Saturday, June 11, 2011

Home sweet home :) And SO happy!

There's NO place like home.

Well, I MADE IT! I'm currently sitting on my couch in at my house in my beautiful Gorham, Maine, and quite honestly, I've never been more content! Mind you, it's 6am and I can't sleep, because my sleeping pattern has been thrown WAY off, but it's fine! I figured why not use the time to blog it out, let you guys know how the whole return went!

I'll start out by saying, could have gone a bit smoother. First of all, my taxi came at 5am yesterday morning, right? So I of course barely slept, but went to bed around 3, just for a quick cat nap before the taxi came. OF COURSE my alarm didn't go off, and so at 5 minutes to 5 Maribel comes into my room, "Katie, it's almost 5!" So, that was a little rough. Threw all my stuff together, HOPEFULLY have everything! But anyway, so the taxi guy got there at 5, got all my stuff in the car, and said bye to Maribel. Really sad, definitely going to miss her :( She gave me a cute tank top as a going away present .. she really was the BEST and I think about every day how blessed I was to have such a wonderful host mom! So saying goodbye to her definitely brought tears to my eyes, but I somehow will see her again I hope and I will definitely keep in touch!

So then my taxi picked up Ky, which was nice, so we went to our flight out of Sevilla together! Everything went pretty smoothly at the Sevilla airport, and we got to Madrid by 8am! Problems then arose. My flight from Madrid to NY was supposed to leave at 10am, but had been delayed until 1:30. I ALMOST DIED. I just wanted to leave at that point! And I knew that if I took that flight I'd miss my connecting flight from NY to Boston. So, had to figure that one out -- but it ended up working in my favor HARD CORE! They changed my flight so I would go directly to Boston! I WAS THRILLED. Course, I had to wait until 1:55 for the flight, but I still ended up getting home earlier than I would have!

So before I left on my flight, Ky left for Chicago at 11:55. It was really weird, and seriously sad saying goodbye to her. This girl has been such an amazing friend and support system all throughout my time in Spain, and we have had the most hilarious and craziest times together, and it's weird to say goodbye and not know when I'll see her again. Chicago and Maine aren't exactly neighbors. But I am sure that I will be seeing her, just not when. So I definitely teared up saying bye to her, and she did too. But really she was such a blessing in my life and I know we'll be life long friends!

Anyway, so then before my flight left, the last thing I did was change my euros into dollars, and I gotta say, seeing that LOVELY dollar bill again is a beautiful thing! :) So anyway, it wasn't too long before my flight to Boston left, and so I just waited around, read a little bit, and before I knew it I was on that plane and we were taking off, Boston bound!

The plane ride was around 7 hours - and I can easily say the longest 7 hours of my life. The entire time I was just SO excited about getting home and seeing my family, and so of course that doesn't make it go by ANY faster. Made a friend on the flight -- name's Jason, was in Spain for some technical engineering-ish conference, and is from Boston. Cool stuff. Mostly I spent the plane ride attempting to sleep (and clearly failing) and watching Will and Grace! They always get me through :) Haha!

But we finally landed in Boston around 4pm US time. So weird..extremely long day! So, there I go, land in the US, everything's perfect..right? Nope. Where are my suitcases? Yeah, Madrid didn't send them. So I waited around the stupid baggage collection a good 5 extra minutes, but they never came, so I had to figure all that out. Apparently they'll be here Monday, or so they tell me.

But suitcases were the last thing on my mind. All I cared about was getting out and seeing my family. And let me tell you, it was an AMAZING reunion! I loved walking out the doors to seeing my sister with a poster she had made saying "Welcome Home" on the car ride down, and seeing my parents with their cameras documenting the experience. I sprinted up to them and hugged them as hard as I could, and I seriously felt SO happy. Reuniting with my family was amazing, and I seriously NEVER want to leave them!


Best friends.

So there was ONE thing I wanted before leaving the airport -- Dunkin Donuts of COURSE! My sister and I RUN ON IT. So there was one right near where I got in, so we went! But, I had said before, we all know how Dunks isn't too reliable. I had always said, I know the first iced coffee they make me when I get back will be a fail. Needless to say, it was. But I tried to drink it anyway, and was just happy to have Dunks with my sister again :) I've seriously missed it. And of COURSE her. MY BEST FRIEND, DUH!

So, failed dunks in our hands, we got back to the car and we headed home! I couldn't wait to give them their souvenirs..luckily they had all been in my carry on, so I busted them all out! Coffee mugs for mom and dad, a few magnets for the fridge, Kristi a Sevilla bag, a bracelet, and a coaster with a sisters quote on it! Pretty sure they liked it all! :) The car ride home was awesome. I have seriously never been so happy in my life. And despite how tired I was, I couldn't shut up. I just LOVED being back with my family again. We stopped along the way for dinner, at flatbread's pizza in Portsmouth, NH! IT WAS SO GOOD! My sister and I got pizzas with carmelized onions, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and probably more that I'm forgetting, but they were SO good! Mom got veggie, which I tried and was good, and Dad of course got like meat lover's special. Haha, gotta love him! But it was so much fun. And the car ride home was just full of my sister and I laughing like always, as if things never changed! So much fun. And pulling into my street and driveway, I have really just never felt so content and happy. I have missed this amazing place so much!

Getting home, I loved seeing the house and everything as I remembered it -- except for, oh wait, the NEW FLAT SCREEN TV IN THE LIVING ROOM!!!!!!!! WHAT?!!?!!! MY FAMILY HAS KEPT THIS FROM ME FOR MONTHS NOW. WE HAVE A FLAT SCREEN? No more stupid ugly fat box in the living room, NOW WE'RE SLEEK SHINY AND LOVING IT! Can't get over it! So clearly now I will be spending more time than I did before on my couch watching TV, as if I didn't already spend enough! I told everyone in Spain that I'm so excited to just hang out and watch TV at home with my family - something I've SERIOUSLY missed. I know, how stupid right, but whatever, to me, I love it!

So I loved looking around the house, seeing all the new things, and just being home! My room as always is disgusting and I have a LOT of cleaning and rearranging to do as I never really moved in after Christmas break. But that's fine....ANOTHER DAY!

So, to close out the night, my sister and I made our favorite mix that we discovered over winter. Consists of:
- Rice chex
- Pretzels
- Craisins
- Dried papaya
- Popcorn (kettle corn - comes in a red bag)

Drove down to cumberland farms, grabbed some diet pepsis to go with it, and had a great night hanging out on the couch enjoying our delicious mix! Sadly we enjoyed it as the Bruins lost, but whatevs! Last night I was just so happy to be with my family, and as we all sat in our normal spots in the living room, I knew, I was really home. :)

Sevilla was amazing. It was such a wonderful experience. There were times it was SO hard, there were times it was hilarious, there were times that were incredible. I learned so much about life and different culture there. It really opened my eyes to see that there is a HUGE huge world out there, and it is just waiting to be explored! Seriously, I am so happy that I studied abroad. I can't begin to put into words all that I learned in Sevilla. I think I went into it thinking, yeah I'll practice my Spanish and see a different country. I came out of it with SO much more than that. I learned about people, I learned about culture, and I mostly learned a ton about myself. I am so happy I was able to have this experience, honestly. It was absolutely mind blowing and life changing, and I will always thank God for it!

I bought a shirt with a symbol of Sevilla, that is NO8DO, and wore it home. The 8 is more of a knot. It means "No me ha dejado", translated into "Sevilla has not abandoned me". I love this, because it helps me to know that the lessons I learned in Sevilla are forever, even though I'm back home now. It's a place that will always be sacred in my heart, and a place that I can always look back on and be happy about. And, it's always waiting for me to come back. Thank you Sevilla, you were something else.

Now, it's almost 7am, I am watching the Even Stevens movie (only thing on -- but I love it) on our flatscreen TV, waiting for my family to get up. This morning I requested blueberry pancakes from my dad, so that's to come soon. Then I'm sure my sister and I will go to dunks, and then figure out the rest of the day together!

So, that's about all I got. I'm back in the US, I love it. I am so thankful for Sevilla and all it taught me, but I'm so glad to be home. Home is where the heart is they say -- SO TRUE!

Gotta say thanks for keeping up with me and going with me on the adventure of my life! But, it doesn't stop here. Just because I'm home from Sevilla doesn't mean the fun ends. Everything is an adventure. Every day in life is a new experience, and I just want to live them all!

Hasta luego,

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mañana me voy..


Let me preface this blog by explaining why it's taken me so long to write. Well, first of all, the past 3 weeks have pretty much been exams, studying, and work taking up my entire life. That, and oh yeah, oops, my hard drive decided to crash two weeks ago. Don't even know how it happened, all I can say is, I get home from school. It's about 7pm. Go make a nice cup of coffee, open up the laptop ready to get down to business an study, and its frozen. No big deal, I figure, I'll just turn it off and on again. Yeah, mistake. Turn it back on, all I get was a flashing folder with a question mark in the middle. Yeah, that can't be too good. Call Ky, she looks it up, hard drive crashed. Clearly a rough situation for a while. Not only was I in finals, but I was without a computer for a good week. It was pain. But it's OVER now, I got through it, got through my exams, and now am leave?

So I don't really know where to start with this post. I mean, it probably won't be too long...I have no idea what to write about. Feelings? Things I've done for 3 weeks? I don't even KNOW! I mean, I have done some pretty fun and exciting things that I'm sure you'd love to hear about, that is, if anyone's even still reading this. I feel so bad I ditched but I really have been crazy busy! I took my last final on Thursday, for Lope de Vega, and then this week I just had to finish up some work and turn it in, which now it's all set and turned in! Can't believe it, done! A SENIOR IN COLLEGE! But what I really can't believe is that this semester is actually over. I leave tomorrow, to head home to the good 'ol US of A! Granted I am absolutely dying to get home and see my family, it is going to be SO weird to leave here. It's not like just going home after a semester of college, it's like going home from a place that you actually have made into your home for 5 months. You're leaving your home away from home, and how do you comprehend that?! In less than 12 hours my taxi is coming to pick me up. At this time tomorrow I'll be on the plane from Madrid to New York. And tomorrow night, I'll sleep in MY house! Seriously has to be the weirdest thing in the world. What I'm SO excited and SO happy about is the fact that Ky is on my flight from Sevilla to Madrid! So we get to go together, and have breakfast, and then depart in the Madrid airport. I mean, our departure will totally be sad, but I know for sure I'll see her again! Not even a question in my mind. But I'm really going to miss her. I can honestly say she has become one of my best friends. And I am SO so thankful for that.

But enough of the mush and gush - we all know I'm sad to leave but so thrilled to be home! So time to catch you up on LIFE really fast! So lately I've just been seriously enjoying my last few days here! So it's easy, I'll list what I've done - because explaining three weeks worth of adventures would just NOT work for me. Too long of a post, too little time. Seriously, down to 11 and a half hours here! (PS -- I will probably write another post on the 8 hour and 20 minute plane ride tomorrow. Might be longer. More detailed. Etc. But for now I just want to catch you up really quickly on what I've been doing AND my emotions and thoughts on my last day!!! So I will write more tomorrow - but here's a quick catch up.

3 weeks. Ready. GO!
- Ky and I went to the beach in Cádiz -- super nice!
- We had our end of the year fiesta for ALA - super fun! We all bonded. It was great!
- Saw Pirates 4. AMAZING. They referenced Sevilla...and we FREAKED OUT! Seriously sick.
- Saw Midnight in Paris - really good! Yes, I have been to the movies twice in the past two weeks. And I love it!
- Got some Rayas ice cream!
- Saw the bull ring FINALLY. I've lived here and never seen it! DUMB.
- Went paddleboating...again.
- Went back to the Alcazar gardens! They are gorgeous duh :)
- WE ALL HAD PIZZZA NIGHT! There was a huge group of us girls. Went back to the wonderful amazing pizza place and then we all sat out by the rio and hung out until, yeah probably like 2am! SO much fun. And this time I tried the vegetarian pizza..TO DIE FOR! Eggplant, zuchinni, egg, tomato, OMG SO GOOD!
- Last night Ky, Brittany and I went out for drinks with our geography tutor, Rocio! It was so much fun. She's hilarious. One of my favorite things to hear is Spanish people speak English. It's GREAT -- like for example. We were talking about the world FLIRT right. And she had no idea what I was saying. 2 seconds later she says, "OHHHH, FLEEE-URT!" hahahh, that's how she pronounces flirt. I mean, you definitely had to be there but we had a good laugh. Because then she was freaking out about how she learns a word like, party, in english. To her it would sound like "parTy" but to us, she imitated us saying it like "pardy". That's one thing I'm going to totally miss - just being surrounded by a different culture ALL the time! It's seriously so cool and I feel like I learn something new every day. Kind of hoping I can keep that up.
- Also have DEFINITELY hit up Rayas, my fav ice cream place! We went the other night, SO good, and then we met up with a bunch of our friends and hung out at the rio! SO much fun.
- Had a random field trip for my geography class all around Sevilla to look at it's geography.

There's probably at least 3948934 things that I'm leaving out that I've done, but I just can't remember. It's been too long. Right now my focus is just on finishing up packing, enjoying my last night here, and then leaving tomorrow at 5am. And with that, everyone who knows me knows that I will be getting 0 sleep tonight. Not possible. I am too excited and too nervous about everything and too FREAKING OUT TO EVEN THINK ABOUT SOMETHING LIKE SLEEPING! And plus, 5am? No point. It's my last night here, and I'm sure we'll be out until late anyway, just soaking up the last few bits. :( Seriously, weird.

Some photos for your enjoyment:

PEDALQUIVIR..aka paddle boats!
Our hiking guide. We're friends.
Bull ring .. in character. Not sure what I thought I was.

By the rio with our geo tutor! SO FUN. Going to miss her so much :(
Oh, forgot to mention this was where we had our party. GORGEOUS RIGHT?
All my pals at the rio. This makes me really sad - FUN times though!

But anyway, so now you're update on the past 3 weeks - they went well minus the laptop crisis! Now I'm just praying I can recover all my stuff when I get back home. LORD PLEASEEEE!!!!!! But yeah, last day. Feeling weird. Don't get it. BUT SO SO SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED TO SEE MY FAMILY! I've been counting down, shhh! I AM SO EXCITED. Freaking out. Gah!! So thrilled.

But anyway - I'll update either tonight when I can't sleep or tomorrow on the plane! Off to go enjoy my last few hours! Pray for my flight.

Hasta luego,