WHEREVER I’M WITH YOU

by Carmel on July 21, 2014 · 8 comments

Six years ago for Easter, my family and I rented (what we didn’t know when renting it) a double-wide trailer on the Washington coast. It rained almost non-stop, so we spent a lot of time inside – snacking, drinking, and playing board games. Years later, we still joke about the double-wide Easter – it was a strange weekend, but we had fun. This year, post-chateau bliss, Shawn and I spent Holy Thursday on trains through the south of France heading toward San Sebastian, Spain.

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Just as lovely as I remembered it

My friend Erika and I had spent a few days in San Sebastian on our backpacking trip after college. All I remember about it was the incredible beach, the hike up to the massive Jesus statue and an overpriced dinner at a restaurant we accidentally entered when trying to find somewhere to eat. Being holy week in Spain, I figured we’d be in for a treat. Back in 2000, during my study abroad, I spent holy week with my family in Elche, Spain, and got to experience the amazing processions on Good Friday. We arrived in San Sebastian and, other than the hordes of European tourists due to spring break, it was almost unnoticeable that it was Easter.

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No matter that it’s barely 70 degrees outside, time to sunbathe!

By the time we reached Spain, we had been traveling for 7 months. We had spent Thanksgiving and Christmas on the road, in unfamiliar settings, alone and with extended family. For some reason, the loneliness of the road and the lack of tradition hit me hard that holy week. We were in Spain – my favorite country (other than my own). I hadn’t been back to Spain in over 9 years, but I would have given anything to be back in that trailer park with my family.

I left for Good Friday services wanting a little quiet reflection time only to arrive at a completely locked up Cathedral. Since I didn’t have a key to our apartment and had plans to meet up with Shawn an hour later, I decided to go out to the boardwalk to walk and think.

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A little Good Friday Beatles puppet show

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In any other time of my life if I was offered the chance to spend 11 weeks in Spain, I would jump at it. Was I really going to waste this opportunity being homesick?

Easter Sunday, after coming back from mass, I met up with Shawn, and we headed out to find a lunch. We ended up in this really old school restaurant, located in the basement of a bar, with mostly locals eating rich meat dishes and Basque specialties. When we saw couples seated around us with full bottles of wine, we figured, when in Spain…

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We didn’t do much the rest of the day. Our Airbnb host was gone for the weekend and the couple in the other room must have checked out, so we spent the better part of our day in the room watching TV shows and a Mariners game on the computer.

In the last few days of our visit my lungs were finally feeling strong again, so we decided to try hiking up to the top of the hill where the Jesus statue stands. It was a blustery day, but it looked like the rain would hold off long enough for us to get in the quick hike.

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A view of the city from above

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Brings new meaning to “Jesus is watching over you”

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“I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else.”
― Nikos Kazantzakis

Maybe it was the fact that I was regaining my health. Maybe it was the calming sound of the sea stretching out as far as we could tell. Maybe it was the holiday finally passing us, but the longing for home that had been brewing into a storm of anxiety started to settle. As we started down the hill with hardly anyone in sight due to the storm rolling in over the water, I looked over at Shawn and remembered that anywhere he is, I am home.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob July 21, 2014 at 11:53 am

Very very lovely. You seen this song? You probably have, but it’s one of mine and Kel’s favourites…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4306i99LMXo

:-)
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Carmel July 22, 2014 at 6:28 am

After watching a lot of American football, I am really, really sick of that song (it’s in a commercial)…however, I did steal my title from it. It’s funny because I wrote part of this post before the weekend and was having a really hard time figuring out where to go with my story. I had no idea what my point was, but then that song popped up at the end of an episode of Community we were watching and suddenly it clicked. Funny how that happens, huh?

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Ali July 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I feel like that with Andy. Since graduating college and moving out of my parents’ house, I’ve never lived anywhere as long as I’ve lived in this apartment in Freiburg with Andy. And yet, it’s not really the apartment itself, it’s that I’m here with Andy. And as miserable as I am sometimes in some of the places we end up in while traveling, I’m always comforted by the fact that he’s right there with me.
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Carmel July 22, 2014 at 6:29 am

You two are so sweet. Even when I kinda want to murder Shawn because he’s annoying me, I am still glad he’s with me. On the road, I only had him, so it made me get over whatever petty thing I was holding onto. It was hard leaving our house when we moved, but remembering that wherever we are together, we are home helped me let go.

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Sarah Somewhere July 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm

So beautiful! Those photos… and of course, you two <3 What wonderful memories you will have to bore your kids with!
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Carmel July 22, 2014 at 6:30 am

He he, you got that right! I am going to bore the crap out of my kids and embarrass them by getting all kissy face with their dad. :)

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Ana July 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Such a beautiful share of your inner journey and finding that home is where the HEART is and your heart is with Shawn. So happy and joyful for you my darling girl. Love you mucho mucho. Mami

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Carmel July 22, 2014 at 6:30 am

Thanks, mama. I got a good one. ;)

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