I just saw Eat, Pray, Love for the first time on this plane ride to Barcelona. I am flying by myself across the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. I accidentally mixed creamer and sugar into tea because I thought it was coffee for the first time. Lots of first here on this July 5.

I am a believer in everything happening for a reason.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a 21 year old college gal who is used to being away from my family for long periods of time because, you know — schoolwork, organizations, friends, mental health, social life, church — it catches up to you. But being home for 2 1/2 weeks before my trip made me feel like I was a high schooler again, in the best way. I was really going to miss my parents and the crazy kiddos I call my siblings. When I hugged my mom goodbye as I went up the escalator, I tried so hard not to cry. I have been so excited for this trip for months, I didn’t anticipate the nerves to come as much as they did. But that was okay, too.

So was my flight being delayed almost 2 hours.

It was one of those very hot days in LA and even though I was nervous to board, I was ready to leave — but our plane wasn’t. We had already pulled away from the terminal when the pilot says an engineer needs to double check something on the plane. But hey, better that than something going wrong on your first flight across the Atlantic right?

I was lucky enough to get the window seat, even though this dude was sitting in it hoping no one showed up (sorry I need the window seat lol). But the real lucky part was that the two guys sitting next to me are locals from Barcelona, Spain who came to travel the coast of California to surf! They speak Spanish and Catalan (which I was trying to learn via DuoLingo as I tried out the 10ish words I knew). It’s cool to speak Spanish with them because even though it sounds a little different (and faster) we are able to communicate, which is the super cool thing about learning multiple languages. A friend once described to me that once the language barrier is broken, the personality can soar. I want to show my personality to Spain, who I am.

I journaled this a little before I boarded, but without having my expectations or hopes too high, I am ready for this life-changing experience everyone keeps telling me I am about to have. I don’t need to rediscover who I am because I already love who I’ve become, BUT I am excited to see the ways in which I grow, the only way God can teach me in the place I am about to explore. Vengo por ti Espana.

Hasta luego,


Paulina Hernandez studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain in summer 2018: