This morning Annabelle prepared an amazing English breakfast for Henry and me before we had to set out to the airport. I generally have a hard time eating right after waking up but I enjoyed some crumpets, bacon and eggs and let Henry enjoy the rest before we packed back up, left a note and some chocolate and walked down to the Metro station to get to the airport.
On the phone with my mother on her birthday, I told her that as much as I love traveling with Henry, and as happy as I am that we’re taking this adventure together, I think throwing such a young relationship into something like this was, well, sort of stupid. She laughed and replied, “you’re like me; sometimes we just have to learn things the hard way”. We’re coming up on six months together, most of which we spent apart, and we are encountering our differences.
Most significantly when it comes to travel.
I’m a planner; I thrive on knowing what’s coming next and being able to meticulously plan for it. Henry thrives on flying by the seat of his pants and figuring out each thing as it comes along. Both of us are having to learn to compromise a little and figure out how to stay sane in the midst of the chaos that inevitably comes up while traveling.
Neither of us had a particularly great time traveling today. Henry told me later that all day my face looked like it does my passport photo—the one in which I look like a sad criminal on the verge of either tears or murder. I’m kind of heinous when I have to go through airports. I hate feeling like a sheep or a criminal and don’t appreciate impatience that is constantly thrown at travelers; I get claustrophobic in the tiny seats, can often shut down when there are too many people or too many sounds…the list goes on. I’ve spent most of the last few years traveling alone and managing fine, but now that I’m experiencing my experience of the airport through Henry’s eyes, I feel terrible. He’s been endlessly patient and sweet about it, but I need to figure out how to travel more calmly—for both our sanity.
We made it to Barcelona and sat down to route out our trip to Sofia and Renato (Sofia, as you may recall, was my roommate in Denmark). I was a bit dazed after watching loud arguments happening on the other side of the passport check; the woman working hardly looked at mine but Henry was stopped for a long time and I stood alone, wondering what was happening, while five men argued loudly close by. He made it over (thank you, Danish residency card) and we passed by some soldiers carrying large guns and I was reminded of stories the family told of their arrival into Africa. Any nervousness I already had with traveling was compounded before we finally exited the airport. We found a bus we thought we were supposed to take and I had to pull out my Spanish for the first time this trip. I stumbled to conjugate quickly enough but we got through the conversation, on to the bus and to the Metro station. (I’ll be needing to brush up on my Spanish before we adventure out too far again.)
The Metro station was crowded and I was grateful to have had almost a month practicing riding in both England and Denmark. I practically feel like a pro at this point (huge travel kerfuffles of our last days in England aside, of course). We walked to the apartment, greeted our old friends and walked over to Buenas Migas down the street for some food. It was about 7, so a few hours too early for dinner but we enjoyed some good nourishment and caught up on all that had happened in the few weeks since we had seen each other. A grand reunion.