My goodness, it’s been a wild ride of a December. I wrote a 14-page journal entry last night just about this winter break alone. Since this is mostly a travel blog for my upcoming trip, I won’t keep you long, but here are some of the highlights:
About two weeks after I wrote my last entry, I met my great aunt Connie for the first time. She’s my grandmother’s cousin, just two weeks older than her, and lives in Austin—I’ve been wanting to meet her since she first made contact with me my freshman year, but it never worked out until this last December. She’s wonderful—the most vivacious and vibrant 88-year-old I’ve ever met—and it was a pleasure to meet with her and her daughter and granddaughters with Luke this last month. (I’m excited I not only have cousins close to my age, now, but that they live in the same state as me. Exciting.) From there, I picked up my visa without a hitch, spent a few days with my boyfriend’s family in Gatesville, then moseyed on back to Bend for a few days over Christmas. After Christmas, I visited with my three best friends in Oregon—Scott, Amanda, and LeeAnne—over the three days before Luke arrived for his New Year’s visit with my family. That highlighted my winter break, and now I’m basically waiting to meet with my friends and neighbours one more time and then board a plane and get out of here.
I’m leaving on Sunday. That’s five days from now. Unlike the last time I did this a year and a half ago, I fully understand what that entails this time, or at least I think I do. I’m going away for a decently long time: right now, the total I’m working with is seven months, as it’s looking at this point like the Camino might not work out (I’ll explain why momentarily). That’s more than half a year. Think about where you were in May of 2012 and how much you’ve done since then for a more accurate picture and you’ll see what I’m getting at.
In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much. In the same way as age differences in a relationship matter less and less with time, the fact remains that at the beginning, these temporal differences may seem a big deal because they comprise a relatively large percentage of the total time they’re being compared to. So what does that gibberish mean, then? Seven months is more important to me at 20 than it is to some of my readership at 30, 40, or 60. On the other hand, seven months is a considerably higher percentage of my life as a 20-year-old than it is of yours if you’re, say, 48.
I’ve been using this same variety of math to console myself, though. To begin with, let’s say The Classic Crime is right and we have about 650,000 hours to live. That amounts to 74.15 years, or a decently average life expectancy in this day and age. I’m 20.32 years old as of today, January 8th, 2013. If I live to be 74.15, which is about the maximum age to which I’m comfortable living, I have 53.83 years left—that amounts to 19,661.41 days. I’ll round to 20,000 for simplicity, because I’m not though yet. Yesterday, I was in a similar mood to the one I’m in now and decided to figure out how many pages of the 160-page travel journal my parents gave me I can write per day in order to use exactly the whole thing—this necessitated I find out, of course, how many days I’ll be gone. That total came to 210, inclusive of travel days, if I come home at the end of July. However, I’d like to come home in time for my cousin’s wedding, so I’ll chop off the last ten I could have spent over there for simplicity’s sake and bring the total down to 200.
200 of 20,000 amounts to one percent. I’m spending approximately one percent of the remaining days I have left to live in Spain. That may sound like a lot, but that’s alright with me, because if nothing changes, I’ll be with you all on this side of things the other 99% of the time. In other words, don’t miss me too much—we still have time.
Speaking of time, though, I still have quite a few things to pull together, it seems. My plane tickets are waiting to be printed, my train pass is ready to go, my housing is being finalised, et cetera, so that’s all taken care of—I’m still waiting on some seven packages to arrive before I leave, all of which are scheduled to do so between tomorrow and Friday, I need to call my credit card company and let them know I’m leaving the country for a while, cancel my cell phone for the time I’m gone, etc. Standard fare. But I also have to figure out how I’m going to get to Warsaw to meet Elizabeth. As of today, that’s the big challenge, and because I hate flying, I’m considering paying a few extra Euros to go by train so I don’t have to deal with Ryanair more than once.
Here’s my travel info, though. I’m leaving on Sunday, which I’ve already mentioned—I’m flying out of Redmond at the surprisingly decent hour of 11:30 a.m., where I’ll connect with my flight to the coolest connecting city ever of Reykjavik, Iceland. Unfortunately, I only have a 50-minute layover there, though that does give me an excuse to go back someday. From there it’s on to Germany, where I’ll be for two days or so before I go to Warsaw to meet Elizabeth; from Warsaw, we begin about two weeks of travel together before I arrive in Spain to start my classes.
Yesterday, I spent a significant amount of time pouring over the railway map I received in the mail last week and figuring out a route that makes sense as well as how long it will take to get from place to place. For security reasons, I’m not comfortable posting exactly where I’ll be ahead of time, that and because it’s obviously subject to change—however, I do solemnly swear I will be a good tourist and take at least one photo in every city, though I can’t promise I’ll be in them all. Be warned, though, my next several entries may contain obnoxious amounts of photographs depending on how fast the netbook I’m getting on Thursday can process—not that you mind, my curious friend.
Ready to go on an adventure with me? Mmkay.