Let’s first acknowledge the fact that I’m sorry my last post was 10 days ago. ((I’m sorry.)) Now that THAT’S out of the way…
This fin de (slang for fin de semana = “weekend”) before this past one was a doozie. It was essentially an all-weekend birthday celebration for my lovely friend, Miri, which I was so thankful to be included in. (What can I say? My new Spanish friends are awesome. They are understanding, kind and patient with me, AND they invite me fun things to do with good company. I’m so grateful.)
While dinner and drinks and a surprise cake at the restaurant on Friday were lovely, Saturday was the real deal. Her boyfriend, Carlos, had planned a surprise potluck party in the country, so we all piled into cars and set off for el campo (“the country”). What was set up before my very eyes was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen a group of friends do to date. Literally on the floor of the forest near a riverbank the group set up the most beautiful little area for everyone to sit, eat, drink, smoke, relax and be merry. They brought plastic to cover the ground, blankets for on top of that, pillows and cushions to sit on and more blankets to cover the cushions. They brought a piece of wood to put in the middle to put candles and hookahs on. They brought string to hang above everything a beautiful, ornate purple lantern with a candle in it. It was literally like a room in a house, but on the ground in the country. Incredible.
Everybody brought food or drink to pass or share, and everything was set up in a circle, so everybody just grabbed a fork and dug in. (Is it a surprise that we ALL got sick the next week? Everybody has the same cold right now and has for the past week, LOL.) It was a beautiful day, and I got to know a bunch more of the group who I hadn’t met yet. All in all, a great day.
And one that got even better. After we all drove back home and relaxed, showered and eat dinner, it was the craziest night out to date. It began with karaoke at the peña, continued on with a lot of drinking and dancing and ended with me going to bed at 6AM. Yes, 6AM. Crazy. Those of you who know me have never seen me up that late at night. Ever. Well, you know what they say, when in
As I mentioned, the next day, Sunday, I started feeling quite under the weather, but I still went out to watch the big Madrid vs. Barca game at a bar with the crew. (I didn’t drink, though, and actually, not really anyone did. I think we all were already starting to feel the effects of the cold we were all getting.) The next morning and the morning after, I had to call in to work and call off my private lessons and things after work, because I literally could not get out of bed. I had the worst fever I can remember having; I actually think I was delirious on Monday. But finally by Wednesday, the fever passed, and I went back to work. I’m still not feeling 100%, especially not today, but I am a functioning member of society, so that will have to do for now.
This past Friday, I went to Sevilla for the afternoon with friends for yet another surprise birthday event. We surprised Paco while he was at the centro commercial (“mall”) eating at Cien Montaditos with his family and his girlfriend, Laura. After he got over the initial shock and opened his present, we sat down with them and ate, too. And then what did we do to have fun after that, you ask? We went to IKEA together. IT. WAS. AWESOME. As funny as it is, I had never been to an IKEA in the states, even though I wanted to go many a time, and I was a frequent peruser of their website and catalogs. IKEA stores are overwhelming in the best way possible: so many people, so many things to look at and yearn for. If I could pluck a bunch of rooms out of there and put them into an apartment, I would in a heartbeat. Frankly, many people in Europe actually do. With a higher level of population density, the apartments are smaller, and IKEA is a perfect (and stylish) solution to organizing a lot of things into a small space.
When we got home from Sevilla, everyone was pretty well beat from being in the car, so after going home to eat and get ready, those of us who came out only went out until 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning, which is calling it a very early night here. The funniest part is October 12 (which was Friday) is the day they celebrate Christopher Columbus day (not sure why), and so there is no school and all of the businesses are shut, except for the bars/cafés/restaurants, obviously. (I actually got woken up by what sounded like canons in the plaza on Friday morning. Everyone made fun of me that I was startled by them.) The bar we frequent, La Estación, had live music on Friday night, and I wish y’all could’ve been there. The band was a cover band playing mostly English songs, and the first song they played? “She Work Hard For The Money” by Donna Summer. Enough said.
I had a very productive Saturday, running to the market and doing laundry - general household chores that I had been neglecting, due to my illness. Miri came over at 4:30 to help me shave my head, a task long overdue. I was so happy to have someone willing to help me out with the back of my head - the one part I can’t do myself (without cutting myself or screwing up royally, ask Natalie) - and what happens? My electric razor breaks with not even the whole back of my head done. I looked like a freak with a capitol F. Luckily, Miri’s brother came to the rescue with his electric razor, so we could finish the job, and they took mine to their father to see if he can fix it.
There was more live music at La Estación on Saturday, and this time, it was much better than the night prior. We had a small group of people together, and we were having a good time listening to the music, dancing a little, singing when we knew the words and laughing a lot. Again, another early night, however, even earlier than Friday, because the boys had planned a game in the countryside with air soft guns - a hobby of theirs - and they had to get up early in the morning to head out there. All things considered, it was probably a good idea to not drink that night and catch up on some sleep, since I’m still sick.
Problem was that it gave me a lot of time to feel even more homesick than I already was feeling Friday and Saturday. It started Friday before we left for Sevilla. I’m not sure why. In all honesty, it’s probably because I’m starting to feel comfortable here. I have work figured out. I have an apartment. I have friends. I have things to do. So when we were playing it tame this weekend, it gave me too much time to think about the things I used to be comfortable with back home: the food I miss, the people I miss, the activities I miss, the COFFEE I miss.
My friends noticed I was being extra quiet this weekend, and I knew I was being extra quiet, but I didn’t know how to put how I was feeling into Spanish for them. (I’m already more quiet than at home, if you can believe it (ha ha), because people in the south of Spain speak wicked fast, and I can’t quite keep up yet, as far as inserting myself into conversations.) And Miri said something that really struck a chord with me on Friday in the car on the way home from Sevilla; she told me that she thought what I was doing - picking up my life and moving all by myself to another country, away from home - was extremely brave, and she was very proud of my courage. I can’t even begin to tell you how much it meant to me to have someone recognize how hard it is to do what I’m doing. You know I’m not looking for a pity party, by any means, but it certainly puts a mental and emotional strain on a person, and for that to be recognized by someone here? It means the world and then some.
But my two days of homesickness are over (for now). Today I woke up convinced to turn things around. I got a bunch done at home again, and then I dragged myself out of bed to get coffee with my friends. We went to a café I had never been to before yet, and they had the most delicious ice cream coffee drinks. Dea also bought Miri, herself and I another drink, whose name is escaping me right now, but it was incredible. I also think it had booze in it, but no pasa nada (“no problem/not a big deal”), haha. They were bebidas para mujeres (“~girly drinks”), as Miri kept saying, but I was more than okay with that.
After coffee, we went back to the peña to watch the incredible Felix Baumgartner break the sound barrier, díos mío. We watched his ascent for so long that a ridiculous amount of suspense had built up, and we were all waiting on bated breath to see if he could really do it and live. Much to our surprise and excitement, he completed the fall with great success, and we all could finally breathe once more. If you haven’t seen it yet, YouTube it. Immediately. It’s a sight to see.
AND NOW, I have caught you up to this very moment. I walked home to get my computer and straight to the café where I am typing this now, so I could call a few folks, eat dinner and use the Internet. (I still don’t have it at my apartment, but that will hopefully be changing by, at most, the end of this week.) I apologize for the super duper extra long blog post today, but I was negligent, and I hope to have properly gotten you all up to speed now.
All my love and hugs and kisses to y’all back in the states. Keep holding down the fort for me. And send me an email every now and again. ;)