My first trip to Europe was two years ago, when I was 17, to Barcelona, Spain. I had traveled overseas before, but never somewhere so far away. It is a trip I most certainly will never forget.
First of all, it was quite an unexpected journey because the whole trip was a surprise. I knew that my boyfriend and his family were going away that August because he had told me at the beginning of the summer; what I had no idea was that I was going to be invited to go along with them.
The most I had traveled on a plane was about four hours, so a direct flight from Aguadilla to Barcelona was pretty excruciating. I get really nervous on planes. Thankfully, the journey lasted all night so I slept right through it. Once on Spanish soil, I was flooded with the sounds of languages I had never heard spoken: Russian, Indian, Mandarin, Arabic, Swedish, Italian..it was a kaleidoscope of sound. I felt strange - being so accustomed to europeans as foreigners, I really had no idea what it was like to be the odd one out with my hispanic background.
Barcelona is incredibly vibrant, a clash of the times: cathedrals from the 17th century stood next to modern offices and hotels. During the taxi ride into the city, I learned that we were in a province called Catalunya, which I learned is an autonomous community with official status of nationality. It even has it's own official language, Catalan (which is a mixture of French and Spanish). I certainly felt a link to home then, coming from a place that is still struggling with its identity. I had always admired European culture form afar (one of my best friend is Spanish), but I had never actually been there before. Actually being in Europe was a real eye-opener to different ways of life.