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.
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.
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.
A little Good Friday Beatles puppet show
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…
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.
A view of the city from above
Brings new meaning to “Jesus is watching over you”
“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.