[Well, minus about 36 days for other European countries.]
The trip home was ridiculous. I have to thank Charlotte a thousand times over for all of her last minute help and even walking me to Fuente de las Batallas with one of my bags to catch a cab to the bus station. This girl rocks. Shout out!
I only slept a bit on the transcontinental flight, but aside from that, I was awake for a long 48 hours, 30 of which were spent traveling. My bags were overweight and painfully heavy to carry, but the kind gentlemen at the Spanish United counter let it slide. Shout out! Plus, I got to fly home with a handful of great folks from my program.
I couldn't help but stare at the progress screen on the flight from Madrid to DC. It was both terrifying and humbling to see our little plane get further and further away from the life I've known for almost a year. I couldn't believe it. Even when we landed, I was stunned.
Then I made it through customs and was shocked at hearing (mostly) English everywhere. I couldn't help but be a little surprised when I bought a pretzel in the terminal and was greeted with a, "Hi, what can I get for you?" in leu of an, "Hola. Dime." I keep accidentally slipping in Spanish words (that have no perfect English equivalent) into conversation. Last night, I said, "bocadillo" to my dad without skipping a beat until the end of the sentence when I said, "Did I just say 'bocadillo' instead of 'sandwich'?" Yep.
I am not hungry when I am supposed to be, I have been waking up between 6 and 7 a.m. because my body is thinking it's 3 or 4 p.m. and refuses to sleep longer. I got painfully exhausted around 5 p.m. yesterday and all I did was unpack. This trip has done a doozy on my body and I know I'll for a while.
But it's still sinking in... Even when I came down to baggage claim in LAX and heard my mom squeal before I even saw her, "Oh my goooosh! There she is!" My dad was bouncing on his heels to hug me. It was surreal. Even after driving on the freeway and stopping in Baldwin Park for In N Out (shout out!), it felt like a dream. Or a test-drive for the real thing.
I think it sunk in a bit more at dinner last night with the whole family. I got to get multiple hugs in from each and see how tall my cousins have become. I ate a Rosie's burrito (shout out!) while I heard all the women at the table interrupt each other and cackle and still know exactly where the conversation is going. I missed that.
I am about to drive for the first time in almost a year today and it's definitely going to be a "go around the block five times" kind of situation before I get near the freeway (no shout out for you, freeway). But I am excited to get on the road and go see my grandpa for the first time in almost a year. Of course, he just got Dish Network and I get to deal with the hassle of teaching an 87-year-old man how to use the remote of complicated satellite cable. Looks like things are sinking right back into the norm.
But seriously. Granada, I miss you already. Casa de los Locos, ya te echo de menos. And every wonderful new friend I made during this experience, I will never forget you. And remember, it's NOT, "Adios," but rather, "Hasta luego." :)