One of the very first things that I learn about travel, especially plane travel, is that unexpected things happen that we have no control over. The ability to understand that and be flexible is attributed to resiliency or being able to bounce back. The beginning of my study abroad experience was a large test of my resiliency. My journey to arriving in Barcelona was filled with a few unexpected events, like snow on the East coast of the Unites States.
The process of getting to Barcelona was about 20 hours, with two layovers in both the United States and Germany. In order to arrive on the date that was set by my program I had to leave a day before from the U.S. On my way to the airport I got a notification that my first flight, the flight needed to connect to the international flight, had been delayed due to weather. Thus giving twenty minutes to make my international connection. I knew I would be able to make it since I Googled a map of the airport and found that the gates were near each other. I checked-in, said goodbye to my mom, made my way through security, and was on my way to the gate, and to Barcelona!
As I was walking to the gate I got the news that my flight to the East coast had been delayed once more. I started to feel some anxiety setting in. Due to the delay, I was no longer able to make my connection and I needed to be in Barcelona the next day. So I walked up to the flight desk and explained to them I would miss my connection. They then spent the next fifteen to twenty minutes trying to re-construct my itinerary. The snow that I had wished for all winter break finally came! However not in the way I had hoped. The only way I could get out of the country was the next day on another flight, putting me in Barcelona a day late. It was the only option available so I took it.
I contacted the staff in Barcelona, notifying them of my arrival and the events that occurred. In the meantime my mom, thankfully she had not left the airport, booked a hotel that had a shuttle to take to the airport the next morning. The next day I finally began my journey to Barcelona! It was a long one but I arrived here with all my bags and in time for the second part of our orientation.
Although the delay in my journey was not part of the plan, it worked out in the end. I made it to Barcelona in the morning so I got to finish the afternoon of my orientation. And I was able to meet other students doing a home stay (living with a host family) like me.
Despite the challenges in my journey to get to Spain, my love for travel and airports has not changed. If anything its grown a little because I know that these delays, while unfortunate for me, where for the safety and concern of travelers. And I know that there is always another flight that goes to the same destination.
A week later looking back on the journey that got me here, I realized (with help from my mom) that it taught me a valuable lesson. One about strength and resilience. I was able to navigate a situation that had factors beyond my control. It showed me that people are willing and able to help find the best possible solutions. And that people understand unpredictability that comes with travel.
Needless to say I have made it to Spain and am already loving Barcelona and all it entails! I am excited to see what adventures are in store and to continue to share my journey, experiences, and what I learn!
Noemi Cerritos Gatto