The FedEx man brought me my visa today. So, I am officially allowed to go to Spain and apply for my temporary resident status!
I was hesitant to buy my plane ticket until I got my visa, because you just never know. Although it was pretty much 99% certain before, not having a visa in my hand meant that something could still go wrong. But, now that I have the visa, I have bought my plane ticket, too. I will be leaving Nashville at noon on September 14th, and I will arrive in Madrid at 10am on September 15th.
Once I get to Spain, I will be there for 9 months with little possibility of coming home before my term is up. While I will have breaks from time to time, I will more than likely be using those breaks for travel and other activities. Of course, I will miss my family and friends, but living in Europe is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I want to take full advantage of. With occasional holidays and a 17 day Christmas break, I will use my free days to travel around Spain and around Europe to see as much as I can while I am there. 9 months will go much more quickly than you might think, so I want to do all that I can so as not to leave myself wanting.
Truth be told, I have no idea what it is that I will actually do while I am there, but I am quite confident that it will be amazing. I have visions of traveling around Europe, staying in hostels, eating weird foods and chatting with locals. But, the reality is that I don't know what will happen. I have never been to Europe, and while I know all of the major things that are there (the ones that everyone knows about) I don't know of everything that Europe has to offer. While I do want to see those major things, I would also like to venture off the beaten path and see some less famous sites. Usually, it is the small, quaint, less known places that really show the character of any given place. I want to see the history, the heart, the soul of Europe. I want to really feel the places that I go. Waiting in line at the Eiffel Tower for 4 hours and then trekking to the top for 15 minutes with 100 other people is not really the situation most conducive to feeling France. Of course, I will make that trek to the top of the Eiffel Tower with all of the other camera-toting tourists, but it is my goal to not just do those types of things. I want to go to small towns, old castles, remote prairies and secluded beaches. I want to see the real Europe.
Perhaps my goals are a bit grandiose, but I am convinced that that is part of the beauty of this whole experience. I am allowed to be a bit grandiose, a bit naive. This trip to Europe is my chance to just be. I am allowed to have ridiculous ideas and plans. It is ok for me think and act like a kid in a candy store. In fact, Europe is pretty much the candy store of the world, and well, I am still a kid as far as I'm concerned. No other place in the world has so much diversity and so much accessibility, and I want to take advantage of those things while I'm there.