The Countdown Is On

What is it about having something to look forward to that makes dealing with your day-to-day problems, that much easier? The visualization of a countdown towards a certain date is motivating and gives us hope for something incredible that we know is awaiting us in our future. Whether it be towards your next day off, a concert you’ve been waiting for or your dream vacation, that countdown makes it all the more exciting along the way. The last few days leading up to that marked day on our calendar bring us so much happiness because we know we are about to rewarded for our patience.

My countdown has officially begun for my return back to my favorite city in the world, Barcelona.

flag

As of today, I have 15 days left in my other favorite city, San Antonio. After spending 44 days (yes I counted) in Spain last year, at the end of my trip I was getting close to my 90 allotted days within the Schengen Zone. For those that are wondering what that is, as Americans, we are allowed 90 days during a 180 day period of travel visa free, within 26 countries in Europe. The Schengen Zone includes Spain, so while I am legally not allowed to be there more than three months at a time, thanks to this 90/180 rule, I can be there without a visa for up to 90 days, which is a pretty sweet deal.

After spending the last 5 months at home in Texas, I am eager for more travel and new life experiences. Anyone who knows me will tell you that summer is my favorite time of the year. I live for those endless beach days laying under the sun and the late summer nights that turn into early mornings surrounded by your favorite people. As February and March of this year seemingly flew by, I kept going back and forth with my plans of what I wanted to do for the summer. When I left Spain in December, I left with every intention of going back as soon as possible. One night a few weeks ago I was laying in bed, still sorting through different options, when out of nowhere, something just clicked for me, suddenly that indecisiveness was gone and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I bought my plane ticket 5 minutes later. I went to sleep with the biggest grin on my face that night, probably dreaming of tapas bars and fresh sangria.

tapas

I think I ate here 3-4 times a week, at least. Yum.

Something I often get asked from people is how I manage to not get homesick or miss my family when I am away for long periods of time. It’s almost as if they somehow assume that my family is low on my priority list. Of course I get homesick but when I am in each new city, I manage to make a little home with the people I meet. I create these memories there with those new friends that have made me think of the word “home” differently. I will always be from San Antonio but over my lifetime there will be many different places that I refer to as home and that is 100% okay with me. As of right now San Antonio, Chicago and Barcelona are all different variations of home to me and each bring something into my life that the other cannot. I think that is a beautiful thing.

Now that I have nothing to do but wait for my departure date, my mind is constantly running wild with ideas of what the next three months of my life are going to look like. All I know is that I will be living with some of my friends there in Barcelona, working for one of the coolest hostels I have ever stayed at, Hostel One Paralelo and the rest is up in the air. That is just the way I like it, thrilling and mysterious. As far as goals for the summer, I hope to come back fluent in spanish. I intend to practice everyday and am going to stick to that so I can hold my own in conversations with not only the locals, but my family back home as well.

My countdown to May 9th and the Spurs playoffs is what is keeping me going for the next two weeks! If any of you reading this are wondering where to go for your summer vacation, feel free to come visit me in sunny Barcelona, you have my word that we will have the best time. Not to worry, Spurs-Nation, I will be supporting my boys throughout the playoffs from 5,000 miles away and definitely make a huge deal about them at the hostel. I am even taking my Spurs flag with me in my pack! As for my family here at home, I will be back to annoy you before you know it. To my friends there in Spain, I cannot wait to be reunited with you all, very soon! If anyone is looking for me in the next couple of months, I’ll be the girl at the beach with a mojito in her hand.

moj

¡Salud!

 

All My Love,

Valerie

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