Year Abroad / A surprise trip

Hola mis cariños, hope you’re all well. Last week saw me take a trip home to the UK for a few days…

I’ve been in Zaragoza for over a month or so now, and at this time of year there is an annual festival to honour the Virgen del Pilar (the Virgin Mary of the Pillar). This essentially means that classes are cancelled for a week and while many people join in the festivities, it is also the perfect time for many to take a trip. Since my goodbye to my grandparents hadn’t totally gone as planned the first time round, I thought it would be nice to surprise them with a visit. So off I popped, jumping on a four hour-long coach journey to Barcelona where I stayed with Siân for the night before flying back to Birmingham the next day. It was lovely to see Siân and share some year abroad tales, and it was even weirder to be back home so soon the next day, especially as it was so much colder than Spain. However, I immediately sighed with relief when I realised I was back in Brum – there’s no place like home!

I stayed with Jack in Selly Oak all weekend, which was a really good idea in hindsight. I get homesick so easily that I think if I’d spent 5 days in my own bed, in the house I grew up in, I would struggle to cope sleeping when I went back to Zaragoza. It was nice to spend some time with him just walking around Birmingham and having a chilled out date night (complete with girly cocktails) on Brindleyplace, before meeting up with Lucy, Aaron, Alice, Ruby and Barney at the Bristol Pear for a catch up. I went in to see my old work colleagues the next day and had my first Starbucks in two months – Zaragoza does not have a single branch, imagine my struggle as a self-confessed Starbs addict.

Seeing my grandparents, my aunt and uncle and the rest of my family was so lovely, especially as for many of them it was a total surprise. My aunt and were uncle were getting married two days after I saw them, so it was really nice that I got to wish them a lovely day in person. However, the best part of the afternoon? My grandad was in such a good mood, probably in one of the best I’d seen him in for a while. He was constantly commenting on how I was dressed and how smart I looked, and continued praising me for going abroad. I’m not entirely sure how much he remembers in terms of my year abroad exactly, and whether he always remembers that I’m actually living quite far away, but being able to have him say goodbye properly to me made me so happy. Also, giving him and my grandma a hug was so comforting – I wish I could bottle that feeling up and keep it for when I’m feeling homesick.

Another thing I had planned whilst in Birmingham was to surprise my friend Faye. We spent the entire summer attempting to meet up so we could have a proper goodbye, but alas, it never happened – she’s a busy gal. I hatched a plan: I messaged her saying that Jack was going to hand deliver a present I’d bought her (they live really close to one another) and instead surprise her at the door. It worked a treat! I’ve never seen someone so shellshocked. We had a lovely cuppa and caught up about dissertations and university life and it was just so lovely to speak to a familiar face. Love you, Faye bae.

Considering I had classes cancelled until Wednesday, I got to stay at home for a bit longer. I went to Fab and got severely drunk with my friends, making sure to Snapchat a video of the dance floor as McFly played (as is traditional by now) and to get many posey photos with Josh and Ryan. I saw my parents and my younger brother briefly on Sunday night, going for a curry (of course) and sharing stories of things that I’d missed. They’re coming out to see me properly at the end of next week so that’ll be something to look forward to. Jack and I took a walk onto campus and met up with Conrad, who gifted me with some copies of my beloved Redbrick, and I got to explore the new library. It is such a weird place, I imagine studying there next year when I’m back will feel much more intense (and frustrating with the really bad wifi connections, but I digress).

It was hard leaving everyone again on Tuesday afternoon, and of course I cried a lot – what else would you expect from me of all people, eh? However, I know that now I’ve been home and been able to experience what it’s like to come and go from my new home in Spain, I’m sure it’ll get easier when I do it again at Christmas. My classes are starting to get more intense and I have some potential trips in the works so hopefully it’ll keep me and my mind busy for the next two months.

Until December, Birmingham.

I can’t wait to see you all lit up in your Christmas lights.

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Image credit: Google Images


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