Thursday, October 21, 2010

Surviving Sunday

This past weekend I was the most physically sick I've been since I arrived in Spain. Not coincidentally, this past weekend I was also the most homesick I've been since I arrived in Spain.

I woke up one morning with the stomach flu, and it did not stop all throughout the day. Meanwhile Chelsea woke up with a high fever. We were a pathetic pair, as Chelsea shivered underneath her down comforter and I tripped over myself every fifteen minutes running to the bathroom. Not a Sunday to remember.

As I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, contemplating what life would be like without me and feeling terribly sorry for myself, I thought: What would make you feel better? If you could have anything in the world right at this moment, what would it be?

Of course, the answer was my family. I needed my mom's practical reassurance that this was no big deal, not to worry, just drink plenty of fluids and get your rest, and stop being dramatic. And I needed my dad's incessant visits into my room, making sure I didn't need anything and checking on my fever. I needed my little brother's big, serious eyes asking if I was going to make it till tomorrow, and my cat Meow Meow purring and snuggled up against me.

What I did not need, or want, I should say, was to take care of myself.

So, because I had no idea what in the world to do or how to make myself better, naturally I used WebMD's symptom checker, and concluded I had Tylenol Poisoning. This did not comfort me in the slightest.

Almost immediately after that, I heard Jordan's voice ringing in my head: "You are NOT allowed to go on WebMd, it always makes you panic more." Right he was, but now it was too late. To make matters worse, my Senora kept popping her head in the room, asking if I wanted to go to the hospital.

I ended up calling the wisest person I know, my grandma, and asked her what I should do, leaving out my crazy fear that this phonecall could potentially be the last one I ever make. She listened to my woes and calmed me down and gave me that warm fuzzy blanket of comfort that I so desperately missed. I wanted to talk on the phone with her forever, but my inability to keep even water in my stomach for more than fifteen minutes inhibited me from doing so...

Lo and behold, I am much better now and made it on my own. Chelsea is better too. However, this experience reminded me of things that I already knew; my family is the most important thing to me and the people who I will always turn to for anything.  Living on your own, abroad, in a country that doesn't speak your language, makes you kind of feel invincible; like, if you can do this, you can probably do anything.

But being sick does not give you that feeling. Being sick reminds you that you are human just like everybody else, and deep down, all of us young, traveling, independent adults are actually children at heart who will always, always need our families.

To my wonderful, loving family: I miss you so much, think about you all the time, and not a day passes when I don't silently send all of my love from my side of the world to yours.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Falling in Love

My favorite colors haven’t changed since I was five years old. I still love Fire-Engine Red, Rubber-Ducky Yellow, Sky Blue and Forest Green. There have been a few occasions where I think to myself, wow, peach is a really pretty color, or I kind of like periwinkle a bit, but in the end I never stray from the basic four. This is the way it has always been.

Until the other day, when I went to the park, and The Season of Fall in Spain forced me to love new colors. I had no choice. I saw colors I have never seen before.

Side note: I have taken into account the fact that I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life, and therefore my idea of seasonal change means just a little bit of rain in December; however, I am pretty confident in my belief that even someone from Oregon or Montana, or wherever they have real seasons, would agree with me on the following:

If you could see the way the pale, golden sunlight hits the glossy part of the leaves and makes them shimmer and dance, or if you could watch the sun go down as a backdrop of soft oranges and pinks blankets the sky, or if everything around you was sparkling and swaying with the wind in hues of deep, vivacious reds and oranges and browns and yellows, you would probably catch the next flight to Madrid before the season of fall ends. What I have seen is unreal, and walking through the park is nothing short of enchanting. 

And if you think the description above has just been a romanticized version of an ordinary day in October spent at an ordinary park, take a look:

And that is why I am falling in love with fall.