The summer went by much too fast. I know that’s how it always feels, but this particular summer felt especially quick. Because of this, I want to take some time to reflect on the memories and moments that made it special.
I ended my au pair gig at the end of June and moved into a new apartment. I had a few days to unpack and settle as much as I could before two of my dearest friends arrived to Madrid. We had been talking, planning, and dreaming about this trip for months, but it honestly seemed like a dream when I met them at the airport. As we rode back into the city, we easily fell into a familiar rhythm of conversation and laughter that I had missed so much. It felt like a very deep exhale.
After a brief stint in Madrid, we went south to Granada for several days, did a beach trip to Málaga, and then Bethany and Sidney made their way up to Barcelona for a couple days before we flew back home. I really can’t express how incredible their visit was. Yes, we saw some really cool things and ate some really delicious food, but I felt that the best part of the trip was reconnecting with each other. It had been a long year for all three of us with a lot of changes, challenges, and new experiences, and we had a lot of catching up to do. The memories I will always hold onto are the simple ones: an excellent, fresh-cooked pasta dish in our Airbnb, an open bottle of cheap wine, and our loud laughter drifting out of the open windows into the dusky breeze. We’d talk about the day we just had, all the cool/funny/awkward/awe-inspiring moments that we had witnessed, and bring each other up to speed about things going on in our own separate lives.
As it wrapped up, it became clear to all three of us that the trip was something we had really needed. I am thankful for the time we had and for the memories that were made. (And of course, the many and hilarious pictures that we took on Sidney’s camera – I will treasure them forever). (Also, I want to take a moment to thank Bethany and Sidney directly – for being amazing and life-giving friends, but also for dealing with me when I was suddenly, violently, and dramatically ill that one night).
We left Spain together and flew back to New York, then eventually went on to our separate states. At last, I made it back to good old Texas. After a brief week with my family, I drove up to Arkansas for one of my college roommate’s wedding, which was an extremely lovely week of hugs, bachelorette fun, and reuniting with a ton of university folk. It was a bit strange to see the city that had such an impact on me for 4 years – but from an outside perspective. Although it has only been a year since I graduated, it felt like a lifetime as we drove around and visited our old, local haunts and coffee shops.
I went back to Texas and was able to pass the rest of the month in a blissful whirlwind of work and doctor’s appointments. I spent quality time with my family and hometown friends. I ate home-cooked meals and slept in my old room. I relished the familiar comforts and routines of being in my old house with my parents. I saw as many people as my time and energy allowed. And then like that, it was September.
My parents dropped me off at the airport and we said a teary goodbye. Before returning to Spain, I stopped for a few days in Boston where another dear friend was getting married. I met a lot of new faces that weekend – it was a blast! The wedding was a beautiful celebration of love and I even learned some great Armenian dance moves. I had never been to Boston before, so I had planned an extra day into the duration of my stay to explore the city. My friend and her new husband even graciously came along to give me an amazing tour of Boston. It meant so much to spend quality time with them and have such a memorable time in the city. And then it was over – I finally left the US, feeling a tiny bit sad but with muchas ganas to get back to Madrid.
As I reflect over the summer, there was such an overwhelming sense of nostalgia – both with having friends visit me in my new home, and with visiting my two US homes after a huge year of change for myself. And I realize that I am so thankful for all these people in all these places that give meaning to the idea of being “home.” In a summer full of old and new places, travel, and a lot of busy-ness, the thing that I keep thinking about is this: that I am home when I am with people that I love, no matter if it is a familiar or unfamiliar location. It’s a cheesy idea that’s been said by thousands of Hallmark cards, but it proved to be very real to me this summer. Home isn’t only the place where you grew up, or a certain destination, but also a feeling that you get when you are with people who remind you of who you are and that you are valued. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the US, in Europe, or on Mars – you can have “home” with you wherever you go, as long as there are people that you care about with you.
Thanks for reading! It’s been a while. I’m getting used to my new job and schedule, so I’m hoping to start posting more content in the coming months. If you want to connect with me, you can find me over at my contact page or tweet me.