First Day – Travel to Madrid, Spain

As the days were winding down to my departure off to Madrid, I wanted time to freeze and slow down. Knowing that you are saying goodbye to loved ones is hard. Not fully having an idea on when you will be returning home makes the goodbye more difficult. Life is also unpredictable. Every breath we take is a blessing and we do not know when our last breath will be. Knock on wood that nothing will happen to anyone I care about, but you still never know what is next to come.

My aunt picked me up at 4AM and drove me to the airport. There we chatted for an hour and had breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks. My aunt has always been super supportive of my adventurous soul. From Las Vegas I departed to LAX. I arrived at LAX at 7:40AM. My flight to Madrid, Spain didn’t depart till 6:40PM.

You will learn a lot sitting in an airport. I’ve never sat in an international terminal for more than three hours. Since I was sitting for ten hours I was able to experience a lot. Watching loved ones saying good bye to their family members that live in different countries really pulled on my heart strings. Who knows when they will see them again. Who knows when life will shake their worlds. Be thankful for the family you have around you every single day. Even if they aren’t blood relatives but close friends, they are still family.

I also loved sitting in a space with so many different types of people. Different skin tones, different dialects/accents, different fashions and styles, religious beliefs, etc. It’s such a beautiful thing to sit back and watch everyone interacting with each other.

This new chapter in my life hadn’t hit me until I was sitting at my gate waiting to board. When I first arrived at Gate 150 I was one of the first people sitting down. Slowly people started to trickle in sitting all around me and out of nowhere I noticed everyone was speaking Spanish. Then BAM, it smacked me. Holy shit, I’m on the way to Madrid, Spain right now. As of now I don’t have a visa, so I’ll only be staying for the 90 days that I’m allowed to stay. Plan is, if I truly love it, I will find a way to stay even longer. Shortly after everything hit me my grandpa called me. I thought “shit, I’m about to speak Spanish around all of these people and feel so weird.” Weird, because I’m not confident in the way I speak Spanish. Once I picked up and started speaking a woman to the left of me looked at me surprised, in that moment I built some confidence and totally killed my conversation with my grandpa and didn’t even stutter on words.

From Los Angles, California to Madrid, Spain I flew with Norwegian. It was my first time flying with the airline, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had heard that the airline itself wasn’t so bad, but it was your cheaper international airline. Which I can see the cheap part. My one-way ticket to Madrid from LA only costed me around $180. I then bought a ticket from Las Vegas to LAX, which was another $40. So, all together it costed me $220 to get to Madrid. That price of course does not include my baggage. Which for my first airline costed me $75 (which would have only costed me $25 originally but my luggage was overweight by 15 pounds and I was too lazy to change anything around in my bag). Don’t be lazy like me and change stuff around if you are able to. Might as well save the extra cash. Once I walked over to Norwegian to see if I was able to check in they told me my back was going to cost $180. WHAT?! The representative told me it was $80 originally and $100 since it was overweight. I still had about 7 hours till I could check my bags in anyways. So, I decided to jump on their website and see what their weight restrictions were. I noticed they only charge 40 Euros for a check in bag if you do it online and 6 hours before your flight. So, I purchased it and in American dollars it came out to $47. I then started to rearrange my bag. Per Norwegians website you can take 1 carry on for free and one personal bag for under the seat. So, I took two pairs of boots, a big coat, my tripod out of my suitcase and put it in my backpack. Then I had a personal bag that I added some books I brought with me. This really lightened up the load on my suitcase.

The previous representative told me to go back over at 1PM to check my bags in. So, I walked back over to the Norwegian front desk at 1PM and started getting my items checked in. There was a new woman at the desk. I asked her if she could weigh my bag to make sure it was the right weight, so I won’t be overcharged. She said it was over by two pounds, but she would just let it slide and then realized that the Madrid bag check in wasn’t until 2:40PM. I patiently walked back over to the sitting area and continued people watching. Finally, soooo ready to be at my gate so I can find food and relax, I walked up to the desk once again at 2:40PM. The same representative was standing behind the desk and I went directly to her since she was already previously helping me. We are getting the passport verification portion taken care of. I ask her if it’s still cool for her to let my little overweight bag slide and she looked at me confused and slightly annoyed but answered “yeah that’s fine.” Her and her twin sister were working the front desk and I noticed how beautiful they both were. I figured it was only appropriate to tell her since she seemed slightly annoyed with me and I just wanted to put a smile on her face. I ended up asking her if her and her sister modeled because they were beautiful, and she got excited by my question and told me yes, they do and started rambling on about modeling. She then had me put my carry on bag on the scale to make sure it was on their 10-pound limit. Of course, it was over, but she looked at me and smiled and said she would also let it slide.

So, all together my one way to Madrid was about $342. I still saved money by breaking up my flight myself, but I don’t think I would ever fly Norwegian again. The 10-hour flight to Madrid wasn’t the most comfortable flight. I haven’t flown out of the country a lot but the few flights that I have done were better experiences than flying with Norwegian. Right when we got onto the flight to board I noticed that the seats had less space in them. The moment the little girl in front of me put down her chair, it was literally inches away from sitting on my lap. I would not have been able to comfortably move out of my seat if I needed to. The staff wasn’t the fuzziest staff. Each of them had resting bitch face the entire flight. I am used to airlines providing meals for international flights. Norwegian does not include meals or drinks. You literally have to pay for everything and a bottle of water was $4. They did not provide blankets, pillows, or earphones. For such a long flight, I would rather spend the money next time to have all the comfy accommodations. If you are on a budget the airplane was clean and nice. So, it wasn’t all horrible, just not what I am used to for such a long flight.

Take off was delayed an hour but once we landed in Madrid going through customs was a breeze. Normally I would have to fill out an immigration paper, but Spain didn’t have us do one. And when I got to the police officer, he just asked me: Where I was going, how long I was going to be here for, and why I was there? Once I answered his questions he said they were all good reasons and sent me along my way. Seriously a cake walk. Once I grabbed my luggage I felt nervous about meeting the family and kids I will be au pairing. I walked out and scanned the crowed to see if I recognized anyone and then I saw the mom. I walked over and said hello. She greeted me, and all my nerves instantly disappeared. Having spoken to the family a few times already I felt comfortable and like we were long lost relatives.

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