewalks are all made of beautiful tile, there is an Arabic influence in many sections, and not to mention this week began one of the two sale seasons,  so the shop windows are even more enticing than normal. The weather this week has been unusually nice, but who’s complaining?! We ended our day with churros and chocolate, and getting lost for the first time trying to find where we live.  The churros were as delicious as you are imagining. Luckily we’ll be doing a lot of walking here.

Anyway, tomorrow morning is our placement test for the Spanish class we will be taking for the next month. Wish me mucho luck!


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