Let me first just say that I’m terribly disappointed that the Italian Job is not uploaded to youtube in its entirety. Believe me, I’ve checked, and after getting back from Venice, it’s exactly what I want to watch. Italy was lovely, of course, but it didn’t blow my mind. It definitely deserves a redo– the weather (cold, rainy, very wet) was awful and I think it made a huge impact on my enjoyment as a whole. But I met this guy who attends a Philadelphia church plant of the Village, and I got to ride on the Grand Canal in Venice, and I saw Juliet’s balcony in Verona, and I saw the Pantheon and the and the Colosseum and the Sistine Chapel in Rome. I am excited to return sometime when it’s warm!
So there’s a week left till our overnight bus to Madrid. I feel like the time has simulatneously crept and flown by. It seems like yesterday that we were in that awful hotel in Toledo, having our meeting, or that I was getting off the bus and apprehensively meeting my host mom, or that I was sitting in the sun in La Plaza de Espana getting my purse stolen. And yet, it also feels like years since I’ve driven a car, eaten a decent Oreo, lived with my roommate. It’s been a great three months, and while I’m a smidge sorry to see it end (no more runs in the park, no more walking by the Cathedral, no more chestnuts being sold on the side of the street, no more Maria Carmen), the majority of me can’t wait to get back. I’ve learned so much here, though. I’m more flexible with my yogurt, for one thing, and may end up buying the store brand from now on instead of my expensive yet iconic Yoplait. I can now tolerate apricot jam, and I’ve learned to make a tortilla. I’m now the queen of navigating maps and metros. I can now step into a foreign city and handle myself, provided of course that there are maps and signs in English (please don’t drop me in Baghdad and watch me flounder). My Spanish has definitely improved, and my accent has also gotten better. I’ve learned that I’m not as brave as I thought I was– going alone to some random country to fight international sex slavery sounds awful, and not because of the danger, but because of the loneliness– people are home. But through it all, through the missed flights and the stolen purses and the exploding computers and the tricky weather and the language barrier and the days where I’ve felt so lonely I could crawl up and cry, the Lord has been there, and he is bigger than all of it. That’s a good thing to learn, I think.