Del otro lado del mar

Well, well… I’m back in Ypsilanti now. I’m still really disoriented in some ways.

I spent all day Sunday in Madrid before returning to the airport to get on my flight at 6:30 Monday morning. It was a beautiful day. For the first time it really hit me that it was the end of June; I forgot how far into summer we are. But the sun was shining, there were warm breezes, and it was a good day to wander around Spain one more time. I went to el Parque del Retiro and took a nap in the grass for a while.

I also got the chance to go to the Reina Sofia, the last museum I didn’t get a chance to see on my previous visits to Madrid. Lots of new Dali I hadn’t seen, a very cool surrealist exhibit, and some of Man Ray’s photos. I loved Picasso’s Guernica… it’s so huge. In the same room as the painting, there’s also a collection of a bunch of his studies for the piece, and for La Madre con el Niño Muerto. The studies become more and more abstract, and the mother’s expression of grief becomes nearly cartoonlike and almost unrecognizable. It works. It makes sense.

Oh, and I walked past a very familiar street where we slept on our second night of misadventure in (not) Barcelona. We were over in that corner on cardboard. Good times. It doesn’t look as sketchy in daylight, without the other homeless sleeping there and whatnot…

Lucky for us, we got to sleep Sunday night on the floor of the airport instead. Left very early, after waiting in line at the gate with a rowdy Spanish fútbol team. If I knew (or cared) anything about fútbol, I might have known who they were… everyone else certainly seemed to, and were getting autographs. But I have no clue.

The flight was horrible. I was still congested, and at the beginning of the long flight from Milan to Chicago, I ate the sketchy food they gave me, including some sketchy fish that didn’t sit well with the congestion/turbulence/general discomfort. I threw up at least three times on the flight, and didn’t sleep much at all. Longest flight of my life. I’m usually okay with flying. When we finally got to O’Hare and met Anna & Ashley at the gate, I greeted them and then ran over to vomit in a trash can. Probably the most attractive thing I’ve ever done.

Anna (Coffee Anna… not to be confused with Spanish Anna or Catholic Anna) is a lifesaver. She had a hotel room waiting right near the airport, where I could shower, brush my teeth, sleep, drink water, throw up all the water, drink some more, throw that up, and sleep some more… you get the picture. I couldn’t keep anything down all day. But it was just so good to not be on a plane, and to have a bed and clean hair.

Once I had rested a little we went to Navy Pier to see the sights a little. We rode the ferris wheel, which was extremely slow (nothing like the craziness in Santiago) and had a beautiful view of the city.

We also took a boat ride up and down the coast a little bit, to relax, space out, and listen to… Justin Timberlake?! Well, the city was pretty, at least.

It was way strange to be back. I was so disoriented. Everyone was speaking English. It’s not that I didn’t speak any English in Spain, but all the background noise there was in Spanish. I was also weirded out when I first got off the plane and was waiting in line for the women’s bathroom… about three women who came in smiled at me when they made eye contact. It was disconcerting for a moment, until I realized that I just wasn’t used to that after six weeks in Spain–not just Spain, but Castilla y León, where the people are notoriously less amiable.

I also realized that I haven’t driven a coche in nearly two months, when I got behind the wheel in Chicago so Anna could run into the store. Downtown Chicago is not a good place to rediscover your driving skills.

(This picture makes me laugh because I’m wearing a tank top and you can just see my shoulder, so it looks like I’m driving naked. I’m not really naked. Just overwhelmed.)

On a brighter note, back in the US we finally got FREE WATER at restaurants! There’s a sad lack of free water in Spain… no drinking fountains or complimentary water with your meal. (Thus the drastic measures we took sometimes.)

This picture expresses how we felt about being back in the land of Free Water and Jet Lag.

Sadly, it took us over seven hours to drive back from Chicago, due to construction and traffic. Horrible. Missed dinner with my family, and we were so ready to be out of the car. But I was dropped off in Maybee so I could see my family (Becca was even there from Toledo…) for a little bit before going back home, which was really nice. They are letting me use their station wagon for a few days so I can shlep around a little and get things done, since my car is still broken.

And now it is so good to be back, to see all the Ypsi folks I’ve missed in my absence, eat at the Deagle, sleep in my bed, get rained on, have way too much fun with bar coasters and a pen, and hear about the inescapable drama that transpired since I’ve been gone.

I have my job at Caribou still, and I’m picking up some shifts this weekend… today I’m off to apply at some other places for a second (and beyond?) job, buy some groceries, unpack, and be generally productive. I hope.

…this isn’t Europe, but it’s not all that bad. 🙂


2 Responses to Del otro lado del mar

  1. claire says:

    glad you made it back ok!

    aww, the library looks so lonely!! *tear*

  2. nkelber says:

    Welcome back says Eliot the Invalid and Halle Stormweather.

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