A Whirlwind Trip Back Home… and 2nd Annual Girls Weekend NH!

This spring I was chatting with my girlfriends back home about our annual summer girls weekend.  I wasn’t going to be able to make it since we had just planned some other trips in Europe around that time.  So we started to make plans (way in advance even for us) for this fall for our 2nd annual girls weekend in New Hampshire.  At first it was going to be just an extended weekend – 4 days max, in and out.  In the end, thanks to my wonderful husband’s encouragement, it was 6 chaotic days of fun, shopping and spending quality (sorry it wasn’t much as far as quantity) time with my friends and family.

After a very long day of flying from Barcelona to Boston where both of my flights were delayed, my parents picked me up at Logan at around 9:30 on Thursday night.  Thank you Mom and Dad for the ride, the company and definitely for the salad from Not Your Average Joes… Yum!!!!!  After coming home to a very cold house (thank you dad for finally putting on the heat when I got back from girls weekend) the reality set in that I had a very busy week ahead of me – but it’s all good because I’m home!!!
Friday morning I picked up my car and headed off to the dentist for a much needed cleaning.  Then it was off to Girls Weekend!  I have to say, I love my gals and I miss you guys every day!  And it was so nice to get to spend time with all of you.  Thank you Michele for riding up with me – I loved every minute of the time together!  And the foliage – oddly I haven’t missed a foliage season yet, but at the same time I felt like I was imprinting the spectacular color of every tree into my brain so I would never forget how beautiful this time of year in New England is for when I’m back in Spain and don’t get to experience it.  I’m so glad that I didn’t miss any of it!
We can’t go to the outlets and not go to the Tilton Diner!!
Jen & Lisa at the Tilton Diner
Michele and Julie at the Tilton Diner
The rest of Friday was spent shopping at the outlets.  I almost stole a shirt from J Crew (they obviously need to work on their security) by accident.  I forgot I had it slung over my arm and just walked out.  Thankfully I noticed it before I got too far… yes, goody two shoes that I am – I ran right back with it!  While I definitely enjoyed the shopping, I can’t say I purchased that much.  Very unlike me.  I think I’m turning a corner here with my shopping.  Josh has repeatedly told me here that he’s amazed at how little I spend compared to when I’m home.  There are several reasons for that (a) I have no room in my closet – it is about 1/3 the space I had at home AND I’m using Wonder Hangers so my closet now goes 5 deep and I still barely have room.  I also only have two drawers for pants/shorts/capris and underwear/socks.  The kids have even less space than I do.  Josh tells me that he just doesn’t need anything and the two shirts I bought him are still sitting out waiting to be put away.  (b) I don’t have a car here – amazing how much less crap you’ll purchase because you don’t want to carry it 10 blocks with you.  (c) somehow I just don’t feel the NEED to buy so much.  I’m not sure why, but I don’t.
At J. Crew in the Tilton Outlets eating my caramel apple – yum!
That night we went out to dinner and laughed and talked well into the night. But not too late because Saturday was SPA DAY!!! Yes, much needed spa day for us all. Ahhhhh….
 Dinner at the Elacoya on Friday (yes our drinks all matched… sad I know)
Saturday morning we hit some country stores before going to the Spa
View from the back of the Spa… look at the squirrel – never thought I’d miss them – but they are better than the flying rats we have here in the city!
Enjoying the hot tub on a cool fall day at the Spa!
Ahhhhh Spaaaaa….
And a girls weekend is not complete without dinner at Canoe (yum, love that Mac n Cheese!), dancing at Paradise Beach Club (yes we know it can be a bit cheesy but that’s part of the appeal during girls weekend) and at least one random guy in our pictures.
Having a drink before heading off to the Canoe for dinner!
Canoe + Martinis = fun night!
Mmmmm…. Canoe Mac n Cheese
Playing pool at the Paradise
  Unfortunately for us the band playing at the Paradise was not much into dance music (unlike last year’s band Fighting Fridays).  So taking some advice from some locals, we went to the Baja Beach Club.  Hmmmm…. an interesting experience to say the least, the Beach Club was behind the Chinese food place and had a cage set up for dancing.  Intriguing you say?  Take a look at the pics.  But fun?  Absolutely!  And it was there that we met our random guy – the Gorton’s Fisherman, aka Barnacle Bill (that’s the name he gave us believe it or not!).
Baja Beach Club – the Cage and Julie and Lisa with Barnacle Bill
Barnacle Bill was 79 and apparently has had very little dental care in those years if those nubs you call teeth had anything to say about it. But he was a nice guy and he could dance a little jig and believe it or not, he closed down the place with us at 1AM. Do you know any 79 year olds that can do that????

Sunday was a mellow morning followed by the long drive back. I met up with my BFF in Boston though before that I hit the Apple store where I finally figured out how to unlock my iphone. Funny that it took me going back to Boston to figure out how to use a phone I purchased to use in Spain! Ahhh Spain! Michelle and I had a great afternoon of just chatting the day away. A fabulous lunch at Sonsie and then schmoozing the stores of Copley and the Pru before heading to my old fave, Abe and Louie’s for a drink. It’s interesting how my perspective has changed since moving to Europe. Here, you don’t rush anyone at the bar or at a table. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had one drink or 10. You get the same (albeit in Spain, crappy) service. But Michelle and I only had one drink and spent 3 hrs at Abe and Louie’s… apparently they don’t feel the same way as we do here in Spain – after the 3 hrs we decided that they were giving us some dirty looks and perhaps the time had come to move on. Someday when I move back to the States I’m going to miss that leisurely lunch/dinner/sit at a cafe for 3 hrs kind of time.

But now my trip is half over and on Monday morning I head to the Cape for a home inspection of our house down there and then to lunch with Josh’s family. It was so great to see Josh’s parents and Becky – I’ve missed them and it’s always nice to feel like we pick up where we left off. But again, being a whirlwind trip, I was pretty much in and out there as well. Sorry!!! We’ll be home in June for much longer!
After lunch it was on to the DMV to renew my license. Good times I know… I did say there was a lot to do this week, didn’t I?? And then to see my parents for the first time since I’d arrived… for literally 10 minutes. Then off to dinner with some other friends. Sara, Lisa… sooooo good to see you!!! I’m sorry if I was sleepy towards the end and Sara, I’m sorry if I drifted off in the car when we were chatting. But I absolutely loved getting to see you both and dinner was delicious (how can you go wrong with fondue?). Next time I promise to be more well rested before going out!

Wow, how did we end up on Tuesday already? I finally get to see my folks for really the first time. I’ve missed my mom and dad so much and I’m thankful that I get to talk on the phone with them several times a week at least (for once I will say I love Vonage). After a super fun doctor’s appointment I met up with them at Toys R Us to do some early Christmas shopping for the kids. I found it once again surprising how little I purchased compared to what I thought I would purchase. I thought first then put it in my basket. How am I going to bring this back to Barcelona? Is this something they will play with? Is it worth the cost of the extra bag I’m going to need to check? Do I have a spot to hide it in our apartment (that has NO closets)? No spontaneous purchases like I would normally make. Even Josh commented to me when I got home at his surprise on how little I spent (I think based on my new lack of spending alone Josh would like to relocated to Europe forever). It was great just getting to chat with my parents as we meandered down the aisles looking at all that’s out there….and there is just soooo much out there for these kids.

After toy shopping it was off to Skip Jacks for lunch. I hadn’t been there in years and it was great! And it was nice to have some one on one time with my parents without the interruption of the kids. That alone was worth it’s weight in gold. That and my mom and I headed to my personal fave after lunch – Target!!! Again, other than getting what I would call necessities (deoderant for Josh, toothpaste, etc etc) I didn’t get much but it was just nice to see everything there. At this point I was also getting sick so that could also be the reason for my lack of purchasing but for the moment we are going to go with this new found appreciation for needs versus wants.

Wednesday, my last day – packing up all that I had to bring back with me and then having lunch with my dad. It was really great to spend that time with him – I don’t talk to him on the phone as much as my mom and when we are at the house we kind of do our own thing. But I do miss this kind of time with my dad. Then it was off to the airport after dinner…

Though somewhat surprisingly, I was ready to come back to Barcelona. I do think this was in part because I felt like absolute crap. And when I feel like crap I really just want to be in my own bed. But I also missed my family. And at home I felt overwhelmed by everything around me – the pace of life here has gotten to me. I didn’t realize it at the time and I think I only had just started to realize it when I was back this summer (but attributed it more to our crazy schedule with the kids) but the pace of life in the States is very different than that of Europe. I feel healthier here, calmer, more in tune with my life here in Barcelona and am seeing my life from a new perspective. If you asked me a few months ago if I would ever feel that way, I’d laugh at you and ask when I can book my next flight back home. I have to say it… I think… well I think I like it here. Yes you heard it first here. Josh is going to be shocked and amazed when he reads this. But yes, I’ve adjusted – no, it’s not perfect, but then, neither is home. And I definitely miss home and everyone there and that’s ok but I’ve learned that it doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy my time here – because I can. And it’s ok to do that. So now that is my plan – seize the day. On Wednesday night I flew back HOME to my family…

Julie

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