It’s another rainy day but this one’s much more manageable—mostly because it has to be. We had to check out of the Airbnb by 9am, and our flight isn’t until 6:15 this evening, so that means we had a lot of time to explore Annecy and make up for what we missed yesterday. I also tried to make up for my lack of photos yesterday. We woke up around 7am with a brief scare from daylight savings time (it’s a week earlier here than in the U.S. so I’ll be a little closer to home’s time zone until Sunday!).
I’m so glad we had time to explore Annecy more. It was cold and rainy and my toes were wet all day, but it was so worth it. We started by trying to go to the cafe we missed on Friday morning, but they weren’t open yet. Sunday’s seem pretty slow in Annecy, which I really like. We had a potential problem with our bus tickets to the airport, so we went to the bus station to try and get it sorted out. When we finally had a game plan, we walked back to the cafe and it was just about to open! There was a small crowd of people by the front door; it’s a pretty popular place. We didn’t know this going into it, but it’s the kind of restaurant that has one pre-chosen menu for the meal and they serve it in courses for one price. The cafe was adorable, and ALL of the food was delicious. They started with freshly squeezed orange juice and our choice of beverage. I got a chai tea latte. There was also a basket of fresh bread and a plate of honey, chocolate, and fruit jam on the table. Then they brought out the first small dish: a banana and strawberry smoothie bowl with granola and chia seeds on top. For the second course they brought pancakes with a caramel syrup on top—they were AMAZING. Finally, they served a plate with mushroom soup, some kind of spinach muffin, a baked egg wrapped in bacon, and a coconut/chocolate pastry. It was a ton of food, but I loved all of it and it was so worth it for the experience. It was also a really nice way to leisurely enjoy brunch before our big day of travel. We spent the next part of the morning exploring Annecy. We walked around admiring the charming, fairytale qualities of the town as well as the unique French-style buildings. We passed tons of shops and walked through the Sunday market which had such fresh and delicious looking food and neat trinkets, jewelry, and clothes. It was so nice to have a chance to really see the city before heading home. The rest of the day was the usual stuff: waiting for buses and sitting in airports, but with my roommate it just felt like an easy, long day of hanging out and exploring. At the airport, I got to eat some macarons too, which checked another box on my wish list for this trip. Now it’s 6:35 and we’re flying home. It’ll still be about five and a half hours before we make it back to our apartment in Spain. I’m not worried about the travel or getting back late. I don’t mind this part, though I’d prefer to stay out of an airport for a while. I like the traveling and the new experiences. Honestly, what I’m struggling with right now, as privileged and ridiculous as it sounds, is being happy with going back to Spain. It’s not that I don’t like it, because I do. I think homesickness is just kicking in pretty hard again. I miss home a little, but really I miss family and friends, I miss being more in control of my schedule and what I eat. My gut hasn’t been loving the new diet it’s on and I wish I could do more to regulate it while I’m here. I’m struggling between the line of enjoying Spain as a tourist so it stays exciting and diving deeper into the culture, letting it become my home. I want it to be, but I think I just feel a bit stuck right now. I’m not sure how to fight through the homesickness and immerse myself in where I am. I’m not sure how to make a place feel like home when everyone that I love isn’t there. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong to not be happy on my way back to Spain. It feels like an eternity before I get back to Texas, but I know it’s actually so short and I know I’ll regret it if I stay in this mindset and don’t choose to enjoy my life where I am. I’m just not sure what to do to change. This isn’t the post I was expecting to write today, but sometimes you don’t realize everything you’re feeling until you pull on the thread and start to talk about it. I don’t want to hide and pretend that I’m not feeling this as much as I want this experience to be perfect. There’s freedom in knowing you are more than your feelings, that you can feel something without it defining your experience or who you are. It feels nice to know that I can be honest about my feelings because they aren’t all of me, they’re just a normal part of this experience. Confronting feelings and being honest is always best and, I believe, the first step toward getting somewhere else. I might be feeling different 20 minutes from now, who knows. For now, this is where I’m at. Now I’m going to watch a movie on the plane.
Well it’s now 10:30 and we missed our train back to Salamanca because the plane landed late. We had to pay for more tickets to get home, which really sucks. But on the plus side, we’re still going to get home tonight, and I made some plans to help me feel better about my time here. They mostly have to do with diet and self care, but that and not having much control over my days are some of the main things bothering me right now. I don’t know if my plans will help, but it makes me feel better to have some kind of idea and some kind of action for me to do to feel better. I’m also going to give some thought to my plans for this weekend. I’m deciding between saving money and staying in Salamanca, or spending money to travel somewhere else in Spain. I want to make an effort to appreciate my host country more.
It’s past 1:00am and we’re still on the train. It’s taking every bit of strength I have to get home tonight and even more to imagine class tomorrow. It wouldn’t be so bad, I think, but I haven’t eaten much since that brunch and I’m dehydrated, and we’ve been traveling all day. I just want to be in bed. But once we get to the station, it’s just about a twenty minute walk home. I don’t regret anything; I still think today has been good, just extremely long. It’s proof of the benefits of traveling with other people. If I’d had to do this day alone, I don’t know that I would’ve had the strength to walk home in that freezing wind at nearly 2am. But with my roommate, we help each other, push each other, motivate each other to make it through and keep a good attitude, and remind ourselves that this will be a good story one day. I am beyond tired, but also deeply grateful for her and for this trip.