So, I made it! Thanks to a little jet lag, it’s 2:48 am and I’m [mostly] awake (and hungry?) and so I thought, “What better?! I’ll tell my reader
It is a little strange how quickly you can arrive in another country. In 7 hours and 15 minutes (which could’ve been less had we not taxied for an hour in PHL before take-off and lapped Barcelona waiting to land), I was transported from the U.S. to Spain (or, if I’m being pro-Catalunya, the Spanish state.) I made it from the airport to home on auto-pilot. Anyone who has ever seen the Passeig de Gràcia metro/train stop knows there are about 15 entrances and exits (so, maybe where my train arrives, there are more like 4, but they all connect over several city blocks, entirely underground). Anyhoo. So, something in me just said, “It’s this one!” and lo and behold, I popped out on the same old street I used to cross when coming home from school in Vilassar.
Just to give you an idea of what things are costing here these days, a 10-pass on the metro or train (which is enough for 5 round trips to the airport), is running 10.30€, or about $14.00. The bus from Chapel Hill to RDU is $2/trip, so $20 for 5 round trip tickets.
At the grocery store, I bought: 4 baby tomatoes (not cherry tomatoes, just little ones), 4 bananas, an apple, an avocado, half a melon, a bag of spring mix lettuce, a hefty hunk [cacho] of queso oveja (hard, sheep’s milk cheese), 3 single-serve tuna cans, 6 (4-oz) greek yogurts (with chocolate chips in them! GRAND!), and 6 sandwich sized rye crusty rolls for something around 13.50€, or something around $19.00 when my bank charge showed up online. I think that’s pretty reasonable. (All of that is for the travel nerds who just want to know what it costs to get around).
The kids are so much taller and F. and E. are just as friendly as ever. I do hope I have sometime in my life to offer my house to a young student to stay for free. What they’re giving me this summer isn’t just a free place to stay, but also a familiar (in the sense of “I recognize it” and “like family”) environment to hang around it. It is a gift and we all get to learn from it. E. caught me up on all of the gossip, how their most recent au-pair (the German, B.) had left without even saying “bye” to the kids and how things with him had been sorta rough from the start (which is unusual because F. and E. have taken in so many of us, all NBD.)
Not too much has changed at the house. Their little people desk has grown into a big people desk (F. said that E.’s office mates were giving away tons of near-new furniture as they moved locations and the colors just happened to match their other furniture.) The plastic house on the patio which the kids used to mostly just sit on top of has been replaced by scooters and a mini-trampoline. And, the toilet brush is new. Ahh, the things you notice. There is a pet now, Riki Tiki (the hamster), for whom the kids take full responsibility. I watched J. and N. (now 7 and 8!!) carefully scoop all of the kitty litter out of the cage, spray it with cleaner, rinse, dry, and carefully replace everything. I was given the special task of refilling the litter (they made it seem like a privilege), but they told me exactly when it was enough. As usual, they surprise me with their independence.
Tonight, they were at their grandparent’s house for dinner with all of the cousins (who live in upper floors of this same 5- or 6-floor building). Apparently, they do this twice a month so everyone can see one another-so sweet! F. and E. had a dinner at the kids’ school so I just ate (some combination of the aforementioned groceries) and fell asleep. I’ve already been able to contact Nancy, my friend from Barna who has stayed around here the past three years (!!!) and M. (my friend who lives down by the beach). I’m pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to be social and re-connect with my people here.
Now, if I could just get back to sleep. Photos to come (once I take some).