The last few weeks have kind of made no sense. They have been a series of extreme highs and extreme lows, and from what I can tell, this is life in your thirties.
First of all, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who reached out to Timmy and I after Jake’s passing. I know many of you had lost touch with Jake, and many of you also only met him for the first time at our party. Even if you didn’t know him, you knew that we loved him dearly. So thank you for taking the time to express your condolences not only to us but to Jake’s family. It meant a lot to all of us to know that so many of you were thinking of us and wishing for our pain to be alleviated.
Thank you also to all of you who forwarded my last post and shared it with others. Online, this is my little space to tell our story, and Jake’s passing has been a huge part of that story so far. I needed to get all that out, and it’s amazing the level of camaraderie you can find on the internet when you just tell your truth. I wasn’t going to sugarcoat my grief, and my grief is different from what Timmy is experiencing, and what Jake’s family is feeling, and what you might be feeling in your own life, but we share that common thread. We all know what sadness feels like, what loss is like, and I just thank you for reading my side of things.
After some finagling with Delta (who were kind as can be, yet charged what I’m told is a crazy amount of $$), we were able to make it back to Atlanta for Jake’s memorial service. It was completely worth it. We both spoke at the service, and the service itself was one of the most uplifting ones I’ve ever been to (which is so sad that I’ve been to quite a few). It was truly a testament to the kind of person Jake was and the kind of people we want to become because of him.
It did help tie up many past uncertainties for me because I ran into Clay’s parents after the service, who I hadn’t seen since probably middle school. I expressed my sadness to them about Clay’s passing, and Dora, his mother, just cried on my shoulder. I’m so glad I was able to tell them to their faces about how sad and how sorry I was that he was gone. I also ran into an old high school friend, with whom I was super close, whose father passed away last year from pancreatic cancer. I was unable to share my condolences with either of these families because the obituaries didn’t have forwarding addresses or ways to get in contact with anyone. So they remained deaths that I grieved on my own, without telling the very people who used to mean so much to me how sorry I was.
We missed the party portion of my Yaya’s 100th birthday in Barcelona; however my mom ensured that the entire family went back to my aunt’s house for an after-celebration. It was chaos and loud and just what we needed to get our minds in the game, so to speak. My Yaya was asleep on the couch, which is why you can’t see her in the pictures.
I did wake her up briefly when we first got there and tried to tell her who I was, but it was clear that she was overstimulated and had no idea who I was. Not that I was offended, but I was sad that I did miss her at the party where we were told she seemed like she was with it and present.
We were in Barcelona from Sunday to Wednesday, and boy did we pack it in. Timmy had never been, so we spent a full day, albeit CHILLY AS HELL, on two bus tours that took us all over the place. I was so glad that Timmy got to see what he did in the short time we were there. Of course he loved it. Like there was any other option.
I asked Timmy at one point if my family compared to his on the level of talkativeness, and his response was my favorite. He looked at me and slowly said, “Yes, but your family is louder.” Victory to the Spaniards.
Enjoy the photo dump. Especially enjoy it because all these photos were taken with my brand new, fancy schmancy, super nice camera, a gift from Timmy! Some of the captions are in Spanish, others are landmarks in Catalan because that’s how I know them. I would write them all in English, but BLASPHEMY!
We headed to Seville Wednesday evening and holy shit that city is incredible. We had never been, and we truly lived it up. Within the first four hours of that first night, we had the best bottle of wine we’ve ever had and promised to return to a restaurant because we made friends.
Ah, the perks of traveling with Timmy. He couldn’t care less about his level of fluency, his need to make friends with strangers transcends language and country lines. While I tend to keep to myself most of the time around people I don’t know, Timmy really forces you to be outside of your own comfort level. And because of the huge low of having to say goodbye to Jake, I’d say that all of the traveling we did while having to keep translating for Timmy was exactly what we needed this vacation. We had ZERO time to be sad, and that’s sometimes nice.
Notice all the “holy cow”s in the captions. The whole city was just holy cow.
By far, one of the worst drinks I’ve ever had was given to us at La Pepona, the restaurant we found on our first night and returned to on our last, especially after we found that it had been ranked #8 best Seville restaurant online (and we just stumbled upon it!!). It was an after dinner digestive and it was DISGUSTING. Timmy acted like he could get through it, and me, well, not so much.
Last Saturday was probably the longest day that ANYONE HAS EVER HAD. We flew from Seville to Barcelona on a 6:30 AM flight that saw me getting zero sleep the night leading up to it. Then it was Barcelona to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Orlando for a landing time of 12 AM. I’m ashamed to say that on our drive back to Timmy’s place, we were so starved that we stopped at…I can’t even say it…McDonald’s. Oh God, the shame. We were exhausted, jet lagged, dirty, and hungry at 2 AM. The only thing open was that devil of a place. Oh the things you’ll do when you’ve gotten no sleep and have flown for a full 24 hours…
That was Spain, in a nutshell. The country is amazing, the people are amazing, the food is holy shit. Go if you haven’t, and return if you’ve been before. It’s worth it. We spent every moment doing something, and being able to be busy after a week of complete sadness was God’s blessing to us. We needed it not only to get our minds out of the sadness vortex, but to reconnect with each other, to remember what we love about life together, and what we need to do to keep this momentum going.