The Escape Plan by Maddy Moody

It seems that once I fully adapted to my new life in Spain, I had to come back home because of the coronavirus. The coronavirus rapidly spread through Spain. I don’t think anyone realized how devastating things were about to become. Only two days after CEA study abroad program in Seville was canceled, president Trump announced travel restrictions for students coming back from Europe. My roommates frantically called their parents in hopes of finding a flight back to the US. Within a day, all seven of my roommates had thrown their belongings in a suitcase and booked the first flights available. A couple friends and I did not know the severity of the virus, so we decided to stay in Spain during the lockdown. We had unrealistic hopes that within a week we would be able to roam the streets of Seville again. I did not want to believe that this was how my study abroad experience was going to end. I was the only one out of my seven roommates who was still in the downtown apartment. During this time my phone ended up breaking, so I had no way to contact anyone besides through my computer. I had planned to move into my friend’s apartment, but the police would not let anyone walk outside (besides to get groceries) and there was no transportation available. I finally came to terms with how dangerous this situation was. Sevilla became a ghost town. I was stuck.
Typically, I am a very calm person under pressure but the fact I had no phone and there were not many flights home made me very anxious. I booked at least three different flights and each got canceled. My friends who stayed also realized the severity of the situation and tried to find flights back as soon as possible. My mom called me with good news and told me to pack my bags because she found a flight home. The only problem was that the flight was in a couple hours and I still hadn’t packed all of my belongings. I threw my belongings into a suitcase and somehow found a ride to the airport.I had three different connecting flights and traveled for over 35 hours. I was very nervous to travel without a phone, but I ended up making friends on each flight that I took. There were hardly any people in the airport. It was surreal and felt like an apocalypse was happening right before my eyes. I am very thankful I made it home safe. Once I got a phone, my roommate in Spain had messaged me that she had caught the coronavirus (she is okay now). I was nervous that I had it as well so I went to the hospital, but since I didn’t show any symptoms they did not test me. Luckily, everyone in my family is healthy. It is disappointing that this is how my study abroad experience has ended, but I am grateful that I got a chance to travel and push myself out of my comfort zone. I talk on Zoom almost every night with the friends I made in Seville. It’s important to stay united during this time and pray for the health of those who are sick. There will always be more opportunities to travel in the future.

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