spain, travel

Plane Tickets and Visas

acceptance letter

I suppose it’s time to announce: I finally bought my plane ticket to Spain on Thursday! I had my eye on a particular day and time that I wanted, and it was in my price range, but I was waiting on my new travel rewards credit card to arrive. I can’t wait to rack up the bonus miles. (I’m planning to use them for travel around Europe. More to come on bonus miles & credit cards later, when I write a nerdy post on finance.) I did buy a return ticket, as much as I initially didn’t want to, because the price difference isn’t that much for two one-ways, and I need to come back next summer anyway since my passport will expire next fall.

My favorite part of my itinerary is that I get to lay over in New York for several hours and see a good friend on my way out of the country. In Madrid, I have the amazing fortune to be meeting one of my most adored study abroad friends, Lisa, who lives in DC. Our planes land at the same time! We’ll spend our time in Madrid, then head up to Santander to spend a few days in the city we met in and became friends. There will be so many memories and laughs, accompanied by sangria, helado, churros, and tortilla de patata. I am so excited to have a friend with me in my first several days abroad and I’m grateful that she’s using her vacation time to come with me!

madrid bushes
Bushes in Madrid never saw such classy ladies.

Yesterday, July 1st, I had my visa appointment at the Spanish consulate in San Francisco during my lunch break. I had been a little anxious about the appointment, despite my obsessive list-making and list-checking, thinking I would bring the wrong forms or do something incorrectly, and most of all, that whoever was processing my visa would be rude and yell at me for bringing the wrong forms. Well, I showed up with my documents in a binder with sheet protectors, because that’s how I roll, and walked up to the window, checked in, and then waited in the lobby. I waited no more than 10 minutes, during which I organized all my forms. I was called in, went upstairs, and sat in an office with a young woman who reviewed all my paperwork. She was incredibly nice, and asked how my Spanish was. I told her “ehhh….just okay” then launched into my “I used to speak it at work” speech (in Spanish), which transitioned into a nice conversation about visiting Spain before, where she’s from (Malaga), and Spain in general. My grammar was decent and the pronunciation was actually pretty good. I felt empowered by the fact that I haven’t forgotten how to speak and understand Spanish in the last two years. I also learned that Semana Santa is better, in her opinion, in Malaga than Sevilla, and that spring is the best time of year to visit. Even better, all my documents were accepted and my visa starts even earlier than I initially expected!  APPROVED. Spain, here I come!