While everyone was celebrating MLK's legacy and his dream, I found myself on Monday sort of in a dream state myself. This past weekend I turned into a true 'jetsetter' and just went to the States for a couple days - yea about 30 hours of flying and only about 55 hours of being there, which explains why on Tuesday night when Joseba picked me up at the Bilbao airport, I found myself asking 'was I really just in NYC?
We spent the evening catching up and swapping stories with all the family and then headed home. Along the way, I had mentioned I'd like to go to a grocery story during my short stay and although not a supermarket, we stopped off at CVS for a lil shopping. After not having lived or even BEEN to the States in almost 3 years, I get extremely excited about all things from home. Dr. Pepper was my first neccessary purchase, followed by mac n cheese, sour cream and onion lays, bean and bacon soup and the list goes on and on. Everyone always offers to send me boxes full of all the things I miss, but the funny thing is that after not having things for so long you just sort of forget they exist - I sort of had forgotten about all the candy bars we have and Arizona Ice Tea - while all delicious these are things that wouldn't even cross my mind living here. Of course when I am home I go crazy, but then come home and go back to eating my normal stuff. Something that even I was surprised that I forgot was 'cash back' at stores. It just does not exist over here and I was so shocked/happy to have the little credit card machine ask me if I wanted cash back - don't mind if I do thank you!
Stocked up with goodies we rested at home and got up early the next morning for the all-important Baby Shower. Monica's mom and her best friend Shalimar had organized the party and it was lovely - a winter theme with a momma and baby polar bear as the mascots. The cake was in the shape of an igloo and was something you would see on a Food Network channel (also kinda forgot about that if you can believe it). Seated at the friends table, it was so amazing to chat away and joke around in English - not only that, to speak in English, hear in English, see things in English, do everything in English. I'd forgotten how friendly waiters are and it felt amazing to say 'thank you' instead of 'gracias'. While I do speak Spanish and it's not that it is hard, it something I have to think about - whereas English is obviously natural.
Between the hundred baby gifts she received, it was sort of strange to see where our lives had ended up. Monica and I have been friends since freshman year of college (Go Devils!) and had some pretty fun times. Later I moved to NYC and a bit after she moved to Jersey. Since moving here we have stayed in touch and watching her open up baby gifts next to her fiance it was kind of a 'wow, we are grown ups now' moment. Weird how it sneaks up on you.
On the way back to her place, we drove along the riverside and with the freezing temps and clear sky, New York was perfectly visible across the Hudson. Monica drove along like it was nothing, and I rode along like a tourist - taking in the view and loving every moment of it. With the sun setting the windows shone a orangey-gold and the Empire's spire blasted a green light over the city. From across the river it looked so peaceful, and it was fun to think of the thousands of things going on at the same moment over there. Having only lived in NYC for like a year and a half, I honestly idealize the city to the max. I loved living there and although I wouldn't try to repeat it (can't repeat something you see as practically perfect), my heart swells when I think of the city and all that goes with it. And while I wasn't even close to my home home, since the Big Apple was at once my home I guess I got a nostalgic feeling.
The thing is, I don't exactly get homesick, having not lived at home for almost 10 years, but I do get, I guess you could say country sick in the sense that from time to time I miss my homeland. You cant go grocery shopping at 12am here. You don't get your coffee in a mug. You can't find Cool Ranch Doritos. We don't have waitresses who seem genuinely happy to be serving you. You don't have hours of endless home shows (maybe better hahah). There are so many other stupid things that until you don't have them you don't even consider appreciating them.
The city skyline was the backdrop to our brunch the next morning as well as we ate in Hoboken, NJ along the riverside again. Breakfast here is a croissant or toast or even just coffee at a bar, and oh my gosh was I happy to see a massive menu of just morning meals! I rocked a delicious egg/potato/cheese/avocado/tomato skillet, toast with those little packages of jam they have sitting in those 4 package holders on the table, endless coffee in a mug and ice water (impossible to order here). I was in heaven and again gazed at NYC almost the whole meal. After, my American dreams became even more amazing when we stopped at...drumroll please...TARGET! Pretty much my favorite store of all time, I went on a fast mini-shopping spree - greeting cards, clothes, NyQuil, a new purse, etc. I could have stayed all day, honestly.
With my little carry-on suitcase packed to the brim, we stopped shopping and then had a few hours to kill before my flight, which we spent watching TLC. I used to watch this channel religiously - no matter what was on (except A Baby Story). I was happy to learn of this 'new' (new to me atleast) show about the weddings - 4 girls go to each other's weddings and vote for the best (drama much?!) along with Next Great Baker or something like that - loved it! HGTV got my attention from time to time with the classic House Hunters. With leftover pizza, Dr. Pepper and these shows vegged out on the couch, I was in American heaven.
Sadly though, my few hours in my country had to end sometime and before I knew it I was on the return flight home. Joseba picked me up after my long journey with a big smile and an even bigger hug and I will say it was great to be home! The carride back though, with the jetlag setting in, I still couldn't believe I had just went to NY for the weekend. Dreamlike for sure!
Kisses (English English English!)