This time last year I was in Spain. Trujillo, Spain specifically. And right about now was when I was probably starting to freak out that I was going to be there for a whole month.
I had just flown across the ocean sitting next to people I didn’t know and not being able to sleep. Things were weird.
I finally fell asleep on the 3-hr bus ride from Madrid only to be woken up by oohs and ahs as we pulled into the little pueblo that was to be our home for the next 4 weeks. Things were getting really weird.
The bus took us down to the circular plaza driving down streets that look more like sidewalks and before I could even think about wiping the drool off of my face (yes there was drool), the bus stopped in front of this crowd of Spanish madres waving excitedly and searching the bus windows for their new son or daughter’s face.
I didn’t want to get off the bus. It was one of those times where my body just told my brain, heart, mind, nerves, fears, etc. to shut up and took over. (And since my body was only running on about 3-hrs sleep, there was no joking around)
Obviously, I got off the bus.
I got off the bus and entered the sea of cheek-kissing chaos as random women grabbed me and hugged me and compared my face to their picture to see if I was the ‘one.’
There was so much Spanish.
Finally, my madre found me. And just as quickly as we had arrived and gotten off of the bus, I was put in a car and whisked away to my new home.
All of a sudden it was just me, my madre, my really heavy eye-lids, and some surprisingly good Spanish conversation. Apparently, when I’m too tired to think about it Spanish just rolls off the tongue.
Those first few days were hazy. I was so so jet-lagged and that, combined with the whirlwind of the trip over/arrival had left me in a zombie-like state.
After some adjusting (you all know how I like my adjustment periods) Trujillo and my Spanish family began to feel like home.
The people I didn’t know in the beginning became my friends (just like my mom said they would) and I was reminded how to slow down, live in the moment, and enjoy a tinto de verano.
I had to pack up shy and scared Mel and just dive right in…and seeing as I am usually the kind of girl that uses the pool steps even in the middle of July, this was no easy task.
I give you the credit Spain. Thank you for bringing out my confidence…my boldness. Thank you for giving me new friends and many opportunities to dance. Thank you for being home to my second family where I speak another language, am the youngest instead of the oldest, and have 3 older brothers to look after me.
Thanks for churros and sunrises, steep cobblestone hills (and the workout they gave me), castles at sunset, and a history older than what I can wrap my head around.
Thanks for making Zara, H&M, and pizza so easy to find in every city, and for having the equivalent to the American ‘Mad Mouse’ at your fairs.
Thanks for impromptu jam sessions and late nights, and for comfort zones that stretch.
Thank you for the time of my life.
I never thought I’d be crying as I boarded the same bus I didn’t want to get off of 4 weeks earlier.
**Dedicado con amor a mi familia española y a mis amigos del viaje**