It’s been a while and so much has happened in the past month. So, I’m going to give you the long and short of it. Do with it what you please 🙂
- Schools out for summer!
- Renée came to visit me for 3 weeks in the middle of her Euro trip – it was nothing short of bliss
- Took a trip to see the waterfalls of Monachil with some great people
- Dallas surprised me in SPAIN
- Dallas, Renée, and I went to Lagos, Portugal for a long weekend. I’ve never laughed or loved so hard
- Gypsy summer starts June 28th
It seems that time is evaporating faster than ever before recently. I don’t know if it is because this has been the best month I’ve had in Spain, or because I’m old now and that’s just how it goes…either way time is evaporating!
The bulk of my classes ended at the end of May, and as much as I was thankful to have those crazy kids out of my hair, I was honestly sad to say goodbye. I shed some tears saying goodbye to my favorite class of little ones, ages 4-5. I loved them. They made me want to pull my hair out, but they loved me and I loved them. They were just so silly and happy and awesome. I’ve said this before but I didn’t want to work with kids when I came to Spain to teach English. It was the opposite of what I wanted. But the Universe knew what I needed and I had to face my irrational fear of small humans. And it worked. I love them now. Well, that doesn’t apply to all of them but you get the point. I guarantee I learned more from them than they learned from me and I will be forever grateful for those little people. I feel forever changed from this past 5-6 months of working with them and I will take those lessons in life with me.
A dear friend from home, Renée Bruno, came to stay with me for a few weeks in the middle of her Euro Trip. Having a friend here from home was the best feeling. It also helps that she is one of the kindest, funniest, and most incredible people I’ve ever had the privilege of calling a friend. We spent hours talking about the most interesting things and went places in our minds that I can’t go with most people. It was a spiritual experience everyday for both of us to talk about life and love and loss and adventure and really be able to explore these thoughts together. I think it was what we both needed at the time. We also explored Granada together, obviously. I showed her my favorite spots and restaurants and friends and she got to explore alone while I was at work. It was such a special time for me and I think having her here reenergized my heart and soul for the next few months on the road.
Laughing till we cried was also great medicine.
We climbed mountains to see the waterfalls in Monachil, danced till sunrise, met some great people together, had fun with my flatmates and friends here, did yoga in the park, made face masks of turmeric (please don’t try this at home unless you want to dye your face yellow). We wandered the city, drank way too much, slept way too little, cooked and danced in the kitchen, sat by the river at sunset and watched the “happy birds” (sparrows) go to bed and the bats come out. We went to the Feria of Granada and rode the biggest ride there was, slept in the same room like we were in summer camp, packed for a weekend in Portugal, hugged and cried and smiled and lived….we really LIVED! I lived full-out when Renée was here. My heart was bursting with happiness and my face was bursting with smiles and laughter. I will never forget how special it was to spend that time with her. Everyone she met here she changed in some way, big or small. When two souls are together that are somewhat opposite but also exactly the same there is something magical that happens. Same same, but different. Such a beautiful experience. So grateful.
The day we went to Monachil to explore the waterfalls and spend quality time with nature with some beautiful people was such a great and fulfilling day. We went with my dear friend Mary-Lou and 2 of her friends from the hostel she was working at in Granada and our other friend Oscar who was kind of our unintentional tour guide.
It was a last minute trip planned the night before but worked out so well. Just a short bus ride from Granada, this village is possibly southern Spain’s best kept secret that isn’t a beach. It would be a perfect place to set up camp for a few days. I bet the stars out there would be mind-blowing.
The waterfalls are formed by the snow melt from the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The water is freezing but the scenery is breathtaking. We walked on wooden plank bridges hanging from the jagged cliffs. We crawled through small spaces carved into the side of the rock walls and sat by the river and had a picnic.
I got back to the flat feeling complete and rejuvenated by nature. Pure bliss.
And then, as I’m explaining the wonderful day to my flatmates on the couch in the living room, DALLAS slyly walked by. In my flat! In Spain! SURPRISE!!!!
I jumped off the couch and sprinted down the hall towards him. I smashed my knee up against the wall real good when I tackled him too. I’ve never been happier. I had absolutely NO clue he was coming. The last we had talked he was pretty positive he wasn’t going to be able to make it out before July (since I am leaving Granada for summer) and I was truly heartbroken. But he and Renée and my friends here planned the whole thing together and made sure I had no idea it was happening. It was seamless. A perfect surprise! Dallas is my best friend, cousin, and brother. I lost it when I saw him in my flat. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I kept pinching myself to make sure I was really alive and this was really happening!
Dallas spent 3 days in Granada before we all went to Lagos, Portugal. Renée and I had already been planning to make this trip as it was our last week together before she continued her adventure and I went off to spend 3 months being a gypsy around Spain. I clearly had a great time the last trip I took to Portugal, so this was a perfect location for a send off.
Lagos is a magical place. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it forever. If you’ve never been there I highly suggest you make it your destination the next time you’re looking for a beach escape with views of paradise and beautiful people to match. There is something about that town that just makes me feel alive. Maybe it is the breathtaking views, or the cold Atlantic water, or the BEAUTIFUL people (mostly Aussies and Kiwis – who can be mad at that?) who flock there, or the contagious fun from everyone around…who knows, who cares, it is just magical. Bliss. We stayed at a hostel called The Rising Cock (yes, this is really the name) the first 2 nights in an adjacent flat while Dallas was there and had the whole place to ourselves. There was a kitchen and huge roof top terrace that was all ours, and we sure made use of it.
We held the greatest sunset dance party known to Lagos on that roof terrace, I am sure of it. I am also pretty positive the locals living around us hated every second of it.
The day before Dallas left Lagos, we rented kayaks and went in a big group to explore the caves and natural rock formations along the coast that make up all the coves and beaches, some nude some not. It was a blast. Renée and I were on a kayak together and Dallas was paddling solo. We sang songs and laughed some more and bumped into other people in the group and swam! Dallas and I snorkeled in freezing water with boring fish and then we all huddled on the beach trying to recover from being submerged in the frigid Atlantic Ocean.
That last night we were all together (Dallas left 2 days before we did because he “didn’t want to be late to the first day of the rest of his life” and he was on standby), we started the evening on the roof and then bounced around town. We watched the sun disappear behind the buildings of the ancient town and the witching hour ushered us into one the the best nights we had in Lagos. The three of us together is a fantastic combination. I’ve truly never laughed so hard.
The next day, Renée and I switched hostels to mix it up a bit and save some coins. We chose a super zen and awesome hostel called Shangri-Lagos and met some of the greatest people. It is interesting to see the different types of people who gravitate to different hostels.
We went on a booze cruise the next day with half of Australia and New Zealand (we were NOT mad about this) and jumped off the boat and drank beers and laughed and chatted to interesting people about all the great places we’ve all been. Living and loving…hard. I jumped off a bridge with a bunch of crazy guys (probably really not safe or smart, but fun) and then went to the beach and roamed the town for a while with some stellar company. Closed off the last night in Lagos with the best burgers in town and a tall drink of water 🙂
I am now back in Granada for just 1 more day until I hit the road for the summer. The road is where I flourish. I need uncertainty and adventure and solo experiences. Traveling alone is one of the most gratifying things you can do. It is eye opening and exciting and you only have yourself to rely on. This is what I love. This is what I need. This is where I belong.
Over the next 3 months I am going to do a work exchange at 3 different locations. All of these jobs will be an exchange; free room and food for a few hours of work a day and one or two days off per week. The main draw for me to do these types of jobs is to be able to spend time near water, explore new places on my time off, and practice yoga and meditation. The work will be easy and the locations all tickle my fancy. I need a break from teaching before autumn and this is the perfect way to see some of the country and contribute to something. I wanted to travel for the summer but seeing as my “salary” the past few months did not allow me to save anything, I had to do it on a budget. And what is better than being able to do it all for free? I am very excited to see how these next few months pan out and I am even more excited to see what and where autumn brings me.
I am living and loving and laughing harder than I have in a long time and I am making sure this experience is something I will never forget.
Don’t hold back. Live with all your might. Fall in love with strangers. Be open.
Don’t concern yourself with what people think of you when you’re doing something that makes you happy. Just do it.
PS: Whew, this was a hefty update. If you made it all the way through thank you and bravo! This was way too long to go without writing…lesson learned!