gratitude-a-thon day 285: home!

I was so happy to see my boy!

There’s no place like home. Especially if you have a dog. And especially if your dog has had a back problem and has had to recover without you! I am pathetically in love with Riley and I worried about him while we were gone. One, because of his little injury, but two because he really experiences anxiety when we leave him. Anyway, he gave us a 21 gun salute welcome home, which consisted of running up and down the hall, and then purring in my arms. The flight, 11 hours in total travel time, didn’t seem quite as bad as it did on the way there. Not sure if that’s because it always seems longer when you’re going somewhere, or because we had a sliver more leg room. I did manage to watch like 100 movies. Not really, but maybe.

However, it was not without trauma. At the Barcelona airport, I had to go to the bathroom, and it was sort of far from the gate, so I ran, and when I got back to the gate, I was sweating, so I took off my FAVORITE LEATHER JACKET. Then I was hungry (Gawd, I am high maintenance) so Ally and I went to the little cafe and got a ham and cheese (because what’s a day without HAM?). When got back to our seats, Peter had packed up the cart and was in line to board, and you know what I’m going to say, so why don’t you just all say it in unison: “YOUR FAVORITE LEATHER JACKET WAS GONE.” You are so smart. Yup, someone was casing us out and they snatched that thing from the seat when I went to get my HAM sandwich. I was sort of devastated. I know that’s stupid, and it was a just a jacket but IT WAS MY FAVORITE LEATHER JACKET. Yeah, so that happened, and I cried for like 30 minutes, but it was sort of mixed crying because I also crying because I had to leave Jake. But still, I was sobbing and the flight attendants were looking at me weird, but then I fell asleep and woke up and ate the HAM sandwich and felt a little better. I am wondering if this HAM thing is a good approach to anything that ails you?

Anyway, the trip was amazing, but Jake got very, very sick on Tuesday night and so we missed two days of being able to do stuff with him, which was very upsetting, in addition to the fact that he was very sick, with a high fever and terrible backache, headache and in the category of TMI, the runs. He rallied for our Thanksgiving dinner with the American Society of Barcelona, but just for dinner. Then it was back to the bathroom. This was mucho unfortunate because we missed a great night with his host family and he missed Sagrada Familia and Tibidabo and Picasso. But these are the natural disasters we’re prisoners of. Nothing you can do about getting sick.

There is no way to properly show the magnitude of Sagrada Familia, the largest church I have ever seen, and which has been in the making for 200 years. Gaudi was its priciple designer and it is evident everywhere. Looking at this masterpiece of art, could make anyone a believer.
the ceiling of Sagrada. I wish I could explain the immensity.
Here we are inside the magnificent Sagrada Familia.
A quick trip to Tibidabo, the highest point in the city. A winding road in a cab. but worth it.
A view of the city. You could see France.
Our hilarious Thanksgiving night at the American Society of Barcelona. Food was great. And our table had three people from Connecticut, two who were Barcelona transplants, and one who grew up with on of my best childhood friends–Stephanie!

But Barcelona is an interesting city. There is a cornucopia of architecture (Who would have imagined I’d use the word “cornucopia” on Thanksgiving weekend, but it would not be related to Thanksgiving itself). I am big on just walking a city to get a feel for it and we put in the miles. Our hotel was perfect, although we didn’t get to experience the roof deck pool and restaurant due to the weather, but its location was prime, right off La Rambla and near La Boqueria, which really was the best market I have ever set foot in. I kept imagining how fun it would be to cook if I could go there everyday for fresh foods. Perhaps it would make even my cooking taste good. Probably not, but a girl can dream.

Ally carefully selecting chocolate for her friends at La Boqueria.

I think that the weather has so much to do with your impression of a place. My sister always says this and she’s right. Our weather was excellent, sunny everyday, but chillier than I had expected and hoped. I can imagine that I would have had a a whole different impression and trip if Barcelona was like 10 or 15 degrees warmer. It’s definitely a city made for sunny and warm, with hoardes of outdoor cafes, and miles of coast, which we only saw from a convertible tour bus, because it was way too cold to put our toes in the sand, or sit for hours sipping coffee street-side.

A courtyard in the Barcelona University, Jake’s school.
Our hotel lobby.
We don’t know what this is, but it was really cool!
A little side street.
Just some of the intricate detail on any given building.
Another street.
Ham is a major food group in Barcelona. I ate it everyday!

And I think that could be why I have been finding it so hard to characterize Barcelona, which has been irking me. If I’d been able to taste the outdoor cafe, and beach life, I may have gotten a sense of this city’s true character. Without it, I couldn’t really find the sizzle. Still, I found it charming, with depth and some truly breath taking sights.

But of course, if we’d gone in a better weather month, we’d have missed the dazzling array of Christmas lights. And that was really something I’ll never forget. And the whole reason we went in the first place was to see Jake. So, that’s that. And I’m grateful we were able to go, chill in the air, sick kid, missed time with host family, no beach, and stolen jacket, aside. Beause there was HAM. LOTS OF HAM. And I was like so gosh darn down with that.

But, ah, home. My bed felt delicious and even though I have a pile of work to do and ALL MY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING TO GET DONE, I am happy to be back. And my boy will be here in just 20 days. He’s grown up so much since he’s been gone. I am so grateful to a city that has become part of his identity. Lucky Jake. Lucky us.

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