AU PAIR DIARIES | Day 0: thoughts from the clouds

“Nothing has ever looked like this in all of human history”

Once you get used to the disconcerting idea that you’re not on the ground and when you look down you see a blanket of fluffy white clouds that look thick and soft enough to stand on, or else a patchwork of tiny fields seemingly made for ants, flying isn’t so bad. The worst part is the anticipation; I don’t think I have ever been as nervous for something as I have been for today. Not even exams – the stress factory – were quite this bad. I was terrified for them, but at least I knew I was safe, on solid ground, surrounded by people I knew who spoke my own language. And with exams, there was a definite end to the stress in sight. Going on your own to a foreign country, however… not so much. Plus there’s all the stress before you even get on the plane; all the ‘what ifs’ (am I the only one who worries irrationally that I’ve accidentally packed illegal stuff… I mean, I know I’m not a secret drug dealer carrying three tonnes of hard drugs in my hand luggage… but what if?) and the impatient people behind you as you inadvertently hold up the queue because you’ve no idea what you’re doing, and the added task of not wanting to look as nervous as you feel just in case you look too nervous, you know?

Anyway. I managed to get through security without any problems, avoided any major disasters once I was through, and even managed to find the right gate and get to it on my own. And now, as I look down at the golden-brown patchwork of Spanish fields, all of that panic feels very very small. No doubt it will return when my feet touch solid ground and I have to communicate in Spanish off the top of my head, but until then… well, the view is just magnificent.

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