Puerta del Sol again? YES!
We started the night out at home with a frozen pizza and some whiskey and cokes. Very American, but then Kevin’s roommate Elena invited us to join her, her husband, and their friend in a Romanian-style celebration: a big dinner, followed by little pastries and cookies from a Romanian bakery, and then an apple-caramel-chocolate-whipped cream cake, made by Elena, all while calling non-stop to as many relatives as they could get a hold of back home. Delicious!
“Happy New Year” in Romanian: An Nou Fericit!
Then we had a brief period of sitting in Kevin’s room and drinking while I played on the internet and he drew pictures of me playing on the internet. Weird. Then we headed towards Sol, metro-style.
And then…Sol! We made it! We even sneaked in a bottle of sidra huzzah!
In Spain what you do is you eat twelve grapes at midnight–one for each toll of the bell–and each grape represents a month for the year to come, and also you wish for things like “friendship” or “money.” There wasn’t an easily heard bell or clock or anything, though, so everyone just kind, you know, ate some grapes at midnight. And then we drank our bottle of sidra.
“Happy New Year” in Spanish: Feliz Año Nuevo!
Also in Sol we met some Swedes, and what started out as small talk turned into an invitation to join them for a night on the town! New friends excitement yesss! Pictured (L to R): Kevin, Sofia, Frederick, Sigrid, and Alex in a bar near plaza Santa Ana. We stopped there for drinks because we all wanted to keep hanging out and enjoying each others’ company, but Kevin and I couldn’t afford the entry fee for a nearby club, having foolishly left all but 20€ back at home. We thought that we’d just go to Sol by ourselves, get a drink by ourselves, and then catch the metro home. We were wrong!
And then guess what else?! Our new friends lent us money to get into the club, which is so kind. Like, embarrassingly kind. And we were so glad they did, because inside the club was like a party wonderland, and we got little gift bags with paper face masks and noise-makers and what-have-you, and then we danced to songs from Grease, and they knew all the words and we all laughed and drank and danced until 4 am and made plans to meet up to celebrate Reyes on Friday. Success.
“Happy New Year” in Swedish: Gott Nytt År!
In the end, Kevin and I walked home together, turning in somewhere around 5 am? Then today we slept in, hung around, ate crap at McDonald’s (best hangover cure), went to a movie, had chocolate and churros, walked around the center, and then came home. A very Happy New Year.
We were all allowed a plus-one, and since my standard plus-one is across the world, I took my Eric friend. Because I had a dream where Eric and I were riding bikes and having fun, and I took that to mean that Eric and I would become better friends and have lots of fun, easy times together. I put a lot of stock in my dreams, what can I say?
It turned out to be the right thing, and I knew when he said on the phone that we’d go (“Yeah, okay, let’s do it”) that he was doing it for me. Because I needed a friend. Because I needed to get out of town.
So then there was a long drive through small towns, and shots of whiskey, loud music, huge crowds, psychadelic pattern projections, an early morning run over sand and redrock–hopping barbed wire, marveling at smoke stacks–and trippers and rollers everywhere, and sand in everything, and hot, hot sun and endless snacking, and then home.
And when I got home, there was this:
So the trip was worth it, and coming back home to an empty apartment was a softer landing than I’d expected, thanks to my friends.
Funny, because I almost didn’t go. I didn’t decide until the morning that we left. See, I’ve been waiting on my big sister to have her baby (my presence is required), and I was worried that she’d go into labor if I left town, and I wouldn’t be able to make it back in time. But she called me the night before we packed up and headed out and said “We don’t want you to put your life on hold for us. Go have fun, get out of town. It’ll be good for you. We’ll be fine.”
I’ve never felt so loved, so lucky, or so lonely. It’s a weird time in my life.
Last weekend we got invited to a dance party.
There was face-painting.
Probably too much of that, actually, on my part.
Remember also Melissa’s party? And last night I went to new friend/old acquaintance Stephanie’s house to watch My Girl and drink pink wine. Amazing.
But also exhausting. New friends are exhausting. I have been sick from too much new friendship and too much running, but still, tonight we are going to a farewell party for Paul friend, who is about to do the Camino de Santiago. I baked him my best chocolate chip cookies. Because Friendship is important.
To me, at least.
A big dinner at a fancy restaurant (Au Lapin qui Fume) with the whole group of Utahns.
Silly times with new old friends.
Delicious toasties with chevre, followed by rabbit (I ate rabbit!) and fresh pasta.
Then down to the Guingette, one more time. Spontaneous art creation.
Looking up at the night sky, deep in this valley.
Saying goodbye. Adieu.
What? I like to limit myself to a certain number of pictures per post so that I can be sure I’m offering you guys la crème de la crème, French-ly speaking. Does that make me a big dork? YES. And you love it.
(Scroll over the pictures for more info, friends; I don’t want to ruin the aesthetic)
Okay, so maybe it was 10 pictures exactly, no more, no less. Whatever. Did you see the part about the secret bakery, though?! It’s like a speak-easy, but for baked goods. At 3am. When I told Kevin this he freaked out as much as I had, and we might have to move to Italy as a result.