I’m here!

October 31, 2008

A million hours later, the eagle, aka Hoolia, has landed in Barcelona. What a trip thus far. I have to preface this post with the fact that I have not had a “real” night since I left NYC at 6:40pm and arrived to Dublin at 5:15am, though the flight was only 6 hours. The time difference helped me skip the sleepin part, so I’m a bit groggy.

Let me first share my observations from Dublin:

1. “Cheerio” and “buggy” are commonly used words and I couldn’t help but giggle.

2. I may not be welcome back into Ireland, for real.The customs guy gave me the third degree about what I was doing in Europe, when I was going to get a return ticket from Spain, why I was there, etc. He plugged info into the computer and marked my passport suspiciously.

3. Paying for a muffin and orange juice with a bill and getting euro coins back, in dollar amounts, was interesting. At first I felt jipped, but then I looked at the amounts and smiled.

4. I got off the plane and had no idea where to go. Go figure. That was not the first time that has happened to me internationally.

5. Garth Brooks’ song, “Ireland” was in my head as I was landing, but unlike him, where he says, “Ireland I am coming home,” I most definitely was not.

But that is that and now I’m in rainy/stormy Barcelona. Ramon picked me up, and we went to look at cell phones (I have a local number here cause, well, I guess I’m a local, if only an impersonator), then had a Coca Cola Zero and a tapa in the plaza. Good times thus far, though it’s hard to believe I am in fact not just a visitor here.

This city is pretty interesting! So much more to explore and enjoy…


Catch Ya in the Flip Side!

October 30, 2008

In 12 hours, I will be in the air headed toward the land of four leaf clovers, Guiness and rainbows! Confused? Dublin is just a stop over. After a couple hours there, I will then be headed to the land of Gaudi, bull fights, sangria and tapas! No more English speaking citizens, instead, full Spanish/Catalan immersion!

Every so often, I get a wave of nervousness, but for the most part, I have been pretty calm. It really has been nice having my dad with me in New York though because soon enough, it’s me, myself and I. I’m definitely one to appreciate experiences on my own, but I enjoy experiences a lot more when I have someone to share them with. 

When I arrive in Barcelona tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. local time, Ramon is going to pick me up. Ramon who? Well here is when the shout out comes. I would like to give a shout out to my friend Scott for connecting me with Ramon in Barcelona. It’s so nice to know that I will walk out of the gate and see a friendly face, as opposed to having to figure out how to take the bus or subway to some location in the city after a sleepless night. So thanks a hundred times over!

I’m lucky enough to also know Wawi, a former co worker, who is from Barcelona. She has offered her place to me for the first two nights before I move in with the host family and I am incredibly grateful.

Here I go!!

Get to New York, Check!

October 29, 2008

The travel part to the first leg of the trip has come and gone, but that’s not without a few little hiccups along the way! I’m telling ya, you couldn’t write a script for all the mishaps that happened yesterday. From delays in the sky, to turbulence, to two trips to the Oakland airport cause we had our flight time wrong, to waiting 1.5 hours just for the bags to come out in one carousel and then having to go to another to get them, to being then stuck on the bridge for an extra 15 minutes, at 1:00 a.m., we arrived, safe and sound.

I brought two suitcases and an over the shoulder carry on. By all girl standards, I think that is quite impressive! Mind you that one bag weighs 70 pounds, but that’s not important, cause I want to repeat, just two bags 🙂

The weather in New York is quite the shock to my poor California system, but I’m going to bundle up and enjoy one of my last days in the US of A. Tomorrow, Hoolia goes international!

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

October 27, 2008

For those loyal readers (I know you’re out there!), the day has come when I predicted my dad would be singing the song, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” He happens to be in Phoenix, so he has yet to grace me with his oh so beautiful singing voice, but indeed, tomorrow my journey begins.  

I’ve definitely made up for all the lack of tears leading up to this time. That’s right, the flood gates have been lifted! It’s been hard to say goodbye to everyone who has meant something to me in my life, though I know it’s more of a “see you later” than a goodbye goodbye. Mixed with the unknown of what it will really be like moving thousands of miles away and with so many things up in the air, I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed with emotion. I think it’s to be expected and pretty normal to be nervous.

I feel very fortunate to be given this chance to explore a great country and live independently in a place so different than what has historically been comfortable for me. I’m very much looking forward to the experience, though it’s hard to believe it’s finally happening. My life as I know it here is in two bags set to travel thousands of miles away….

Stay tuned!

Ripping Off the Band-Aid

October 24, 2008

I said one of my tougher farewells last night, this time to my grandma. I have made no secret how special and dear my grandma is to me, so similar to ripping off a band-aid, the actual goodbye was really fast. A quick hug, a few quick words and off I went. Still no tears, but I definitely felt pretty emotional about it.

I went over to her house in the afternoon and since she just got a computer set up in her extra room, I showed her pictures from the wedding. Our show and tell was fun, then we watched Barefoot Contessa and Paula Deen on the Food Network. Subsequently, we got pretty hungry! We ate a restaurant where the place was packed with seniors and I was the youngest by probably 25 years!

What topped the night was watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune together, something we do relatively often. What can I say, it’s just our thing. She plays solitaire and we guess questions and puzzles together. In fact, last night, someone on Wheel won a trip to Spain. Funny timing.

Before the goodbye hug, I bookmarked my blog on the computer and gave her a quick tutorial on how to access it. The mouse was hard for her to move and navigate, but hopefully she will get the hang of it. If not, I know she will appreciate my phone calls and the photos my mom will show her 🙂

The Packing Has Begun

October 22, 2008

I have started packing up my apartment and in doing so, I have gotten pretty nostalgic. I have looked through old photo albums, old momentos and found special things that were buried among a lot of crap I have collected over the past 3.5 years. I almost feel like I’m in a soap opera where I come across a photo, sit still and reminsce about old times, as everything around me stops 🙂

It’s been interesting to pack up the boxes and take these trips down memory lane on my own. I have called my mom every so often to share some memories, which I think she enjoys, so that has been nice. The one “finding” that really stopped me in my tracks was photos of my grandpa, who I called poppy. He passed away, but he was such a fun loving, energetic, hilarious guy who lightened up any room. I even found an old note from him that really defined his personality. I know he would be proud of me for this move, so I can only hope he is with me in spirit.

Back to packing!

Goodbye Round Uno

October 20, 2008

My brother’s wedding was fantastic. Oddly enough, he is now a husband, he has a wife and I have sister in law! Funny how these things work. It was so special to be with family and friends from near and far. A year of planning for a weekend has now come and gone, so now onto what the future will hold…

As I anticipated, I said farewell for a while to a lot of people, including my brother and sister in law (because they are going on a long honeymoon and won’t be back before I go). What I didn’t anticipate was my lack of tears. I’m generally a pretty emotional person and I have yet to shed any tears about anything! It’s a strange numbness, or complete denial, but regardless, it’s really weird. My dad assured me that this build up will come to a boil when we leave for New York, in which case, lucky him! 🙂

Every so often I get a pang of nervousness and every so often I have to take a deep breath to avoid a “freak out.” This move is so exciting, but it’s also so new and so different. A year’s planning for this move has almost come and gone and now and my new journey is going to begin, similar to my brother’s journey with his new wife.

Check out a photo of the three of us…