The holidays are over, and I’ve begun the final three weeks of my Exile from Spain. That term isn’t entirely accurate, since I’m staying out of Spain for these weeks in an effort to avoid being exiled for overstaying my visa. Nonetheless, there is something incredibly frustrating about this, wanting to be back in Barcelona but needing, for official reasons, to stay away.
This Exile was planned carefully, structured so that I’d have the least amount of time apart from Andrew and the maximum amount of time taken up with the activity of the holidays—hence my arrival here before Thanksgiving—and so that I can avoid staying out of Barcelona for the entire duration of the eighty-odd days I’m supposed to be “out of the Schengen area.” When I return on February 2, I’ll be able to spend almost the entire month there—and I’ll make up the remaining ten or so days I need to spend out of the Schengen area by taking an eleven-day trip to Ireland and Scotland.
The plans have been complex, and talking about them—especially the logistics of plane ticket purchases—makes my head spin. To execute this trip, I had to buy six separate tickets. To get from Spain to Pittsburgh, two tickets: Barcelona to Newark (used frequent flier miles) and a separate ticket from Newark to Pittsburgh (couldn’t use my miles to get all the way to Pittsburgh so had to buy this portion on its own). To see Andrew after Christmas, I bought Rochester to Jacksonville, returning from Jacksonville to Pittsburgh. I’ll use the return leg of the Newark-Pittsburgh ticket at the end of January, to spend a week in the city; and I’ll use the return ticket from Newark to Barcelona on February 1. For my Ireland/Scotland trip that will take place shortly thereafter, I bought the following one-way tickets: Barcelona to Dublin; Shannon to Edinburgh; and Edinburgh to Barcelona. It will be a true feat of organization if I manage to show up at the right airport on the right day at the right time.