Wow, this blog is coming a little bit late. Technically, I am still on Christmas break, so it’s not late in that regard, but it has been almost a month since Christmas and we are already on the way out with January, so it seems a little bit late for me.
Yes, you heard me right, in Spain we are still on winter break! Technically, some people just finished their exams for the fall semester on January 23rd, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not vacation for those of us that aren’t taking our exams.
The break has been an especially nice one for me… I think that I have probably done more flying in these last 5 weeks than I have in most of the years of my life (except this current one, because… well, obvious reasons). But, even with all the traveling at cloud level, I am feeling pretty well rested and ready to start the new semester (plus I need something to stress about).
My last blog post was pretty late after the actual fact, and that is partially due to me getting distracted by movies on the airplane, being distracted by books in English in the USA, and just plane laziness, but that trip actually happened from the 19th to the 22 of December. I arrived to my apartment in Madrid on the evening of the 22nd and on the morning of the 23rd I had packed my stuff back up and headed right back to the Madrid-Barajas airport for a flight to my home home: New Mexico, my parent’s house, my 5 crazy siblings and even crazier parents. And the best part was that none of them knew that I was coming back (except my dad, he helped).
See, about a month prior to my leaving the USA, my dad had texted me with a proposal: “Let’s surprise your mom [and everyone else] for Christmas by bringing you home.” That’s kind of one of those proposals that you don’t say no too, especially when you are the type of person that doesn’t plan anything until the last moment, specifically for the reason that something cool—like surprising your entire family could come up. (At the time I thought that was a crazy idea, but I still said yes.)
And so, that’s how I wound up, on the 23rd of December, on the doorstep of the house I had lived in for 12 years, waiting to surprise my entire family who thought I was a little under 5500 miles away. (They thought they were safe from me. Such foolish hopes.)
Needless to say, they were quite surprised. I was actually surprised as well, surprised that they were surprised. For me the whole thing did not happen in one moment, and so it felt a lot less surprise-y. Can you tell that I was my first time surprising anyone like that? Oh well.
It was a pretty cool reunion and I spent two weeks, until my siblings started back up at high school, hanging out with my family, telling stories, and relaxing in the freezing cold weather that had encased the northwest corner of New Mexico. It was colder in Farmington than it had been in Budapest most days, and there was certainly more snow. I was happy to drive again, but less than happy that it was through a bunch of snow. But I guess there’s not much you can do about that sort of thing.
We got to go skiing!!! (I snowboard, but I’m the minority, so skiing it is!) I got to eat green chile!! I got to eat in huge portions!! Family was everywhere (interpret this how you wish). Just kidding, family was honestly the best part, I am a much better (but much more prone to digress) storyteller in person. I got to see [some] of my friends (honestly not that many, two weeks is shorter than it sounds). Overall, pretty successful visit.
Seeing your hometown, home state, seeing the USA in general after being gone for a while is always a weird experience. There is so much that is different. It feels almost as though you step into another world when you get out of the airport. But you also begin to see similarities apart from those differences, similarities that often run a lot deeper than the differences that are so apparent.
A large part of studying abroad is about the connections that you make. I like the word connections because it has so many meanings, and in this case I mean literally all the definitions that you can think of. Hopefully you make all your connecting flights. But the friendships and relationships that you make are just as important as the mental connections that you make between yourself and others from around the world or your home state and your country or the city where you are from and the city where you live. Some of these connections are things that you can only see in first hand, they are experiences more than they are things one can learn from reading or hearing about. The cool part is coming back and comparing the similarities and differences, and maybe even learning a thing or two from them.
Anyways, that was not the end of my air travel for the month, and the next blog will be about the trip I just got done with… I was finding some more cities to compare Albuquerque and Farmington to, and all I am saying is that Europe is ahead in a lot of categories… (That’s not really the comparing that I was talking about but whatever.)