What does a plane ticket mean to you? What does it make you think of?
Where would you go?
Not only what do you think of and where, but why? Why would you go to that place?
Have you been there before or have only dreamed of it to explore?
Or to find a new life?
I presume you are waiting for me to tell you about an encounter with a plane ticket, or multiple ones, but this is merely a story that begins with a flight. It is my experience. My bittersweet experience that gave me eyes to a new world. A story of the love that I acquired for Spain and everyone in it, a love story, perhaps.
I can’t remember how I came to sign up for the trip, but I wanted a change. I didn’t realize the change it would cause in me, either. The mere thought of being across the world for a fresh moment; meeting a new family, learning about a different culture and experiencing an unknown place made me crave a touch of time away from home. Thus, every chance I got, I said yes to Córdoba, Spain. Little did I know I would go back a few months later.
There were skyscrapers touching into the clouds, cobblestone under my feet, friendly people and beautiful trees to fill the clean air. We toured Madrid for two days. Our large group explored in awe; shopping and eating in lively Spain. Then came the time to take the train and reunite with our hosts. I met Celia back in November when she came to stay with me to explore my little town, three months later, I got to meet her family and experience her world. Even though we had met only briefly, she had quickly became a sister to me. I could not contain my yearning to be with her again, because with her, I am content.
The train was only an hour trip, but the nerves and excited talk made the journey drag. Then it was over after a slow stop that a rush of people spilled out of the train; hurried with motion. Our mob of friends walked cautiously through the doors into this unfamiliar world,
hearts in our hands,
to be greeted by the faces that we were longing for …
A crowd of people standing and jumping,
ready to overflow.
Of course, I could only focus on my chosen sister, Celia. I will never forget her high pitched squeal of joy when she spotted me.
Hugs, kisses and “holas” embraced me as we finally reconnected. Meeting Celia’s mother and sister, I could feel the love emanating off their bodies toward me. It felt amazing to be somewhere across the world and having a new family who generously welcomed me into their life.
My routine started the same everyday: get to the school at 7 in the morning with eyes half open and then climb onto the buses with our sister or brother to drive to the destination of the day. We shopped in the cities of Granada, Segovia, Córdoba and my personal favorite, Seville. Also, we ate. A lot. Eating in Spain is an exceptional experience and it made me feel like royalty: chocolate and churros, a snack the size of lunch complete with a complimentary chocolate mystery dessert, followed by a sumptuous lunch and delicious late night dinner.
The food was rich and filled with love, and always had a side of bread.
I grew accustomed to the necessary coffee breaks once a day which served to warm our bodies and as an escape from the busy busy activities every hour. To end the day, there were many celebrations, dinners and exciting events. I was also fortunate to attend a costume party for Valentine’s Day. Dancing dinner parties and farewell presentations filled our evenings. Of course, these events meant there was more marvelous food.
Each day was beautiful, even if the sun was not out. Even the hidden beams of sun could not have embellished more the pure beauty of Spain. The fogged light still brightened the buildings that opened up to the sky with their architecture. In each city the flowers guided us with their color and smell. I tried to soak up every place I went so I could try to explain these places to my family in the States but I knew I could not come close, because it was beautiful beyond words.
Thankful for my camera, and its amazing amount of storage, I took pictures of anything and everything I saw: colors, shiny, bright, red, yellow, blue and white. Flowers, trees, gardens, rivers, picturesque landscapes and the people walking.
They say “a house isn’t a house until the people inside make it a home,” and Sr. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
Celia is someone with whom I shared a beautiful bond and her sister is the cutest most caring creature. Her mother acts as if she is my own and although the communication between she and I was slim, love and appreciation made words unnecessary in our relationship. This family is what led to my return six months later. It was as if my invasion of their home was a gift to them that they had been wanting. They loved me as if I were their own child.
So I went back.
I earned enough money for my ticket and ran off with a good friend. We said our nervous goodbyes and “adios” to our families in the Boston airport. Happy tears flooded the airport as we reunited with our Spain families. Finally my heart was at rest.
We played with splashing water and laughed under the scorching summer sun. Spending each day happy and at ease. I saw my dearest friends from February and the same ones I met in November; and fell in love with them all over again.
Names of Celia,
Marta, two more Celia’s, Adri,
and those of two uncles,
an aunt, three cute little cousins,
a wonderful dad, Vicky, another Vicky,
Names now danced in my head.
It was not like it was in February, it was better.
For those three weeks my heart was full and delighted in Spain. Time was precious with this family, they taught me not only a new language and culture, but they gave me new love I could not have experienced any other way. They gave me love for life and family.
Livsnjutare is Swedish for someone who loves life deeply and lives it to the extreme. Is an “enjoyer of life”. This is what I have become from my adventures because of a couple tickets to Spain.
One ticket brought me across the North Atlantic to a warm flat in the outskirts of Córdoba, Spain, into the arms of many people I came to know and love, with all my heart.
And now, until I am able to run off again with a new ticket to reunite with my second family and a new adventure, I will wait and hold tight to the memories made.