Airport benches, planes, airport floors, train stations, cafés against the wall, sleepers two feet wide on overnight trains, buses, backseats of cars, park benches…these are all places in which I have become adept at sleeping, regardless of noise, light, time of day, temperature, and comfort.
Perhaps this ability started many years ago as I shared rooms with sibling after sibling, or lived in the six-girl at Theta, but it has definitely been honed in the last year of my life as I travel from country to country. I can’t complain…though I would never call these “quality sleeps”, oftentimes interrupted by security guards telling me I need to move to a different area of the airport or something similar. I guess that endless number of all-nighters I pulled in college have prepared me for this, though my “adult internal clock” always wants me in bed by midnight now. Oh, the effects of growing up.
On to the real purpose of this article–my adjustment back to Spain in the past week and a half, as well as my trip to Sevilla. Let me begin by stating that I am lucky to be in Galicia with a wonderful school/staff that is incredibly welcoming and supporting. My village is beautiful, albeit itty bitty, and I couldn’t ask for more (besides heat, clothes dryer, or less humidity….creature comforts I guess). With that being said, I fell in love with Sevilla. I now know why my friend Katelyn, her boyfriend, Matt, and many other people who studied in Sevilla are obsessed with it. Yes, the Andalusians have a crazy accent where they drop off the last half of every other word, but I surprisingly understood the majority as I didn’t have to worry about Gallego. The sunshine felt great, the city is beautiful, and all of the university students everywhere made me feel as if I was in a Spanish version of Bloomington, which I’ve already shared is one of my favorite places on this Earth. Some highlights from the trip:
- Getting to spend time with Julie!!!! She’s a Theta friend/sister that headed back to Texas after graduation and is in grad school now for Speech & Language Pathology, at which she’ll be fabulous. (You might remember her from my “WWJD” Blog Post awhile back.)
- Visiting many sites, which would be endless to list…if you’re interested for details, email me. I can share the list of recommendations that my other friend, Katelyn, so wonderfully gave to me.
- Getting shushed by the woman dancing flamenco at this little bar, La Carbonería. I literally was whispering to some new friends I had made and she goes “Shhhhhhhhhh” for a super long time. Many people turned to look at me as she was giving the death stare. Mortifying.
- Going to Dos de Mayo, one of Katelyn & Matt’s favorite taperías and telling Paco, the owner, that their favorite American friends said hi….as she told me to do. He was such a cute little man and quite chatty as he then gave us shots of this cream licor.
- Going out to this club that had three different floors….for different styles of music. It was a fun time, and we made friends who wanted to practice their English, so we enjoyed talking with them!
- Trying to navigate the tiny streets of some areas….oh wait.
- Tasting the orange upon my arrival that Julie pulled off a tree from the street. There’s a reason all of those oranges stay on the trees and no one eats them….
- Eating at this incredible restaurant, Vineria San Telmo, yet another Katelyn recommendation. I tried a multitude of dishes, including “salmorejo” which is like a cold puree of tomato and garlic…it was interesting at first and then grew on me, an eggplant, goat cheese, tomato, salmon, and something else stack, and roasted lamb. The beauty of Spain eating is that you can order “tapa sizes” of most everything (or smaller portions to share) and try 4 or 5 different dishes in one meal!
- Sitting in the sunshine one day at this plaza for many hours alone, reading the rest of the Hunger Games series (again) on a bench. I also spent a good amount of time people watching before promptly falling asleep on the bench.
- Riding the tram illegally because I didn’t pay attention to buying the ticket.
- Going to Cádiz and stopping in Jerez de la Frontera on the way back to do a wine tour at Gonzalez Byass, which produces Tío Pepe wine (and sherry). It was absolutely the best wine tour I’ve ever been on in my life. The guide was this tiny woman who switched between English and German throughout the entire tour perfectly…then occasionally Spanish to the workers. I was so impressed by her.
I can’t think of anything else special right now…I’m sure there were things, but they’re escaping my mind. All in all, a fabulous trip and now I’ve returned to reality! Getting settled back into school, private lessons, and in general, my schedule once again. I thought I’d feel strangely after being home and coming back….but it feels like I never went home! OH….I finally tried “pulpo” with one of my teachers…if you don’t know what that is, it’s OCTOPUS. A common speciality here in Galicia…there’s tons of “pulperías” everywhere. It actually had an awesome flavor because the legs are all chopped up and cooked in olive oil and sprinkled with paprika. The outside skin was a bit slimy and the muscles part were more firm, but I actually enjoyed it! Even with the suckers visible on the tentacles. Especially with a bit of bread…you eat it with a toothpick. I took a picture (the little boy is my teacher’s son, Ramón, and he is PRECIOUS. I’ve spent a couple nights with him and we have a lot of fun together. 🙂
Oh, and other photos are now on facebook as well.
On another note, taxes are coming up! haha. But in regards to money, I’ve recently set up a Mint.com account, and it’s the coolest, most useful thing I’ve probably done on the internet (besides Facebook naturally). You link all your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, etc to it and it tracks spending, lets you know if you’re over budgets in certain areas (helps you set budgets in order to save or whatever you need to do), reminds you of due dates, and a million other things. If you’re a new graduate and struggling with figuring out finances or just anybody else, you should check it out. https://www.mint.com/
Food for thought: I’m at the café right now looking like a fool for a couple reasons…wet hair in a braid as I just showered after working out then came straight here, no makeup, in yoga pants with my boots, and on my computer….all things the Spaniards never do at a café or in public. They ALWAYS look put together and never sit at a computer in a café. Clearly I’m American. But that’s all besides the point that I’m trying to make…when I entered, I asked the girl what time they close because it’s nearly 10pm. I know her from a few other things and she just goes “Tranquila….tranquila”, as in “Calm down…you’re fine.” It cracked me up inside because that’s so my nature and a culture thing. We are so anal about hours of businesses in the states. Here, it’s just live and let live.
Here are some “relaxing” quotes:
For fast-acting relief, try slowing down. ~Lily Tomlin
Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering. ~Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne
Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way. ~Douglas Pagels, These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You — I love this one!
How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward. ~Spanish Proverb — How ironic…spanish proverb.
Stress can hold you back from all the things you want to do, but make some time for yourself, stop and smell the roses as you go by, and new doors will open for you.
P.S. The café is now FILLED with people watching some big Barcelona v. Madrid soccer game, and I’m still here alone on my computer…awkwarddd.