Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pre-Departure/First Blog Post EVER

I'm definitely no expert in blogging, but those that know me know that during my junior year of college (2 years ago ahhhh!) I studied abroad in Palma de Mallorca, Spain aka paradise on earth. It was the most incredible experience and I was so busy being enthralled on a daily basis that I never recorded my amazing times on that island -- blog OR journal. It is my one regret from that year, I would have loved to be able to look back on some random day in Palma and laugh about something silly...so here we are.  Because of that year, I decided Spain and I still had unfinished business together. SO to remedy that situation I applied for a position as an English Teaching Assistant and I was lucky enough to be accepted. This time around however, I will not be in Mallorca (although, Mallorca should be prepared for a constant visitor) I will be in La Rioja, the WINE region of Spain. Lucky me!

I'm going to do my best to update this blog as often as possible...and hopefully with each blog post I'll get better. For example: I found the background of my blog on Google images (a marvelous photo of La Rioja, where I'll be living NBD) which is a sign of a rookie blogger. Once I get to La Rioja, I'll be sure to find my own jaw-dropping image and enhance my blog cred (whatever that means).  I could have gone with the generic bullring background that blogspot offered me, but I figure that La Rioja's culture is based more on their strong connection with wine...but who knows! I've never been there before! Also, I'm hoping the title of this blog is clever and witty enough that it will attract some type of attention. My mom was confused...I had to explain to her it's a play off the MTV reality show The Real World combined with the irony that this will be my entrance into the Real World post-grad...my JOB is in Spain. After careful explanation she got it...she thought it had to do with the show Boy Meets World which she accuses me of being too obsessed with...she isn't wrong though, admittedly I am too obsessed with that show...but nevertheless this blog has nothing to do with that. So for all those confused, there is my explanation. My point is, hopefully I'll get better at this blogging thing.

The journey to La Rioja has not been simple and I'm not even in Spain yet!! I figured that after spending a year in Spain I would be la experta in the visa application process. Not quite. Spain wanted me to painfully jump through hoops to prove how badly I wanted to go back. They changed the entire system, local background checks from the Bow, NH Police Department were no longer sufficient (except the Bow Police are so legitimate I can't understand how the Spanish Consulate decided their documents were mediocre. SO LAME) instead, applicants had to go to the very top: the FBI. Once that background check came back EIGHT WEEKS LATER, one needs to send it back to Washington DC to the US Department of State and get a special stamp on it called the Apostille Stamp of the Hague Convention. That takes an additional FIVE WEEKS. Come on Spain, REALLY??? I feel like I've complained to everyone that was nice enough to listen so long story short, after many phone calls to Holy Cross Study Abroad (shout out to Jeannie LaPlatney...thanks SO MUCH), my state senator, the Spanish Consulate, the US Department of State...I finally got my visa!!

THERE IT IS AS PROOF. So there Spain, now I'm officially free to enter the country. I passed your test. My sister Victoria seems to think I looked stoned in the picture (thanks Vic). WHATEVER, it doesn't matter what the picture looks like -- I'm still going!

The great news is that I have officially reached the single digits as far as my countdown to return to the wonderful country that is Spain. The non-surprise is that I haven't even started packing...whooooopssss, but I'll get to that eventually without trouble I'm sure. That's sarcasm, I already know I am going to have to bring two suitcases and Iberia is going to laugh and say "cough over $60, you can't do that". SUPER. So maybe I should start preparing myself for that. ALRIGHT well, hopefully this first post was good enough to make this blog legitimate enough. I will officially be in Madrid the 29th of September for our program orientation for two days and then I make the big move to Logroño directly after that. To answer the question many others have already posed: no...I don't have an apartment waiting for me in that city. Hotel lodging for the first 3 days should give me plenty of time right?? Stay tuned!!