Yesterday was a whole lifetime experienced and realized in just one day. I had my early game theory exam and was sitting on the aisle– one of the students came up and asked me in Spanish if she could sit there. Generally the local students took one look at me, and all the other Americans, and laughed, so it was like a perfect ending.
I truthfully knew nothing on the game theory exam, even though I had studied for more than 10 hours the weekend before! There were parts, like figuring out the Bayesian Equilibrium or doing a Cournot Game, that I knew but they were always intertwined into other questions that made no sense. I’m not sure how to find the Nash Equilibrium when we’re not even told the payoffs or given a single number in the whole question. But I suppose it’s over now, so there’s no use in fretting more about those impossible classes.
The total exam time was two and a half hours and everyone was still madly scratching away when I had done all the work I could. I thought about waiting there for other people to start turning tests in so I wasn’t such an outlier, but this was my last final in a school I’ll never be back to in a city that resides in a different country than the one I live in and most of these students wouldn’t even recognize me so it’s not like I would ever see them again. So I packed my stuff, turned in the test, and left to go pack. All I want to do now is get home.
I went on a wild goose chase for a suitcase because of the clothes I had accumulated during my stay. No regrets, but finding a reasonably priced suitcase was much harder than you would think. My parents were on the phone with the airline as soon as they woke up that morning. The airline had thought they were doing me a favor by upgrading me to premium, but in turn I got stuck in the middle aisle. Ever since my head injury I’ve had horrible motion sickness so having the window seat on the plane is vital to my health and wellbeing. If I couldn’t see out the window to stabilize myself, I’d get sick all over the place. They were on hold for three hours before being told that the airline couldn’t change it back, that I would have to do it at the airport tomorrow morning. A stressful thought as I proceeded to stuff my entire life from the past six months into a $20 roller duffel bag.
After hours of rolling and stuffing and sitting on suitcases, all of my things were finally zipped away. I was sitting at my dining room table, all of my roommates already having left, and I was eating plain pasta. It’s funny, you think you’re going to be a brand new person when you go abroad, but here I am eating the same boring pasta that I ate almost every day during the summer. Safe to say my taste buds did not expand at all during my time in Madrid.
But as I was sitting at that table, there was more brewing than just unseasoned pasta. When I left the Madrid university for the last time, I put a picture of the school on my Instagram story with the caption, “easiest goodbye” since the school was so incredibly hard. The goalie from the men’s soccer team at my university who happens to be from Madrid, Adan, responded to it, jokingly asking if I really hated Madrid that much. We had a short conversation about the school, my time in Madrid, and where I lived before he hit me with the, “Could I get your Snap so we can keep talking and hang out when we’re back at uni?”
When I tell you I completely dropped my phone into my bowl of pasta and dramatically stood up from the table in shock I am not being dramatic. However I do find the entire thing quite odd. I interviewed Adan and photographed him tons in the fall and there was no kind of communication. I texted him just in September asking for his soccer team plugs here in Madrid and after he gave me a few contacts there was nothing else said. We won’t talk about how I already gave him my number when we had the discussion in September… or how we could have continued the conversation just fine over Instagram. Boys are an enigma. I suppose sometimes it takes moving across the world to see what lies in your backyard… or university.
However I made myself a resolution for the New year, which I believe should start when you declare them, not when January 1st rolls round. I always tell Ada how much fun relationships and boys and all of this is and how she needs to stop thinking so much about being hurt by it and what might happen in the future and just appreciate how beautiful and funny having young, bad relationships is (please forget the fact that I myself have never been in a relationship). I do stand by this, and in my heart I 100% believe it, but the problem is that my brain is a bit stubborn and gets a bit too hung up on school and work and not seeming like someone who is boy crazy but at the end of the day, I am! I just don’t believe that I have what it takes to be certifiably, publicly boy-crazy and therefore I shut myself off entirely. Maybe Adan will be a dry texter, maybe I won’t even like him that much once we get to talking, maybe he wants a really clingy relationship where they see each other every day and have no other hobbies… but who cares at this current moment? I can end it if one of these things are true, I don’t have to prematurely stop it from happening just because one of these things might be true. A lot of my youth was spent being overly responsible and training hours on end and then missing out on a lot because I was sick, I think it’s a good time that I got my youth back!
So I did give Adan my Snapchat (although a bit cringey and middle-schoolerish), and I did turn on notifications and I have been trying to keep the conversation going as well as one can who is currently traveling for 12 hours straight. I am trying not to be too intrigued by the analytics and logic and psychology of this whole uproar, and trying my best to take my own advice in not thinking too far ahead but instead just dealing with life as it comes at me.
Unfortunately though I oftentimes have my sights set so much higher, even in a small sense. At the moment that feels poetic, but when I read it back in a few days when I’m not breathing in recycled airplane air I might think differently. What I’m alluding to, in the literal, in my airplane seat. I was able to switch to an aisle seat on the Madrid to Amsterdam flight, but Amsterdam to Detroit was full. I was sitting in the middle seat of the middle row of the international plane and I was beyond anxious as the trip into Amsterdam was a bit bumpy and made me nauseous even with a window seat. When I stepped aboard the flight to Detroit I asked the first flight attendant if she could help me switch to a window and she told me to ask around. This wasn’t the exact response I was looking for. I asked one woman before realizing that most people would not give up a window seat for a double middle, even if it was in premium.
I tried another flight attendant as a last resort and she said she would ask around, but that I didn’t want to give up the bigger chairs. I understood where she was coming from completely, but it’s hard to explain briefly why I would take half the room just for a window. I accepted my painful fate and sat back down, picking my fingers and staring at the wall in front of me trying not to cry. Ten minutes later the flight attendant showed back up to say that some people weren’t showing up and there was a window spot open. I jumped out of the chair before she could finish the sentence. She said I had to give them 10 more minutes to show up, but I must have looked as anxious as I felt because she came back two minutes later and told me to go to the other seat. She would tell the couple they had to split up if they ended up coming.
They never showed, so not only did I get a window seat, but I also got the seat next to me free while still being in fancy premium. I felt like a real businesswoman sitting up there with all the other premium passengers. The first seat I was in didn’t have a chair in front of it for my carryon and now I have an extra seat just for my backpack to sit on. When the announcers said the doors had been locked, she came back over, gave me a fist bump, and said “Mission accomplished!” I texted Ada and Lennon, “I just interacted with God in the form of a woman.”
So I sit here and I stow all of my little premium gifts into my already full backpack with the pure intention of wrapping them up and gifting them to Caden as my Christmas present to him. If I scratch out the Delta symbol, he will never know. I put up the footrest and watched ‘She’s the Man’ with my Delta noise canceling headphones. I watch the sunset over the clouds and get up to go pee far too many times, just because I can. Everytime the woman walks by I make sure she sees I am appreciating the window, and I take one of her fancy waters. I drink a lot so that all of those trips to the bathroom aren’t in vain. I ate potatoes and green beans and broccoli for dinner because the chicken had onions on it, but the items filled me up because of all the water. When the staff came by with complimentary sparkling why they didn’t ask me if I wanted any. At that point I checked the map, and we were directly over Ireland. I should have tapped them on the shoulder and told them the drinking age in Ireland is 18, therefore pour me some sparkles! Though I would like to keep my head on straight as I had another connection after this, so I did not do that.
I get home at 9pm and the last I heard, with a puncture of disdain in Mother Hen’s voice, that Caden will not yet be home from his Texas roadtrip escapade with his Girlfriend when I arrive home. A few nights ago he made her sleep in the car in a Walmart parking lot and they had McDonalds for breakfast. Girlfriend is from Portugal, so Caden thought this was a very American activity. Caden and I had slept in the car during our trip to the Grand Canyon, and I reminded Mother Hen of this, along with the time he made me walk alone, at night, on the side of a busy street to find a bathroom because he didn’t want to move the car. I made it seem like I was telling a funny story, but I secretly hoped that she would reprimand Caden for this.
It will be interesting to see Caden’s relationship with Girlfriend up close, as they started dating when I was in Madrid and have never spoken to her. I cannot imagine Caden bringing around a girlfriend, my analysis of how he would act isn’t computing. I believe he would get quiet and almost act as if she wasn’t there even when she’s talking, but Father Rooster says this is not the case.
I am extra suspicious of Girlfriend since she is a study abroad student from Portugal, and I have seen first hand how much study abroad students want to have a study-abroad-romance during their time. Fully support the motto, but my big brother is not some kind of tool to spice up the Instagram and get some good stories. Nala understands my suspicions. She is a secondary source for all the boyfriends my roommates have had. Even the Portuguese man that flew all the way to Madrid thinking that the love was mutual, and having Maeve tell me how weird she thought it was.
While I’m stuck on this metal tube with not much to do, I suppose I should determine how I should act around her. Should I make my suspicions known on my very expressive face, or should I welcome her in like I have nothing against her? Possibly a combination of the two would be most adequate, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Either way, she will most likely come to the conclusion that I am entirely dismissive. For one, because I naturally am so she would be right about that one. For two, I will indeed be sleeping for the entirety of the next two days so she, and everyone else, will just have to deal with that. If they missed me enough, they should find enjoyment in watching me while I slumber.
P.S. I greatly hope I do not regret posting this for the public to see. Eight hours of recycled air and being back in a public setting where everyone is speaking English and wearing shirts of universities and sports teams that I know is diluting reality.
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