Year Abroad / An overdue update

Hola chiquitos! Since my last post a lot of things have happened. Jack visited Zaragoza, I went home for Easter, spent a considerable amount of time at the doctors’ and in airports, and last week I returned to Spain for my final ten weeks here. It’s amazing how quickly the last (almost) 8 months have passed – it’s not long until I do my next and final lot of exams and leave for good! I’m just as surprised, as I imagine some of you are reading this, that I’ve got to this point and am still here, so pat on the back for me.

Jack visiting was so much fun. He’s not been to Zaragoza since September when I first moved here, so I was really excited to show him my city now I know it so well. He was with me for just short of a week, so I made sure to pack in as much as possible. We visited some of the tourist sites such as the basilica tower and the Aljafería – two things I’ve never done before either! The weather was gorgeous while he was here, bar a freak thunderstorm in the middle, and so we took lots of lovely touristy snaps. We went for a lovely meal at Cantina Borago, which is a gorgeous restaurant in the old town. Plus, it was nice to get dressed up and wear my new floral boots, even if I did want to take them off after about 15 minutes of walking! I even managed to take him on a night out so he could meet my friends and see what Spanish nightlife is like, though I’m not sure how much he enjoyed the hangover afterwards – we were both pretty worse for wear on the Sunday morning, that’s for sure. I had an exam while he was visiting and even then, it didn’t feel as horrible a prospect, as it was just nice to have him around again. Absence really does make the heart go fonder, which I know is sappy but is so true. It’s so weird to think that Jack’s visits to Zaz were about 6 months apart, because in some ways it feels like he was only here a couple of weeks ago, but that means I’m a couple of months away from spending all summer in sunny ol’ Birmingham with him. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to go home.

It was so nice to have my fave back in Spain with me

Speaking of home, going back for Easter was amazing! Despite the 4 hour delay caused by the Zaragoza Air Base (gracias for that one), meaning I got home to Birmingham at 4am the next morning, it was worth the travelling. I got to catch up with almost all of my home pals, drinking one too many gin and tonics and discussing dissertations, as well as spend several days visiting my grandparents, my aunt, sharing cocktails over lunch with Hannah as is tradition by now, finally dragging Alice to Solihull after 2 and a half years, and also celebrating my brother’s birthday – it’s not every year you turn 16, after all. My mom made the most amazing birthday cake for him too… I expect something similar for my 22nd please! One of the nicest things was being able to spend some time with my dad too: one of the highlights of my trip home was our Sunday night drive to Stratford-upon-Avon, blasting some mo-town and just talking about life. I’ve really missed things like that being away from my family this year.

The birthday boy and I, and his amazing birthday cake!

I also went to Bedford to see Jack, even though I’d spent the previous week with him in Spain, and we went to see Jon Richardson. We booked tickets to see him back in October so I was super excited, especially as he’s my favourite comedian. I’ve watched his first two DVDs a gazillion times and I even went to his last tour, so it was really cool I got to go with Jack this time and share a night like that with someone else rather than just go by myself. He even quoted a tweet of mine (cringe) and said my full name on stage… safe to say, I was a very happy Kirstie that night.

Catching up with some of my pals

Easter isn’t really a thing in our house: we might have a roast dinner, we all have chocolate eggs, but we’re not a religious family. This year the weather was awful but we all sat down together, Jack included, for a Sunday dinner, watching a film and pigging out on chocolate until we felt sick. I even got to spend a night back in Selly Oak with Jack before my flight, which made leaving just a tad bit harder, but I guess I’ll be living there again pretty soon! I wasn’t so happy coming back to Spain, mainly due to some mishaps with coaches which meant I was stuck in Barcelona for four hours, but I got to see my friend Maddie for some tapas and hugs so my Easter travel disasters were remedied pretty wonderfully in the end.

I was really sad to leave home again, as I always am, and although I’ve been living in Spain for so long now, I still got very emotional. I don’t think hormones helped in all honesty! But even so, I’ve come back to Zaragoza knowing that I only have a while left and then the biggest challenge of my life is over: bam, finito, I survived (just). As much as I’m dreading dissertation and final year stress, I know I’ll handle it slightly better having gone through everything I have this year. In the last hour I booked my flight home for good which is quite a scary thing to press the ‘pay now’ button on, but I know that I will be leaving this place a much stronger, resilient and positive person. Funny how perspectives can change once you’re over the worst part, right? Now I just need to soothe my sunburn, brush up on Italian for my trip to Milan, and actually get round to unpacking for the last ever time… I should probably make a start on that now, actually.

Hasta la próxima vez!

Make sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with my year abroad.

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