Hi everyone! I am so disappointed that my Cadiz post has disappeared, but I am at least going to try and repost some of the pictures and captions since Cadiz was by far one of the most beautiful places I have visited on my trip!
My heart is overwhelmed with the love and hospitality that I have experienced since arriving in Vigo on Saturday. I was invited to stay with Marcela’s family (my very close friend, mother-figure and mentor) for the week of Semana Santa.The majority of her family I have never had the chance to meet and yet as I sat on the thirteen hour bus ride (yes you read that right.. thirteen hours!) I felt as though I was finally traveling home for a “spring break” with family. I had no idea what a blessing I was in for!
I arrived Saturday morning around 7:30am after leaving from Sevilla on the bus around 6:15pm. Marcela’s family lives in Vigo and Pontevedra, two cities in Galicia, the northern region of Spain above Portugal that are very close to the coast. I was greeted at the bus station by Vivi (Marcela’s older sister) and Paco (Vivi’s husband) and received two big hugs that I so desperately needed after a tiring journey on the bus. Vivi and Paco only live about 5 minutes from the bus station in Vigo, and we returned to their house to eat breakfast and go back to sleep. I was so thankful that despite my exhaustion, my spanish still managed to come out! Jessica and Angel, the children of Marcela’s youngest sister Veronica, were staying with Vivi and Paco, and that afternoon the five us drove around the city of Vigo stopping at the beach to see the beautiful Cies Islands in the distance. We also drove to the top of a hill to see some Celtic ruins and the river that separates Portugal from Spain. Afterwards we went and took a ferry across the river and drove along the Portugal/Spain (and stopped for a pastry and coffee of course!) before taking a bridge back in to Spain to Vigo. It was such a fun day, and nine year old Jessica quickly became my very best friend. Angel (who is 11) and Jessica both speak very fast, and it has been a challenge trying to keep up with them!
Sunday morning we slept in and then drove to Veronica’s house in Pontevedra to take Jessi and Angel home and to eat lunch together. It was great to all be together (except Marcela’s parents who come home Thursday from Venezuela and Angel, Veronica’s husband who is working in Venezuela) and to see Veronica! Never in my life have I felt so welcomed and comfortable in a new place! After lunch they took me into the center of the city of Pontevedra, and Veronica showed me some of the many stores, churches and parks of the city. In the evening I went back to Vigo with Paco and Vivi to stay with them. Monday was a relaxing day and I was able to get some sleep, eat breakfast and drink coffee while watching it rain and play guitar! It’s not piano, but it was sure wonderful to make some music after two months of not playing anything. In the evening we went to the grocery store together and on the drive home laughed really hard sharing tongue twisters in both Spanish and English. Sometimes it is the simplest things that make life the most beautiful!
On Tuesday, Veronica and the kids came to Vigo to pick me up and take me to spend the rest of the week with them in Pontevedra. Vivi and Paco have other company coming. After they picked me up we drove to the Castelo de Soutomaior and saw some of the beautiful Galician countryside. We enjoyed singing Pablo Alboran while we were in the car (one of my new favorites!) and talking and laughing together on our way back to the house. When we arrived home, Veronica started with my hair! She is a hairdresser and has quite a few clients that come to the house which means she has a great set-up to do a variety of things at home! She cut and colored (yes… the first time that has ever happened… it’s not quite done yet so I will leave you hanging with what is coming.. .don’t worry nothing drastic :) ) my hair and we talked and talked (great practice for me!). She made arepas for dinner, a traditional latin-american dish that Marcela usually makes me that I absolutely love!
Angel being silly at the Castle!
Today (Wednesday) I spent the day with Angel and Jessi while Veronica worked in the city. We slept in and spent the day playing games and watching movies (the rain changed our plans a little). Around dinner time we took the bus into the center of the city and stopped for a pastry and some coffee before going to meet Veronica at work. We saw some of the city at night before stopping at one of Veronica’s favorite places for a delicious bocadillo (sandwich). We came back this evening and I enjoyed sitting on the couch talking with Veronica and feeling completely at home :)
Tomorrow I finally get to meet Marcela’s parents! It is truly a dream come true to be here spending the week with her family. Out of all of the trips that I have taken during my time abroad, this one clearly stands out above the rest because I truly feel like I have come home. I have already purchased tickets to return in April during my week-long Feria break and cannot wait to spend more time with this amazing family! What a tremendous blessing!! I hope everyone is doing well, and I cannot wait to share more about the rest of my time with Marcela’s family soon! Miss you all!!