I am stepping away from my usual blog topics today to participate in the Small Planet Studio questions for the November Blog Mini Challenge. #GlobalLife2014
The question today is: Tell us about your first global experience.
It was the Spring of 1982, my Senior year in high school. I was traveling to Spain with a group of kids from my school and our Spanish teacher, who also happened to be my Italian teacher. Our itinerary had us flying into Madrid on Iberia Airlines. I could say that my first global experience was actually on the airplane on our way to Spain. I had flown many times growing up. In fact, when I was little I wanted to be a Flight Attendant. I loved to fly. But, as I learned on our flight to Spain, flying on a U.S. carrier was very different from flying on the Spanish one. Our flight took off from New York City. There were a lot of Spaniards (or at least Spanish speakers) on the plane. The flight attendants spoke in both Spanish and English to give the usual preflight instructions. We were quite impressed. I know we were all thinking several thoughts simultaneously: 1) Oh my gosh, the stewardess spoke so fast! 2) I did not understand the Spanish (Castilian Spanish) part very well. 3) We are going to be in trouble. A short time later, the captain turned off the fasten seat belt and no smoking signs. All of a sudden it was party time. People were walking around the aircraft, or standing in the aisles visiting with friends or random people. They were smoking cigarettes and having cocktails. I was so shocked. I'd never seen anything like that on a U.S. flight. It seemed a far cry from the American way of behaving on a plane. After arriving in Madrid, we did some sightseeing and then traveled south. We visited many historic sites. I was in awe of being on streets and in buildings that were older than anything I had ever seen in the U.S. And the people acted differently than I was used to seeing in the States. I loved how many older women and mothers and daughters would walk through the streets arm in arm…completely unhurried. I loved how groups of kids would sing, and dance and play music in the plazas. It was so different, in many respects, from my American life. We visited several cities. We went to Toledo, Cordoba, Granada, Valencia, and then onto Sevilla in time for Easter weekend. Being in Spain, specifically in Sevilla, during Holy Week was amazing. They had processions through the streets all night long. I can still remember the sounds from the streets below my hotel window, as I tried to fall asleep our last night in Spain. #MyGlobalLife