The journey begins; 22 days of traveling and adventuring through three different cities: Barcelona, Paris, and then London. The first stop of the journey starts in Fiumicino, Italy, where my travel buddy (Minari) and I stay for two nights before departing to Barcelona.
I’m sitting here in the San Francisco Int’l Airport excited for my trip. I had started packing two days prior to leaving for the trip. While my mom drove me, my two luggage, dad, sister, and my dog, to the airport this morning, I had a hard time processing how this moment was here. During moments of spring and summer, people would ask me of my plans for fall quarter and I always had an answer perfect and prepared: “I’m studying abroad in Europe!” Yet this realization that I was going to be in a whole other continent did not really hit, till the moment came that I was leaving. And here I was, about to embark on this journey.
As I went through the motions of checking in my olive-green four-wheeled luggage into Swiss Airlines, I headed into security, where the travelers were to be separated from family members. I was struck with emotion; I was saying goodbye to my family, my comfort, and home. As I took out my laptop and off my shoes and jacket, the intense feelings of sadness gave way to feeling of gratitude for the opportunity given to me to travel and study abroad. That gratitude transformed into excitement as I made my way out of security and into my terminal and gate.
The first leg of the flight was from San Francisco into Zürich, Switzerland. Funny enough, a fellow alumni from my high school, was on the same flight. We chatted and connected again. Crazy how even a world as big as ours we’re able to meet people at times, talk about coincidence.
I arrived at around 3:30 pm to Fiumicino and was absolutely starving. I found a cafeteria looking out into the airplane arrivals and departure, and grabbed my first pasta in Italy and Europe. It was quite filling and I spent my time in that cafeteria (exact same one I was in when leaving Rome to go back), while waiting for my travel buddy, Minari.
Despite it being around 6 pm in Italy, a strong wave of extreme exhaustion went over me. I FaceTimed with my family to ensure that I would stay awake rather than fall asleep with my two pieces of luggage in an airport in Italy. Time passes by fast when traveling, and before I knew it Minari had arrived. Her flight had been delayed, and our main form of communication was through Facebook messenger (please download this if you haven’t for your travels). She was outside of arrivals, so there I was quickly packing my items in my bag, excited to finally meet in person and head to our hotel.
I had two takeaways during the flight over from California to Zürich, Switzerland to Fiumicino, Italy, that I wrote down during my trip that I will list down here.
- I thought Europe would be a whole new world. Yet there was a familiarity to it despite it being a completely different culture, country, and continent. People were still people, and yes people had the same look when it came to waiting in line through security.
- There is a different definition of body space. My space of comfort was at least a foot between your nose to my nose. Least to say I learned real quick, bodyspace was not a norm.
Alright time for some highlights! The plane ride and luggage process, from checking in and pick-up went relatively smoothly. I also got to meet up with my travel buddy Minari after months of Skyping and planning for our trip! 🙂 We also ended off our day of traveling with a night of good rest.
Next post will cover what we did during our days at Fiumicino! (Click here to read)