Day One: Spain

November 7, 2013 – Madrid to Seville, Spain

The past few days have been a blur of catching flights, packing, catching more flights. I just got back from an amazing (and also eye opening) trip to Costa Rica, when I came home, packed my bags, and headed to the next country. Oh, btw I’m in Spain.

Ok. So. Let’s backtrack. How did I end up in Spain? Will Koon and I were meeting about ISLA; going over our projects, discussing the next few months for isla’s future, planning. Lots of planning. And of course team building and beers:) I had just found out that my trip to Thailand wasn’t going to happen (my friend moved home after an unexpected and dangerous bout with kidney failure) but my time off was already approved. If you know education you know how long that can take and i figured that it wasn’t worth the effort to renig, and frankly I didn’t want to! I love vacations I just had to figure out what to do with the remaining time… and then Will mentioned his 8 week trip and next thing you know, I receive the confirmation email for my flight! Yeah!

It’s kinda crazy because if I wasn’t a part of ISLA, I wouldn’t even know Will. and this trip wouldn’t be happening at all. It’s pretty wild to think about how we are an organization with volunteers from all over, it’s like having a huge family. (a huge family…with crazy hours. My world clock on my phone has over 12 locations around the world. always checking that app.) I love it though. I love our volunteers. Seriously, they’re just amazing.

The plan was to fly into Madrid and meet Will in Cordoba in a few days. I’ve been to Madrid before, but I have never traveled by myself.  Which was daunting, but I was pretty excited. I rented a spot in an apartment with Airbnb, and I just loved it. Art all over the walls, jewelry hanging everywhere or scattered on tables (so basically just like my place haha), a room with a balcony and a great view, and books…soo many books.

I arrived at 9am and after an epic nap I chatted with the host, Olga. She spoke only Spanish, we chatted for a bit, talked directions, things to do, etc. Then I met the woman in the next room.

So there I am, Day One in Spain and she goes, “I thought you were from here! And then I heard you talk.” UGH fail. epic Spanish fail. Despite having parents that speak Spanish, despite taking Spanish in high school, despite living in Southern California, and despite traveling to many Spanish speaking countries growing up and even more recently on ISLA trips…mi Spanish es mal. Oh well, I’m meeting Will in a few days. I’m letting him do alll the talking.

but forget that. let’s talk about the win here. you thought I was from here? This fashionable city? yes. this is an epic fashion win.

So in Madrid I went to Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, explored the city, ate churros with chocolate an gines (which has been open since 1894! AND IS DELICIOUS), went on a half day tour of Toledo, and hung out with the people in the apartment.

Anyways, Will was coming off of his travels after the World Conference on Drowning Prevention in Germany, and was in Cordoba, Spain. And after chatting we decided to meet up in Seville, Spain. And if you know me. You know I can´t navigate. So the thought of leaving my apartment, finding the train station, and getting the right train to Seville…yikes. but I did it! And I only had to ask one person for help. Day Two in Spain, Spanish skills are improving!

So if you’re on the south side of Spain…hit us up! We’re going to be traveling all over and would love to meet others in the drowning prevention world. Check back soon, we’ll be traveling blogging…if we can tear ourselves away from the tapas. tapas tour 2013. haha.  

 

-Raquel

 

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