Monday, November 5, 2007

Retracing My Steps

Its amazing how someplace you lived during one stage of your life can change by the time you return to retrace your footsteps there. Or perhaps its just the lens we see it through that changes our perception of it.

The bridge over the Rio Urumea in San Sebastian that I crossed everyday to get to school

This summer before we started the Camino, I wanted to take Paul and show him around San Sebastian, Spain, the gorgeous northern coastal city that had been my home during my junior year of college. San Sabi, as the locals affectionately call it, boasts the most bar per square meter in the world and is the only city outside of Vegas that I have called home during my adult life.

Being there stirred up a lot of old memories. The sand and the waves, the bridges that connected my apartment with Parte Vieja where I would spend the nights with friends in the bars or disco and where I would catch the Benta Berri bus to go to school with all of the dirty Basque men who smelled a lot worse on Friday than they did on Monday.

As we walked through Parte Vieja, the sights and smells brought back memories of my younger days. It was strange to go back to such a familiar place, but without any of the familiar faces. All of us were temporary residents of San Sabi who passed through for a semester or 2 and returned back to our home is Vegas or Sweden or Moscow, ID. I started to reflect on how much my life had changed since those days. San Sabi seemed to have changed the same way I had. The basics were still the same. The same rio Urumea running through the town, the same Kursaal, the same beach filled with blue and white umbrellas. Buen Pastor, the ornate old church was right there in the center of town like a sentinel, unchanged since the days that Matt and I ditched Basque folkdance class and shared a bottle of wine on its steps. 33 Zabaleta, my old apartment, probably still houses International students.
Me in front of my old apartment building, ah memories!
Yet, some things had changed, evolved. New movie theaters and botiques and supermarkets had moved into town. The beaches were packed with travelers and students, but they were a new generation of students. It was familiar yet distant. It felt a little like returning home after being away at college for a year, familiar and comfortable, but a little distant from who I had become. Although, San Sebastian will always in some way feel like home, the San Sabi that I hold so dear exists now only in my photo album and somewhere in my memory. I guess the girl I was when I lived there also exists frozen in time in those memories too.

1 comment:

Nanette said...

Lovely post and great pics!

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