You Have Snacks For The Flight? Too Bad; You Can’t Eat Them
And I’m too much of a good citizen to defy that particular rule. Especially since if the individual DOES have a severe allergic reaction, I know exactly how it will go when they call “Is there a doctor on board?” and I show up with peanut on my breath to try to save the rapidly crashing victim. Caused by moi. Whoops.
I pray to God an Epi-pen or two will be enough to keep them alive until the plane can touch down if something does happen, because Benadryl and oxygen sure aren’t going to cut it if they are crumping fast, and I have almost no earthly idea how to place an airway, which is what they would need at that point. And no, I’m NOT going to insert a pen tracheotomy, no matter how sexy and easy it looks in the movies.
Where The White People Are
Where was I? Oh yeah, getting off the plane in Norway.
So I stumble off the airplane after over 12 hours with no meal service, sleep or meaningful activity. My eyes are burning, I’m irritable, my skin is parched and I am hangry as all hell. And then I look up... and I see White People.
White People! Tall People! Tall White People! They’re everywhere!! It’s so strange, I’m trying not to stare in slack-jawed amazement because I’m so weirded out by it. Standing in line to go through customs is a trip; I can’t decide which of my fellow passengers to pretend not to be staring at.
And for the first time in forever, they expect me to be able to speak the local language, based solely on my looks. Granted, I do indeed have Norwegian blood, and I surely look the part, but my ancestors crossed the pond hundreds of years ago, and I don’t speak a single word of Norwegian. I uncomfortably answer in English, and every single one of them responds in comfortably-conversational to highly-fluent English.
I am jealous of their language ability. And annoyed that I finally get taken for a local but I CAN’T CUT IT because I don’t speak the language.
After 4 hours staring at and socializing with the lovely people in Norway, I hop on yet another plane, for another 4 hours in the air, this time to Madrid. I arrive at oh-dark-hundred, arrive to my hotel and fall straight asleep.
Madrid – What’s Your Backup Plan?
And realize my computer is dying.
Now I have 30 precious hours in Madrid, and a list a mile long of the amazing things I want to see and do.
Am I sipping chocolate and nibbling churros in the Plaza Mayor? Am I admiring the statues in the Plaza de España while munching contentedly on a tortilla de patata? Am I strolling comfortably through the Plaza de Callao?
Instead, I’m annoyed, sweaty and overtired, striding purposefully through “Plaza de Where The Hell Am I” to try to find a strip mall that has an electronics store where I can buy an external hard drive to back my data before things get worse.
Fortunately, I am eventually able to find what I need, and even find a bookstore to buy a couple of books for learning Portuguese by way of Spanish, since it’s so much closer than English. I do get to enjoy a few of the famous Plazas for a few hours, too, as you can tell by the pictures.
Culture Shock Reprise
I love Terceira. I have only been here once before, a couple of years ago for Christmas, but the friends I have here loved me so much when we met that they adopted me instantly into the family. And the feeling was mutual, so here I am back again.
However, I’m in full-on reverse culture-shock mode. I compare everything around me to Japan and Asia, and often find it lacking. Even though my Portuguese is better than my Japanese, everything I say comes out in Japanese first, because my brain is stuck in the mode of trying to be understood in Asia. No one here speaks English or Spanish though, let alone Japanese, so it’s sink or swim time.
And I intend to swim.
Until next time,