Year Abroad / The Sutherlands take Zaragoza

What better way to mark my being in Spain for a while than with a visit from my family?

My mom obviously saw the city for a couple of days when she came out with me when I moved to make sure I settled in, but my dad and brother only had a few phone calls and photos to gauge what it was like until they arrived. After a couple of days of exploring Barcelona, mainly La Rambla and Camp Nou, suddenly they were hopping off their bus in Zaragoza to see little old me. Trust me, the tears were flowing like mad the minute I saw my dad’s face and realised they were all in Spain with me.

After checking them in to their hotel, and practically moving myself in with them for a couple of nights, I showed them around my flat and took them out for dinner. We went to Puerta Cinegia, a food court that in her few days here my mother grew very fond of, and somewhere I have probably been to for drinks at least once a week since being here. It was so nice to share stories about their time in Barcelona and hear my dad’s grumbles about his injured foot and the flight over to Spain – I swear no one has a good Ryanair experience. Also just being able to give my parents a hug was a big thing for me. My uncle passed away a couple of weeks ago from cancer and not being there for my dad during the whole thing was very hard for me. Being able to give him a kiss and a hug was the only thing I wanted to do. And besides, for those of you who know me well, most of the time a hug is all I want, so I was very pleased. After dinner I took them for a walk to see the basilica, the main talking point whenever anyone comes to visit, and we sat and had ice cream while just taking it all in. Of course, I made them pose for some right cheesy photos, and for a family who doesn’t like taking photos often, I’d say some of them turned out well, but what do I know? Also, my brother is without question the tallest person in our family and that freaks me out just a little bit…

The next day was… interesting. We hadn’t really planned anything so after walking around for a while for somewhere to eat, we settled on sitting outside on Plaza España with some hot tasty sandwiches and beers. This time we managed to walk around the inside of the basilica itself and we just had a relaxing afternoon walking around, me showing them everything I knew about the city (which isn’t a great deal but enough to blag for a while at least). Following a very long, well-needed siesta, we decided to go out for a proper meal. We all got dolled up and went to the ribs place I went to on my birthday – if you know a Sutherland, you know that steak and ribs are very, very popular, so my dad was very excited. After ordering lots of food and 2 litres of beer between us (apparently me and dad fancied a challenge), I could barely move. I dragged us all on to the tram, with my mom still very disappointed that she couldn’t have her new-found favourite drink, tinto de verano. She’d been practicing how to say it so she could order it for herself all night only to find the restaurant didn’t sell it… all we heard on the tram the whole journey was her showing off how she could finally say it properly. The purpose of the tram journey was to show my family Parque Grande at night as it’s simply gorgeous. However, my dad and his bad foot did not appreciate all the steps…

On Saturday, it was their final day here. We managed to sneak me out of the hotel avoiding extra charges (sneaky yet effective) before doing a bit of shopping. It’s always nice walking out of a store with a brand new skirt when your parents are paying! I took them to a super cute café for a snacky lunch before we did some more shopping, this time taking our time to just enjoy each other’s company while we were all still together. However, we made the fatal mistake of leaving lunch a bit too late and so we ended up back at the ribs place for a burger before they had to leave for their train. We sat at the table writing postcards for my grandparents and talking about school (my brother is in his final year at secondary school), trying not to think about the fact they were leaving. I am very close with my family and I consider my mom to be my very best friend, so saying goodbye to her a second time was very, very tough. It was made all that bit harder by not being able to go and stand on the platform and wave my family off, and leaving the train station felt very bizarre having been with my three favourites for a couple of days. To keep myself busy I met up with my friend Sinéad to see The Girl on the Train, coming back to snuggle in to bed and watch Graham Norton and keep myself happy that I’d seen my family. I have been really struggling with being homesick, missing my home town, my family, Jack, etc. and it is very hard being away from them being as we’re so close, however I know I’ll see them very soon. My family coming to visit was the absolute best. If it was up to me, they’d be visiting again this week.

Hasta la próxima vez xxx

My wonderful parents aka the two best friends a girl could ask for

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