I’ve talked before about the fact I am hooked on countdowns. Whether this is a result of my life as a Northeastern American or a traveler or a perpetual student or a planner – it’s just me. Now that I’ve crested into March, there are a lot of different countdowns in my head – as well as a long glance to the last few months and all the things that I’ve previously counted down to. I’ve enjoyed visits from five American friends (parents included!) and one couch surfer. I’ve traveled to four countries since my arrival (Portugal, Scotland, Italy, Netherlands) and have made countless weekend trips in Spain.
I’ve lived here for six months. Is there an invisible line that one crosses while living abroad? The divide where the most exciting things become the most lamented things and incredible feats of nature and architecture blend into the montage of daily life. When I traveled with Hillary in December, she was so taken by the orange trees and I remember thinking – well, yes. I scolded myself and tried to see those orange trees in the same way, because I can assure you they aren’t growing in Pennsylvania. When I traveled with Holly just a few weeks ago, we went to the monstrous cathedral in Jerez and I thought, “hmm, another one.” Yes, I’ve seen a few (ok, a hundred) – but they’re still pretty amazing. When do we pass from awe to nonchalance?
Here in Spain my friends and I have marched into the lamentation territory with full force. “I’m never going to get a coffee this cheap at home” or “I will never taste a tomato like this again” or “These three baguettes cost me 90 cents, this would never happen in the US.” Making comparisons like this is perilous, because in most cases there is always a winner and a loser. I try to stick to the mantra, it’s not better or worse just different. But try to get me to say that after I’ve devoured a kebab, and .. well.
Right now the main countdown concerns Greece, where I will go for one week in Semana Santa to meet a friend from home. Already our emails are flying back and forth with all sorts of hotels, foods and ideas. (If you’ve been there before, we welcome your recommendations!)
I am equally excited to go home. That’s right, I said it: home! I plan to travel briefly after the program ends, and hope to circle back to my dear state in mid June. What am I most excited about? This time its not peanut butter, because my friends have kept me well equipped in that department. I am ready for hot water on demand, the microwave, the dryer, the toaster oven, Panera, Barnes & Noble and White Orchid. Oh and my family and friends, of course I must note that high on this list is celebrating my new role as honorary auntie to several beautiful babies (Liana, I’m looking at you little one).
Yes, Spain is awesome. But you know what? There is nothing quite like home.