Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I came home from Spain. Was I going to jump right back into American culture, or was I going to stay Spanish? As I should have suspected, I’m doing a little of both right now. I’m no longer starving for supper at 5:00 like I used to be, but I can’t wait until 9:00 to eat either. I’m still taking advantage of siestas as well. My nap yesterday was a solid two hours! I’m speaking English again, obviously, but Spanish words and phrases have been sneaking into the conversation as well. I still say “vale” when I mean “okay,” I thank people by saying “gracias,” and “salud” seems to have replaced “bless you” altogether. I’m loving American food again, having eaten almost zero red meat in Spain. But my family bought me two cookbooks, one of traditional Spanish dishes and one of tapas, so that I can share what I got to eat with them. How thoughtful! I love flipping through the pages and finding the foods I actually had a chance to try. Before I left Spain, I thought I would miss the land too much. Coming from North Dakota, trees and mountains are new to me. Since Spain’s full of them, I thought the Spanish countryside was beautiful. Then I saw my own countryside again. My family and I live a few miles outside of town. We have fourteen acres to ourselves and a big white farmhouse on a hill. Just before I came back to the States, North Dakota received a lot of rain, so the first thing I noticed when I came home was how green everything was. Honestly, I forgot how pretty North Dakota really is, and I forgot how much I love living in the country. Living in Ávila was great, don’t get me wrong. I loved actually being able to walk when I wanted to go to the mall or the plazas or restaurants. I loved how a 30-minute walk was no big deal, quite manageable, actually. But I love living in the country more and seeing nature, not buildings. I love having my own space and privacy. I also found out that just about everything that is said in our house is a perfect segue to a story about Spain. I’m starting to feel a little like Cliff Clavin, but luckily my family has not gotten tired of the stories yet. They might soon, but maybe I’ll be back at UND by then. I knew I was coming back to farmhouses and picnic food, but I didn’t account for all the things that would change when I was gone. When I was in Spain, six weeks flew by. Honestly, I didn’t realize how long I was away from home until I started ripping off pages on my Jeopardy! calendar. (I’m a nerd; get used to it.) Then my sister went on YouTube to show me all the new music I missed when I was away. She also showed me around her workplace and I got to see just how much she does there and how sure she is of what she has to do. I hadn’t realized before then that I had in fact been gone for a month and a half, plenty of time to learn the ropes of a new job. I also came back to North Dakota to find that two of the biggest cities close to us were flooded. My parents had mentioned the flooding in emails, but what I had pictured was nothing compared to what I saw in the news. Some homes are up to their roofs with water and many people already know their houses will have to be bulldozed when the water goes down. I certainly feel grateful that my own home has been unaffected, but it’s just surreal to see these houses on the news. It’s weird to see how much has changed since I’m been away, but I guess it’s good to know the world doesn’t stop when I go.