April has slipped through my fingers so quickly.
It began with warm, almost summer-like weather. Temperatures were passing well beyond 20 degrees and blue skies became a norm. This month, I worked one week, spent two weeks on Easter holiday and am currently finishing my teaching contract up. The first week of April was quite a normal one: I worked. However, the weekend brought something very exciting: ANDREA! The first thing I did on my holidays was pick up my best friend, Andrea from the Paris airport where we then ventured back to the north. Before preparing for our 3 city Europe rounds, I took her around my little town and as well to the coast and to other little towns. We then left for Barcelona on April 11.
I was surprised to discover Barcelona. The first thing I noticed was how busy it was. I didn’t expect it to be such a huge tourist attraction. But it easily matched the busyness of Paris’s atmosphere. The waters of its’ coast were stunning; three kinds of blue all mixed together like some kind of watercolour painting. I also really enjoyed walking up and down the quiet spaces of the gothic quarter. The little balconies were absolutely beautiful. One morning, we decided to do a walking tour – something I usually avoid doing. But I didn’t realize how much history and how many stories lie in just the crevasses of buildings and even the street grounds. I learned about the region, Catalonia and its tragic history.
We headed for Treviso and Venice in Italy for a couple days on April 14. We had a very relaxing time in Italy. Instead of investing in a somewhat expensive hostel in Venice, we stayed in a cheap bed and breakfast in Treviso which was a brilliant idea. The breakfast spreads were amazing, we had a bathtub and very comfy beds to come back to in the evenings. The city of Venice is absolutely charming. It has its own personality; canals running around and through it, coloured buildings, flowers lining the homes and boats along the sidewalks. Andrea and I enjoyed real Italian pizza and gelato. I would love to come back to Italy one day to explore not only the historic cities, but to hike in its beautiful mountains!
It was cheaper to fly from Venice to Dublin and then back home + a hostel for four nights than it was to fly directly home from Venice or Barcelona. So we headed for Dublin on April 17. Ireland is one of my favourite places in the world so it was a dream to come back with my best friend. Dublin isn’t a big or grand city; it’s quite understated. Don’t get me wrong, the streets can get quite busy on the weekends, but it’s nothing like Paris, Barcelona or any grandiose cities of the kind. I love it because you can spend the days venturing out into nature and come back to the city to chill during the evenings. This time, we went back to the East cliffs and completed the entire Howth Cliff walk in beautiful weather. We also took a day trip out along the beautiful Atlantic Coast. The highlight were the Cliffs of Moher, but seeing the little picturesque towns along the way was just as wonderful! It was a dreamy day. We spent another day thrift shopping in Dublin, picking up some very cute (and inexpensive) finds! All in all, Ireland was a swell time.. again!
When we arrived home on the 21st, we went to sleep almost immediately. We decided to spend the next day grocery shopping, doing laundry, begin packing, preparing for my last week at work, etc. The following day was a pleasant surprise. One of the friends I’ve made out here invited Andrea and I out on a mini road trip! We visited a few cities on the côte d’opale along the northern French coast. We had a beautiful lunch and visited some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever sunk my toes into. We also visited a real fortified city with its own inhabitants, a castle, an interesting church and lots of shops! Unfortunately, I didn’t film any short clips because I was feeling a little uneasy. The weather has also taken an odd turn out here since our return. Today hasn’t broken 10 degrees and last night it hit 0 degrees!
This week, I’ve been having a lovely time with some of my favourite classes. It’s been a little difficult saying goodbye to my favourite students. I’ve really enjoyed teaching at the high school and am going to miss it deeply. Some of the classes have been bringing in treats and drinks for me and we’ve been having small little farewell classes. I’ve also realized how much I’m going to miss some of the wonderful people I’ve met out here. I would absolutely love to see them again and hopefully I will in the future. Last night, many of us had a wonderful time at a nice little gathering where we said (some of) our goodbyes. I’m nervous about going home to be honest. I’m nervous about the family dynamic I’ll be entering. Will it have changed for the better? I hope so. The stress of it was one of the main reasons I left in the first place. I’m also nervous about beginning school so soon. I arrive home on May 5th and begin my summer semester on the 8th. Despite my concerns, I’m very excited to see my cats and friends again. But I know that I’m going to miss the life I have here. I already do.