My 35 hours of travel were better than I expected. I prepared for them well, I think, and it wasn’t so bad with the overnight layover because it felt like 6pm-2am to me. The second day was a bit harder because it was a series of 2-hour journeys and I was too nervous to comfortably sleep on any of them. My favorite 2-hour stop was in Madrid, where Customer Service told me they left my luggage in London, but they could mail it directly to my piso. Sweet! I walked lightly around el Parque del Buen Retiro before grabbing a bite to eat in Atocha Station.
The hardest 2-hour leg was the last, on the train between Madrid and Sevilla. I kept on falling asleep without meaning to; my thoughts would turn into waking-REM and I’d jolt back to reality whenever my head collapsed. I’d giggle nervously at the person sitting next to me, and with traditional Spanish straight-face, she would say nothing and slowly turn her head to look out the window. Every. Single. Time. The only time she laughed was when the management restarted Green Lantern for the 4th time because they couldn’t figure out how to do Spanish dubbing instead of subtitles. A harried RENFE employee with wild eyes hurried past after the 3rd failure, her blue silk neck-scarf billowing behind her quite prettily. I like to think she was the one who fixed it because the movie worked after that. GIRL POWER!
Segue, I saw a rad old lady on the train wearing busy black-and-white snake-print pants and a mid-calf-length furry leopard print coat. She also had on a leopard print silk scarf. Somehow she looked completely awesome and way more stylish than I could ever be, and not at all like a goofy pimp. I think it was the way she carried herself. She smiled at me. I fell in love with her.
Everyone is so beautiful and well-kept in Spain. I remembered it and commented on it in the US, but it still surprised me when I saw it again. I felt over-dressed, even, in no make-up but at least not wearing sweat-pants when I got on the plane in Chicago. I felt perfectly fine in London. But when I landed in Madrid, I felt like a dirty, yucky slob! Everyone looks like Penelope Cruz. Everyone is prettier than Penelope Cruz. Everyone was wearing full make-up, their long, thick, Hollywood hair unperturbed by 8 hours of travel; they wore pretty, tailored heather-gray peacoats with matching tall brown boots, clothing artfully layered; they pushed the cutest swiveling carry-on bags and hung smoldering-hot male accessories from their arms to deal with the overhead compartments. I was very aware that I had not showered for 30 hours. I tried to figure out if that smell was coming from the gross leather headrests or my armpits. I pinned my elbows to my sides and casually leaned away from my fellow passengers. I hoped I wouldn’t fart when I finally fell asleep on the tiny plane.
When I got home (oh lovely home!), I was so happy. I missed my piso. And Sevilla is so beautiful and warm, and the skies are so blue, and it’s familiar and alive and it even smells right. At first I thought no one was home, which made me sad since I planned to go to sleep right away but wanted to be able to say hello. I peeked in Andrés’ room, but something was wrong. His room was clean. Too clean. I was naughty and peeked in his armoire to see if he had clothes put away. It was empty. Hm.
At 5:30pm, as I was getting ready for bed, Omar woke up to get ready for work. I talked to him for a bit and it turns out Andrés moved out on Friday. He went to Madrid to live with his sister and to look for work there, since nothing was turning up in Sevilla. Now we are on the hunt for a brand new housemate, just as Derek is poised to arrive. I think I will like basically anyone who is clean, only yells during soccer matches, and doesn’t steal my stuff.
Jet lag is actually a blessing. Waking up at 4:30am means I’m totally going to be on time for work. I’m glad I only have to work two days this week; Friday will be 70 degrees warm and sunny, and I can’t wait to say hello to my pretty city.