Wow, where to begin…? After this week, everything I did before Monday seems to pale in comparison to the devastating tragedy that happened in my country, in my city. This past week has been an insane rollercoaster. Going from so low to so high back to low back to high has been difficult to deal with. The lowest point of course being far away from Boston, from my family and friends while the city was suffering from a shocking and disturbing terrorist attack. It affected me deeply…no sleep and no appetite. After learning my family and friends were safe I began to feel a little better. Then Wednesday night, I was shocked and overjoyed to learn I had been accepted to Middlebury College’s Language School Graduate Program in Madrid. I received incredible reactions from my family via Skype and we were able to watch the opening of the Bruins game together and listen to the National Anthem; an amazing night despite the circumstances.
Then of course, the tragedy in Texas was very unnerving. I just felt like our country had been cursed that week and it was just so unfair to watch it all unfold from so far away. Then finally, Friday…. learning about the Boston, Watertown, Cambridge, and Newton lockdown. I sat glued to my laptop watching the CNN live stream for hours. Just like all Bostonians, and all Americans all I wanted was this monster captured. When I heard “We got him”, it was this wave of relief that I cannot describe. I saw the videos of citizens waving American flags and cheering as Police passed by in their cars, hearing a spontaneous eruption of the National Anthem in the streets of Boston; I was overwhelmed with pride. So, although there was so much pain this week in the United States, I’m glad there were moments of pure bliss to bask in. Being so far away from all of this was the first time since being in Spain that I was painfully homesick. However, I must say that being with the other American auxiliares and supporting each other through this difficult time coupled with the tremendous support from my coworkers has made this time a lot easier. I have to extend my thanks to all of them. So, where does it leave this blog? A lot has happened since my last post but I still feel so confused after this week that I more or less am going to make a list of the things I did.
The last week of March was Semana Santa and I spent Holy Thursday with friends visiting the one bodega I have wanted to see since I came to La Rioja, Marqués de Riscal. It is a large bodega with a hotel that was designed by Frank Gehry. It is absolutely gorgeous. We made a day of it, starting by visiting a small family bodega, Bodegas Urbina, followed by a lovely lunch in Haro a town about an hour away from Logroño, followed by the tour of Marqués de Riscal, and then to see “Los Picaos” a tradition I have never wanted to see, but ended up seeing anyway. It is a procession in the small town of San Vicente and men whip themselves as a way to repent for their sins. Something I only need to see once I think.
The weekend before Semana Santa I explored Vitoria, the capital of the Basque Country with my friends Andrea and Hayley. It is a beautiful city that is larger than Logroño and it was very pleasant to visit. It has incredible architecture and a gorgeous cathedral. It was a nice day trip together.
Then, I went to Rome for four days to visit my college friends Allie and Francesca. The weather was fantastic and so warm. I consumed so much amazing food while there. Of course: pasta, pizza, gelato, and arancini. I was able to tour the city with Allie, Francesca and a few of their friends. I remember most of Rome from when I went with my family as a kid. I saw the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain is my favorite spot in all of Europe. It takes my breath away. There is something about that fountain that is so entrancing. Allie and I saw it at night after a long search; we threw in coins to make wishes and then ate gelato nearby. A perfect evening. We went back during the day just to see it at a different time of day and it was just as lovely. I had a fantastic time visiting with Allie and Francesca, it was great to see them. All I can say is, Rome is a must-see city. Like the Trevi Fountain, Rome is an enchanting city.
There are places in Spain I am trying to squeeze into the rest of my time here. I would like to see Santander and Santiago de Compostela. Some friends and I would like to make weekend trips but otherwise no large trips are in the works.
As far as my schools are concerned, before Semana Santa I had a fantastic time dyeing Easter eggs in Arrubal and Agoncillo. I was unsuccessful in my search for white eggs so they did not turn out in pastel colors, but they were beautiful nonetheless. I showed a powerpoint about Easter in the USA to all of my schools and they all seemed to enjoy watching a video of the Obamas hosting the Easter Egg Roll at the White House last year. After break, in my Logroño school, we had an English competition between three of my classes. It is called 'Seven' and it requires concentration as the kids say the numbers in English but try to remember not to say numbers that have sevens in them or multiples of seven. It was very entertaining to watch.
I believe that is all of it in a nutshell. Another reason I feel very confused is that before this week, I have been feeling intense waves of nostalgia due to my impending departure in June. I have created a life here for myself that it is painful to think of the idea of uprooting myself from La Rioja and all the wonderful people I know here. Of course, despite my conflicting emotions, I am going to try to really take advantage of the rest of the time I have here in Logroño, to go out with a bang!
|Agoncillo's Easter Eggs|
|Cathedral in Vitoria|
|Marqués de Riscal Hotel|
|Vatican at Night|
|AT THE TREVI FOUNTAIN!!|
|As if this needs a caption... the most beautiful fountain in the world (my opinion)|