Monday, December 10, 2012

End of the Year

It's of course only when I'm sniffly and in bed that I find time to write an entry. I've been really busy this past month! I had to work more than usual to make up the hours I'm going to miss by going home early for Christmas. Yeah, I can't believe it. I'm going home this Sunday for three weeks! I'm honestly really excited. I've felt out of sorts this past month: really burnt out on work and other things. I'm just happy that with actually being paid I was able to travel more frequently.

I also dyed my hair successfully!

I went to Salamanca one weekend in November. Absolutely amazing town! I'll definitely be visiting again sometime soon, especially since it's only an hour and change away. I met a lot of great people, and due to it being a university town, everything was incredibly cheap. Like, a beer, a small portion of patatas bravas, and tortilla for 2 euro. Good beer too!I had one of the most amazing church experiences of my life. After being in Spain so many times, it's easy to become used to cathedrals and even quite tired of them. But the one in Salamanca is, of course, gorgeous, but there's also a way where you can go up into the towers and even walk along balconies high up in the main sanctuary. We did that on a Sunday, and literally no one was in the church besides us! I was just standing there in the church reeling from vertigo, gripping the railing in front of me, and I had the most incredible urge to sing and fill the space with a bit of my presence. I did...once my friends were out of earshot.

Plaza Mayor, from our hostel!

Just me in there. Amazing.

Art Deco Museum café


I had my first Spanish Thanksgiving. Well, I had two: lucky me! It's great to see how creative people can be here in trying to recreate traditions from home. We had whole chickens instead of turkey, mini pecan pies, savory bread pudding, even a cranberry chutney! I made mashed potatoes that I think mom would've been proud of. Not fancy but surely delicious.

Just this weekend I went to Belgium for the first time. Found a pretty cheap round trip flight through RyanAir. I had such a good time. All the Christmas decorations were up, and the markets were in full swing. It was pretty magical. When the plane was landing we exploded out of the clouds to see the entire countryside covered in fresh snow. It was beautiful. I ate so much good food: liege waffles covered in chocolate, cones of french fries with mayonnaise on top, bratwurst, gluhwein, lambic beers... I even made it to Bruges for a couple hours. I'd love to go back in the Spring.

Bruges

I think I ate 5 waffles in 2 days. Not enough, I know.

Grand Place in Brussels with its weird post modern Christmas tree (used in a light show at night)

It's crazy that this year is almost over. I've done so much. I mean, this time last year I was just graduating from UGA. Talk about a perfect holiday season. Since then I've had a lot of great experiences as well as many difficulties: my first trip to Germany, a tonsillectomy, teaching in Brazil, taking the GRE, working at the International Rescue Committee in Atlanta, breaking up with Dustin, a trip to Mexico, hearing about Grandpa's cancer... the list goes on. It's been one hell of a year, probably the least organized and most hectic one I've had to date. But here's to moving forward stronger and to starting next year off on more stable ground.

Remember to wear red underwear on New Year's Eve! It's evidently lucky!

xo