Part of me is so excited to come back -- seeing family, friends, Mickey (and my parents got a KITTEN named Toby while I was gone), having access to a piano, Mexican/Thai/everything food, yuppie coffee drinks, working (yes, I miss working), overwhelming greenery everywhere, UW campus, my bed....on and on and on. Sureshot café, Trilium park, Shari´s with Lanie, hot roommates, Mickey jumping on me at 5 AM, driving (DRIVING) to The Valley, long talks with my favorite hippie, Trader Joe´s, Pike Place, my family all in one place.....I could go on and on.
But what am I leaving behind? An adventure. Some of the kindest, most generous and sincere people I´ve ever been blessed to know -- even with a language barrier. La Caleta, Santa María, Playa Victoria. The bluest sky I´ve ever seen. Months upon months of glorious, drenching sunshine. Sangria. Tinto de veranos. Plaza de Mina, de San Francisco, de San Antonio, ¨del cine¨, de los Flores. Goliath gym (ha ha). Lack of ´personal bubble´ concept. Amazing hand and facial gestures. Unabashed hugs and kisses. Flamenco on the street. El Castillo. Canasta. Compartir una cama con mi amorcito. Señor Inocente, mi ito. Palm trees. La Avenida. Lazy summer mornings fading to lazy summer days and nights. Café con leche, café cortado (mejor decir, cor-ta-o). Felipe, whom (thank god), I never actually had as a professor. 10,000 repititions of ¨The Prayer¨ in various locations all over Cádiz and Spain..and Portugal. Music nights with Jaime. Bartering with uni workers. Té marroquí. Nights out with Jackie. Dinners at Alden´s. The crazy cat. UMEC, Nahu, El Tostadero, the coffeeshop cerca del cine, ¨the tea place¨, WOODSTOCK! No es amor, es una obsesión. Topless beaches being the norm. Gazpacho every day. La moda. Operación Triunfo. Maricarmen, José, María, Valero, Pépe, Marián, Ángela, Álvaro, Seba, Niko...Yoko, Sol, 3 turtles and a handful of fish. Spanish families...I have 3 of them now. Hours upon hours of conversation with Javier Fernández Arenas. Jedi Queens. Diablita. Carnaval. Cruz Campo. La Universidad de Cádiz - Filosofía y Letras. A winter without indoor heating. Photoshoots. El botellón. Antes muerta que sencilla. La heladería en la Plaza de Mina. Again, I could go on and on...
And beyond Cádiz, there´s the rest of Spain I encountered: Jerez de la Frontera, San Fernando, Chiclana de la Frontera, Madrid, Salamanca, Mérida, Toledo, Guadalupe, Ronda, Seville, Bologna, Málaga, Trujillo, Valdelavilla, Arcos de la Frontera, Sierra de Grazalema, Granada, Córdoba, Tarifa, Algecíras, etc...
And the rest of the world:
Scotland: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Culden Bay
Germany: Tübingen, Münich, Metzingen, Heidelberg, Dachau, etc..
Italy: Rome, Venice, Florence
Portugal: Lisbon, Sintra, Belén
Morocco: Marrakesh, Casablanca
How do I leave this crazy adventure and go back to the routine of class, work, study? I graduate in a year and I have no idea exactly what I want to do with my life. I thought coming here would help me figure out what I wanted to pursue, but it has opened more doors rather than shut them. Rather than have one single path to lead me thru the forest, I have a fucking huge field, and I am unclear as to which direction I should explore.
I am so torn. It´s ironic but this feeling is quite similar to the one I had a year ago -- before leaving for Spain. Jumping into the unknown. The difference is that returning to the states isn´t exactly unknown -- but it is picking up a life I left behind. It kind of feels like returning to the past....only time has elapsed - a lot of time - and I am changed for it.
I don´t know what people will expect, or if anyone (beyond family and close friends) will really care (or notice?) that I´m back. I don´t expect anyone to have the patience to sit thru as I tell them all the stories and cover the floor with thousands of pictures, nor do I expect to be able to understand exactly what has happened to anyone over the year. I worry I won´t be able to relate to my family or friends the way I used to; it scares me that they might not know how to relate to me or I to them; it scares me that people I feel I should know better than anyone and who, likewise, should know me better than anyone, are now people whom I have had very little contact with in nearly a year. I think it´s fundamentally this element that has me so all over the place, emotionally speaking.