A painting by El Greco, I think he’s become my favorite artist (illegal to take pictures, but hey it worked out)
As I sit here now, drinking a glass of Vino Tinto (red wine), in the middle of a buzzing coffee shop surrounded by conversations, some I can understand, and some I can’t, in the heart of the culturally rich, energy filled city of Bilbao I can’t help but sit back, look around and hope that I will never forget this moment. Legitimately everyday for the last month I’ve told myself that I never want to lose the memories I’m making here. Whether an encounter with a local, the walk to school, spanish class, or the numerous amount of laughs I’ve had I can’t help but realize how lucky I am to be where I am. It seems that this adventure is a mere four month vacation, since class is so enjoyable and they are all taught in Spanish, school only facilitates me as I go out and try and conquer this beautiful city.
Flight from Santander, Spain to Brussels
I started writing the other day about how I can remember “better”. But it wasn’t right, I stopped and put my notebook down, leaving it for another time. I see now that I was attempting to ask a question that cannot be answered. Yes, I can write in a journal or try to live more in every moment that passes me by, however, there was a reason the piece didn’t feel right. I realized it’s inevitable that we forget things. Simply, it’s impossible to remember every person, conversation, experience, and moment. Over the last day of putting my notebook down, it hit me that we only remember the things we want to remember. Maybe that doesn’t make sense, but what do you remember? About anything, anyone, anytime? The first time seeing your best friend, or maybe a time in which you succeeded in something you put so much effort into. These are moments that make you, and give merit to this surreal thing we call “life”. I remember so much, yet so little at the same time but what I do recall has made me who I am, and continuously alters the path I walk on. These moments are ingrained within me, just like the footprints I leave in the dirt on my path.
Some artwork on the street in Brussels
The Grand Place (Brussels, Belgium)
Another picture of the Grand Place
It’s almost been an entire month since I arrived in Europe, and for once I don’t think it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. Each day here holds so much importance,substantiality at its finest. When I first saw Bilbao I remember telling myself that this foreign place would become home. And at that time I couldn’t really fathom that idea. After spending last weekend perusing around the city of Brussels, Belgium; a new place with much to do, see, and experience, it was a warming feeling to walk into my home stay here and greet my “mother”,Maika, to tell her I had survived. Belgium was cold, snowy, but AWESOME. The hostel I stayed in was how do you say this? Literally 85 degrees. Sweating, with no sleep I figured the best way to combat the funky-ness of the joint was to throw my backpack on and spend as much time in the city and away from the room as possible. It was the right choice. Finding myself in the middle of a bar in the heart of Brussels, drinking the best and strongest beer imaginable listening to American songs, no not songs, sorry…JAMS like “We Will Rock You” and “Mambo Number 5” I had the pleasure of meeting two guys from Sweden and shared experiences and stories with them for the rest of the weekend. Now, that’s something I’ll remember.
There’s something about new experiences, a realization of some sorts that you can’t understand when you’re in the moment, and not even the next day. But, I let myself refrain from writing for a week and my memory (funny how that works) highlights what I really took from the weekend. So cool, I mean literally the weekend was so friggin’ cool. Update: now it’s been two days and I’m writing on the bus to a winery two hours from Bilbao. Anyways, it’s amazing how I see Bilbao now. Like I’ve written before, Bilbao is nestled by mountains and 20 minutes from the beach. The definition of the best of both worlds, but also its more than just a geographical setting. It’s safe, welcoming, home. But how could I forget, it rains everyday here. Haha, you think I’m kidding? Nah. It’s rained literally everyday for the past 10 and the forecast calls for another 10. But that’s just fine, winter here is rain season. Better than snow right?
I won’t remember the rain though. I’ll remember the taste of Tortilla de Patata. I’ll remember the pride Spainards have for their country. I’ll remember looking out into the mountains and soaking up the luck I have for seeing such beauty. But in reality, I’ll remember everything. Just because I want to.
La Guardia, Spain
Top of the tower and only grapes to be seen for miles
Wine, and more wine