Crap, is it really February 2012 already? Where has the time gone? I've said it a million times, and yes, I'm saying it once again, the past 6 months have been a crazy whirlwind of ups and downs. Should I recap how I ended 2011?
Where did I even leave off? Wow. Right around my birthday, was it? That far back? I didn't realize it had been that long. This might take a while.
After my birthday, a lot of things started to happen like rapid fire. I previously hinted at a certain chef who threw me a birthday dinner party so delicious I had to wipe my drool off the table... yeah, that chef (*giggles to herself*). Well, as much as we fought it (which is difficult to do in a romantic and beautiful city such as San Sebastian), that relationship started growing into something a bit more... dare I say it... serious...
I mean, come on. HE CAN COOK.
... and he's got some pretty sweet dance moves. Geez.
To be honest, I'm not really that difficult to catch... if you make me laugh, communicate, and feed me (the biggest factor being FEED ME), I'm putty in your hands. But I've never met someone with the same passion, if not a bigger passion for food, than I do.
We ended our summer with some experiences most food-lovers would have wet-dreams about...
Spent a beautiful, sunny afternoon sinfully indulging in the 23 other-worldly creations of Andoni Aduriz at the 3rd best restaurant in the world, Mugaritz...
... and scratched one thing off my Bucket List.
Spent 4 days at San Sebastian Gastronomika, one of the largest food conventions in the world...
... and with names like Joan Roca, Grant Achatz, and Heston Blumenthal on the program agenda... became culinarily re-inspired.
I still haven't gone through all of the pictures... and there will be more stories to come.
So David and I started getting a little serious in San Sebastian... and as the nights became longer and the beaches quieter, we both started to realize that Never Never Land couldn't sustain us forever. Some of the greatest friends we made this summer started to travel on to bigger and better things, and with the lack of tourists in the off-season, my savings started to dwindle. I started to find myself staying inside more due to the lack of sunshine. Rain. Cold. And after the rough year my family just went through, every time I talked to my mom the first thing out of her mouth was, "Are you coming home for Christmas?"
Maybe it was time to come home.
It took David and I about a month to make the decision to move back to the States, with the biggest question being, "So, do you want to move in together?"
Eeek.... I don't know if we're ready... Maybe we're ready... Are we ready? I think we're ready... Ok.... Are we really gonna do this? We're gonna do this... Let's do it... Ok.
We booked our flights and didn't tell a soul. Scratch that. I told a bunch of people... everyone I could except for anyone who would even think about spilling the beans to my family. The plan was to surprise both of our families on Thanksgiving Day. I would fly home to Orlando, David to Iowa, and just show up on the front doorstep with a fork in one hand, and a suitcase in the other. We would each spend one week with our families, then pack up our stuff and meet in Atlanta on December 1st. That was the plan.
The secret surprise lasted up until about 8pm on Thanksgiving Day. We had planned our flights so we would both arrive in our respective cities around 5:30-6pm (usual dinnertime for Americans). It was all going to work out perfectly... until of course, air traffic control interfered. David's first flight out of Bilbao left much earlier than anticipated... which only left him to wait in Barcelona for his delayed connecting flight. I on the other hand, had a canceled first flight, extra layover, ultimately landing me in Orlando around 11:45 at night. On top of that, the night before we had of course, one last hoorah with the few San Seb crew left in town...
... and one last walk along La Concha beach.
Slightly hungover, going on twenty minutes of sleep, a 5am nausea-inducing bus ride to the airport, canceled first flight, two layovers now instead of one, and no breakfast or coffee... my lip was bleeding from fighting back tears of frustration. All I wanted was to be home.
By the time I made it to my second layover in Atlanta, it was already 8pm. I figured surprising my tryptophan-filled family now wouldn't warrant the same enthusiasm I was hoping for. I just wish I could have seen my mom's face when I asked her, "Can you bring me a slice of pumpkin pie when you pick me up from the airport?"
I was borderline delirious by the time my plane landed in Orlando, but the second I hugged my mom, dad, and brother, I knew I was home.
Some of the most stressful situations in life turn out to be the ones that mean the most.