We were so lucky to have lived in such a beautiful city in a wonderful country for a few months. It's difficult, as you make a decision to spend a significant time away from "home," when you come to the realization that you won't be able to see your friends and family as easily now that you are living abroad. We also realized that making a trip from USA out to Europe is really cost-prohibitive, so we didn't really expect anyone to say "yes" to our invitation to come out to visit us. But to our (happy!) surprise, 11 of our closest friends said that they would.
We had such a wonderful, albeit hectic, 2 months. Almost every day of March and April, we played hosts to our guests. It was amazing to have our friends around and especially amazing for Des. We saw a blossoming in him different than we had seen the first two months we were in Barcelona. Our friends were better parents to Des than we were at times, playing and running around with him, carrying him, entertaining him, and buying him ice cream and croissants. There was not one group of friends that he didn't fall in love with. When one set of friends would leave, Des would talk about the room they stayed in as "Ann-Ek's room" or "Ryan-En's room." We are so fortunate and grateful that our friends chose to spend their time and money with us. We really enjoyed their company.
|Casey and Maren came all the way from Minneapolis, MN.|
|And here is Des holding Maren's hand underneath the table at Barcelona's local brewery, Moritz.|
|This same brewery is where we had these beauties: Boquerones (cockles). Although they look HIDEOUS, they were delicious. I had to have our server show us how to eat them.|
|Ann and Erik also came and Desmond so enjoyed having his new friend "Big Monster" (that's what he called Erik) around to play with. He and Ann were seriously better parents to Des than we were :)|
|Ann and I met in our Epidemiology I class at the University of Utah. We weren't good friends at first, but now we write each other REAL letters (in the mail!!!) and she has been so supportive with my decision to leave the PhD program.|
|Erin and Ryan came to visit us from Logan, UT. I think Des and Erin look so much alike in this picture...|
|At the Sagrada Familia...which is absolutely STUNNING, by the way. It kind of makes me rethink my lack of faith. They need to build more buildings like this for the "glory" of meditation or human betterment.|
|Des was copying Ryan by stepping out with his leg as he gets ready to throw the bouncy ball. They did this for literally 2 hours one day.|
|Jon and Kat came out to see us from Charleston, South Carolina.|
|We had a blast staying up with them until late at night, drinking cava, eating, and playing really difficult (for me) games.|
I can't reiterate enough just how lucky we were to have had so many visitors. My very good friend and mentor, Christy, is coming to visit us in Budapest in August and we can't wait to show her around the city then. It's always so much fun to be a host and show people your favorite place to get churros or your favorite park that gets the best sunlight at a particular moment in the day.
We are currently finishing our Spain leg of our trip in Granada. It took me a while to really fall in love with Barcelona, but Granada has been love at first sight. I will post some pictures up later, but you will see exactly what I mean. Plus, free tapas with drinks. So...no-brainer, right?