I’ve always known that I wanted to travel to Spain. Even as a young child, before I could identify it on a map, I was engrossed with the language, oggled at photos in books, and probably served my imaginary version of tapas to my stuffed animals at tea parties. After several stints of hitchhiking, cycling, and pirating (the non-evil, but apparently equally illegal kind) that extended across continental Europe, I still had yet to find myself in Spain. “Maybe after living in Turkey,” I thought. When that didn’t happen, I found myself teaching English in Jeju. For one year, I enjoyed my beautiful surroundings without much of a thought. As my time began to wind down, though, only one thought for my immediate future kept coming back into my mind: Spain. The lullaby of a Spanish guitar, the warmth of a Mediterranean sun, the charismatic nature of a soulful people: all of these things drifted across two continents and into my dreams. I even began to taste Spanish food on my palate- to be fair, though, I was quite keen to be finished with Korean food, as it might be the least veggie-friendly cuisine in the world.
After saying my goodbyes to Korea, I was off to the UK to visit J’s family and roadtrip around Ireland. Our Jeju friends had moved to Spain to teach English a few months earlier and asked if we’d like to come down for a weekend. I believe “YES!” flew out of my mouth before the question was finished. We planned my first trip to the country of La Furia Roja for two weeks from then. A brief stint in Edinburgh was followed by a few days in the North of England, where my ankle was broken by a couple of mischievous adult men horsing about. Always get travel insurance; you never know when your boyfriend is going to flip his brother on you. Sure it was painful, but what hurt worse was the thought of canceling the trip. After much back and forth over wasting money and not knowing what I’d physically be able to do there, we decided to go ahead with the plan and set off the next day.
Turns out, flights to Spain are extremely affordable. A short and sleepy flight (thanks to the pain meds from the hospital), found us in sunny Sevilla in the warmest December my skin has ever felt. The next few days were far from most people’s version of a holiday. There was no running around- I was on crutches anyway- no rushing to get here and there, to do and see. The town around us lived life at a joyous pace, reveling in each moment of its vibrant culture. One day’s worth of eating allowed me to conclude that I’d been born in the wrong country, and I happily drank sangria under the stars at outdoor restaurants. Two tapas here, another there, some bread with fine wine. The Spanish didn’t hurry through their meals, nor did they sit on their smart phones. They enjoyed the company of the people around them and didn’t let the trivial stresses of life ruin their late night dinner. All in all, Spain lived up to every expectation I ever had. I now understand what romantic comedies have been saying for years: it’s easy to fall in love in Spain.