I made it to Malaga, Spain and my next move was to get to Granada where I would be living for the next six months. After spending the night in Malaga because my plane got in so late, I was trying to figure out how to get a city bus to the main bus station to get another bus to Granada. After eating breakfast with a nice Polish family who spoke perfect English and telling them I had to cross the highway with two suitcases to get to the bus stop, they were kind enough to offer me a ride. After they dropped me off I knew I would be speaking Spanish from there on out and that I was on my own until I got to Granada where a lady named Vickie, also from the University of Montana, was going to meet me. After talking to the bus driver (in Spanish) and him not responding to me and just shrugging his shoulders, I thought to myself maybe it would just be obvious where I needed to get off. At one point I saw a bunch of bus stops and what looked like to be a city center so I got off. I ask some different people at newsstands where I could find a bus to Granada and they all told me I was in the wrong place. When I asked what bus I could take to get to the main bus station most people ignored me or just didn’t say anything. I felt invisible but stood out like a sore thumb. I was wearing a white Nike hat, a sweatshirt, black yoga pants, and sneakers that day with a backpack and two suitcases; apparently looking like a complete tourist and speaking Spanish with a semi American accent wasn’t working in my favor. I started crying in the middle of this “city center” already feeling defeated my very first day in Spain. Then not too long after this little old lady came up to me and asked me if I needed help. After I told her where I needed to go, she grabbed one of my suitcases grabbed my arm and we headed onto a bus. She rode all the way with me to the real city center of Malaga, got off the bus with me and pointed to exactly where I needed to go to get a bus to Granada. She told me she had a granddaughter and hoped someone would do the same for her if she were ever in this kind of situation. I thank her and grabbed a bus to Granada. I showed up without having a place to live and without knowing anyone except Vickie. Vickie helped me find a place to live after a week, showed me the bus routes, the city, and all the things I needed to know before starting school in February. I realized at this point that even though self-reliance was so important to me on my trip, I needed others along the way to guide me and help me. I wanted complete independence when moving to Spain but without the few connections I made with Vickie, my Russian roommate Elina, my Mexican American friend Crystal, and my German friend Christina, I would have been even more lost and alone than I already was at times.
One of my first weeks in Granada in the Albayzín district