After a couple quick days in the South of Spain I hopped on a plane and landed in the artsy city of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast. I took the metro into the city centre and navigated my way in the dark to my friend Amy's piso. Amy is American and we met while she was pastoring the church in Madrid that I attended and ultimately interned at in 2011 and 12. Unfortunately Amy was back in The U.S. for a few weeks while I was visiting, but our mutual friends Jon and Kelsey were staying at her place looking after her dog Kiko. Though Jon is from Northern Ireland and Kelsey is from Southern California, they met while Jon was interning at the church that Kelsey attended in SoCal. I met Jon one of my first weekends in Madrid, as he was there teaching English at the time and we became friends quickly. When Kelsey came to visit, I spent some time showing her around that city and we hit it off fast as well. Since that time they got married and lived in Memphis before joining Amy's team in Valencia where they are starting a church.
It was great seeing the two of them again - and meeting Kiko! Not long before my arrival Jon was involved in an accident where he had broken both of his feet. This meant he was restricted to a wheelchair, making things quite difficult for the two of them. I think Kelsey was glad to have someone around to adventure with for a few days who spoke English, was from a similar culture as her, and could understand some of the struggles of being an American in Spain.
We did typical Spain things like wandering parks for hours, eating on patios, climbing to the top of bell towers, buying Spanish fruit from fruit stands, having dinner at 10pm, reading books in hammocks, and watching weird performances that I couldn't understand. One day we biked to the beach for Paella and laid in the sand and another we took the train up the coast to the town of Sagunto where we spent the afternoon exploring the ruins of an old Roman fortress.
I loved my time in Valencia, and was especially enjoying the new pace my trip had taken since arriving in Spain. Is was a lot more relaxed, and though still full of adventure and exploring new places, it was at a more sustainable pace. It was refreshing to reconnect with old friends and be reminded of the life I had while living in Madrid 5 years prior. Over those years I often found myself wishing to be back in that place in my life, tempted to drop everything and move again. But though it was wonderful to visit, this time reassured me that Canada, and more specifically Saskatchewan, is where I need to be right now.