Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Big 2-0

The day before my birthday, on the 15th, my anticipation for my birthday and the trip was too  unbearable to sleep. I didn’t crawl into bed until 1:30am and who knows how long I sat there thinking. I set my alarm for 11:30pm. Okay Okay Okay. This might not make sense, but my alarm is still set to Texas time and because we didn’t “spring forward” this made perfect sense. I was too wake up at 5:30am and be at Hotel Center Sevilla at 6:30am sharp to meet all of the students, family, and friends to go to Madrid.

Little did I know that all my excitement made my body so tired that somehow I managed to turn off my alarm. I woke up on my own at 7:36am. I sat  up and urgently said, “NADIA!!! IT IS 7:36!!!” The lax girl that Nadia, my roommate is, she immediately rolled out of bed and her only response was “alright. Lets catch a bus or train.” We took a little less than an hour calling a few people to let them know where we were and that we’d somehow meet them in Madrid, eating breakfast, finishing packing, checking Facebook (always), and getting ready. At 8:15 we headed out for a good 30-minute walk to Plaza de Armas, the bus station.

We were world-class travelers buying a 19.40-euro bus ticket and an hour later loading a muggy bus full of Spaniards and one Asian.  We picked the very first seat right behind the driver to ensure enough time to run off the bus and make sure no one steals our luggage stowed underneath.  An hour later, the bus decides to make a stop to pick up a short round Spanish woman. She had short jet-black hair with speckles of grey and white strands giving her age away. She looked at Nadia and translated told her that she was sitting in her seat, number 2, and that she needed to move. She said I could stay but she paid for that seat. We laughed not only about how many other seats she could have taken along with her massive amount of peach fuzz accumulating on her jaw line enough to be in the beard category. 

We moved to the middle back of the bus, close to the back door to follow through in our plan. We stopped for 20 minutes at a station to take a little break; otherwise, we were on the bus for a solid 6 and a half hours. Its around 5:30 at this point. We go directly to the information desk and she babbles to us in Spanish that we thought that we understood… wrong. After realizing 15 minutes later what she meant, we went down two stories and boarded the metro for one euro to another bus station. We just happened to see a small sign that said Toledo and asked a man that appeared to be the bus driver where we buy a ticket and he pointed at a machine inside. We each paid 4.45 Euros. As soon as we found a spot on our new bus, it started rolling. 45 minutes later a beautiful hilly Toledo came into sight.

I’m pretty sure we took the hardest way to get out of the bus station up a hill on a teeny sidewalk full of potholes when I’m sure we could have found an escalator.  Once we hiked the hill, I was determined that we could find our hotel ourselves, Hotel Carols V, (google pictures it was awesome!) When we realized that Toledo is completely made of winding uphill cobble stone roads, it only took us a second thought to start looking around to call on a taxi. A taxi took us comfortably to our hotel the very quickest way. I saw quickest because a car was crawling up the road going a normal speed and our driver swerved around the car to pass it. There was another car coming and I don’t even think a piece of paper could have fit between us and the car we were trying to pass. We barely missed the oncoming car, but survived. This instance definitely reminded me of India. Not cool.

When we arrived, the group hadn’t arrived yet. We had around 30 minutes to kill so we went out for a delicious pizza. Nadia was so sweet and she bought the entire meal. She said I’m not allowed to pay for my birthday meal. When we got back to the hotel there was a pandemonium of Texans and a plethora of suitcases. Everyone was glad to see that we made it and in such good timing. (They stopped a few time to see a few sites that we missed, but apparently we didn’t miss anything)  The rest of the day was completely lax. We walked around Toledo and just enjoyed the scenery change. That night for dinner I split a dish called paella, which is what my house mom feeds me at least once a week. It’s rice with vegetables, calamari, chicken and saffron.

I was kind of disappointed that no one wanted to play a card game, spoons, or anything else involving my birthday, but I completely understand. Traveling is exhausted. No one sang happy birthday to me until Josh called me through skype, and his wonderful family sang me the beautiful melody that lit up my entire day. I definitely felt loved in that moment with something as simple as a song!  Then opening an email and message from both Mom and Dad gave me smiles and tears. I love them so much, and it definitely reminded me that there is so much love waiting for me when I come back home in a month and a half.

Hasta nunca teenage years.
See ya never teenage years.

Loved every second of having a 1 in front of 6, 7, 8, and 9, but now that the last half of my teens are over, I’m ready to move on to the glorious twenties. 

1 comment:

Mom said...

I am so sad you didn't have the greatest birthday as your teenage years dissolved but I AM relieved to hear you didn't spend it alone! I thought you were traveling by yourself and I am grateful Nadia was with you! I love you so much and miss you more every day. I know you have to feel the love from across the world because it is that strong!!!!

Mom