Saying “Hasta Luego” to Basque Country!

Clouds graced the sky offering a dreary effect as light rain misted my face, and all too typical day in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Today is different; a day when I said “hasta luego” See you later, to my adopted city of 9 months. Desite a few luxurious days of sunshine, Vitoria wants to remind me sunshine isn’t as common occurrence in the North as it is in the South and to really appreciate the warm glow when it comes out of hiding. Days before I met with friends enjoying rounds of beer, or my preferred beverage a pica– beer and fanta lemon mixed (usually known as a Clara or Clara with lemon in other regions in Spain) as we reminisced about our time abroad together and uncertainties of what comes next. Truth is I don’t believe in “good-byes” only in “See you later” or “Till next time,” because good-bye feels too final.  I believe in paths crossing, in unexpected opportunities and return trips to meaningful or favorite places. The only response that kept falling from my mouth was “Nunca se sabe” You never know.

Vitoria- Gasteiz casco viejo

Vitoria- Gasteiz casco viejo


 But as the bus pulled away and I waved good-bye from my window seat in the back of the bus to a good friend, tears streamed down my face as soon as he was out of view. A mix of happiness and sadness came over me. A chapter of my life nearing an end whether I’m ready for it to be over or not, and lots of happiness of all I accomplished.

Sailboats in the harbor, San Sebastian

Sailboats in the harbor, San Sebastian

Reflections of all my doubts and worries before moving back flood my mind. And being reminded that in life there are no guarantees, only a willingness to try new things and see how they go- and living through all the ups and downs and savoring the accomplishments. Though Vitoria-Gasteiz never charmed me in the way one my hope their adopted city would, I met wonderful people, ate delicious food, learned a lot about myself and grew.

A lot.

I confronted a crazy landlady in my adopted language, as well as my own fears and worries and questioned my wants and new goals. I traveled more than I expected or thought I wanted too and met great folks along the way who renewed my travel spirit. I accomplished many goals I set for myself and had the honor of my mom visiting a region I’ve called home and had the privilege to travel with her to quaint towns. One of the best surprises from her visit was realizing how well we travel together and how much are travel styles are similar- tasting local cuisine, roaming a city, meeting locals and going with the flow without a laundry list of places to see. However,  she seems to have more energy than I do, which is impressive.

I’m proud of myself for everything that has happened this year.

Plaza Constiution, San Sebastian

Plaza Constiution, San Sebastian

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my second year abroad: you can plan until your hearts content (or if you’re like me, you don’t plan much) but sometimes what you think is next, isn’t really the next step at all. It feels slightly strange to leave but not so much because I’ll miss the city but rather the leisurely lifestyle filled with lots of time to gather with friends or travel on long weekends as well as the people I met. I felt loved when both Spanish and Basque friends we’re jokingly telling me, “Enjoy your vacation at home, I’ll see you in September” even though they know I don’t have a comfy grant job lined up for a third year that has allowed me to fully aprovechar my almost 2 years on the Iberian peninsula. I rolled my eyes as I mentally stamped my feet in defiance as I said to myself “No, I’m going home.” But I realize this time around, anything is possible. Truth is, San Sebastian aka, Donostia in Euskara, is a place I’d love to live for a year. There’s magic about the city that I haven’t felt in other areas of Basque Country or in other regions in Spain but my apprehensions are the rainy weather and the heaps of tourists that grace this city year-round. “How easy would it be to speak in Spanish when waiters hear your accent and switch to English?” and “How easy would it be to meet locals when it’s already more difficult in the North?”

The bridge where I questioned everything...

The bridge where I questioned everything…



And it was in Donostia, while walking across its most photographed bridge last July where I thought, “Wait a minute, maybe I do want a second year. I have a position awaiting me somewhere here but wouldn’t have any idea where until a month later in August when I would truly allow myself to think about it. What would a year in the North be like?”

Beautiful. That's what the North is like.

Beautiful. That’s what the North is like.


I’m the painter of my life and when I step off the plane in SFO, the next chapter in my life is blank. My white canvas is ready to be doodled and drawn on, written and painted full of  inspiration and possibility. So far I’m finding the unknown exciting and my only wish is the excitement remains and allows me to blossom and dream up my next steps instead of allowing fears and self-doubt creep in.

Often our biggest fears in life are simply the unknown.

I'm free. Open to possibility!

I’m free. Open to possibility!

I’m trusting in myself and from what life has taught me and keeps reminding me: To think positive and trust everything will fall into place because it always does!


26 thoughts on “Saying “Hasta Luego” to Basque Country!

  1. There’s a quote I read recently…it goes something like, “When it seems everything is falling apart…that’s precisely when things are falling into place.” Maybe there’s something along the lines of “hang in there” somewhere in the middle.

    That being said, hang in there! A new chapter of your life has already begun! Who knows what this chapter will bring??

    • Thanks chica,
      I’m still figuring out the pieces to the puzzle but am grateful for what’s happened so far. I may not be where I thought I would be but it’s ok, you’re right! LIfe has some great things in store for me…

  2. I am so happy you had a mostly positive experience in Spain like I did. It’s really weird coming back and trying to figure out how this life experience fits into the grand scheme of your life. I am still processing it nearly a year later. It’s a strange club to be a part of!

    • Thank you Amelie for the positive words. It’s been less than 48 hours and it feels weird. Right back where I started and all those worries and doubts I had are easy to laugh at now! I’m so grateful for the experience but I can only imagine it’s going to be a weird process. Be curious to hear more about your own transition sometime… maybe via email?!

  3. You have much to be proved of Lauren; well said throughout this post. Can’t wait to see what amazing adventures you get into in CA – you’re relentless spirit and desire for newness and risks will land you in the right place.

    • Thank you thank you thank you Lauren for the beautiful words. I’m so grateful to have meet you and shared 9 days in Asturias with you. If it wasn’t for going back, who knows if we’d have ever met! Looking forward to when you grace the bay with your presence!

    • Thanks Cat. I’m so grateful I pushed past my fears and dove head in first! (and that my ex didn’t want to get back together with me when I tried- there is a reason for everything). That was the push I needed! And GO was just what I needed to do! Learned so much. Thanks for your support and words of wisdom when I needed most!

    • Thanks Jessica! Agreed. Hope to see you in California this summer or Fall, whenever you’re on this side of the world!

  4. You’ve had an extraordinary time. I’m sure the universe will continue to unfold in unexpected and delightful ways.

    • Thank you Christine for the beautiful words! I’m trusting the universe will pull of some magic. Always does. As long as I stay positive and fight any silly, negative thoughts!

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