10 things you should do (or not) to nicely start your Erasmus journey.
If I wrote this article right after I arrived I would have called it “the worst days ever”. What? Is it a bit too melodramatic?
Let me explain. Lot of sh*t happened even before I came to Spain, which made me want to go back home crying on Monday, January 30th, the day of this new start. Here are some advice I made up, based on my own bad experiences:
Advice number 1: Do not wait the final moment (the day before you leave) to pack your things. Why? Read the second advice.
Advice number 2: Buy some real vacuum bag and not the ones at 99 cents of your local store. It will be helpful when you will leave with 35 kilos of luggage for the airport. I am not a fashion victim but you have to admit that 4 sweatshirts, 2 t-shirts, 10 pairs of socks and a few underwear is not really enough for six months. I won’t even tell you about my heartbreak when I realize I had to leave my books behind me.
Advice number 3: Do not use a vacuum that is as old as you (aka 20 years old) to vacuum your bags. It will catch fire. (True story, I am not even kidding)
Advice number 4: Even if your mom sit on your suitcase to help you to lock it, DO NOT force. It will break. You will only end up with a broken suitcase in your hands, the day before you leave.
Advice number 5: Make sure to print your plane tickets (even the one of your connecting flight you forgot about) otherwise you will run to your hotel’s reception where you stay, your hands shaking, to do it quickly.
Advice number 6: Make sure that the airline company you chose is nice and won’t ask you to put everything your backpack contains in your cabin luggage. It will save you 10 minutes of wresting like the Incredible Hulk.
This last adventure helped me to see there is still kindness in this world, tho. This kindness is Juan, a sweet grandfather of Majorca who offered me to help me. Without him I couldn’t take the plane with my two “bags” and I couldn’t find a way in and out at Barcelona’s airport. Seriously, 30 minutes of bus from a terminal to another? Such a kindness melted my heart and after jabbering English and Spanish we exchanged our numbers to keep in touch.
Advice number 7: Pray so your mobile phone won’t go insane when you will insert a new Spanish SIM card and erase all your contacts numbers.
So I don’t have a way to contact Juan anymore, we left each other at Barcelona’s airport and I think that, unfortunately, we will never see each other again. The thought that I can’t send him a thank you text really sadden me.
Advice number 8: Hold tightly the map of Granada your youth hostel gave you so you won’t lose it and come back with a barely-working google maps and 4% of battery on your mobile phone. (It was close!)
Advice number 9: Harass your bank during your appointment before you leave, to know everything about your contract and the conditions abroad. Do not trust them blindly when they will tell you that “you don’t have a maximum of cash withdrawal in one week”, and that “you don’t pay commission while you are in the Euro Zone”. Why? Because otherwise you will be blocked 3 days without being able of withdrawing cash, which is really unpractical in country like Spain where you pay your rent and deposit cash.
A bonus one, that I almost completely applied:
Advice number 10: Pack your body care products carefully in hermetic bags. This way, your super-expensive organic black shampoo won’t re-decorate your wardrobe.
You thought it was over? No, no, no. Let’s go for a final one.
Advice number 10 (a): Go enjoy the rebajas. You only have 4 jumpers and 3 t-shirts for six months anyway. But before, think about sticking your shopping bags to your skin to not lose a bag. Did you forget it in the street? Or someone graciously served her/himself without you noticing? The mystery remains unsolved.
I now hope to go back to my good karma. This morning I walked into dog poo with my left shoe so I guess I will get lucky (this is popular belief in France). We shall see. I will go back quickly with another article on my… “Auberge espagnole”!