Less than two weeks until I leave. Madrid is so, so close, but right now I feel like I couldn't be in a more different place. I'm trying to make the most of it, though. Let me tell you about my last few days here in (semi?) rural Kansas:
Sunday: Dropped my mother off at the airport super early, then went with my sister Grace to spend the day with my grandparents on their farm. Took target practice with a bb gun for an hour or two off their back porch. Our targets? Cardboard boxes with squirrels/Hitler drawn on them with red Sharpie, and an orange juice jug which we hung from a tree. I have killer hand-eye coordination (literally, it turns out), so if you are a varmint or a fuhrer, you should probably watch your back. Or just run from me in a zig-zag pattern.
I don't know how that ever got old, but eventually we decided it was time to switch things up a little and go hang with some cattle. We grabbed sticks and headed out to the pastures. I thought it would be a good idea to walk along the creek banks, because we had some heavy rain last week and that sometimes unearths the things that people used to dump in the ditches back in the day (it was trash then, but it's like finding buried treasure now). Our treasure hunt yielded a broken tobacco canister, a bit of broken china, and some bones.
We walked the fences and found some that needed repair. Then we walked through the herd on our way to another field. Okay, I have always felt like these cattle are totally harmless for the most part, but they do have these massive horns coming out of their heads, and they can run pretty fast when they feel like it. Well, they thought we were leading them to a gate to let them into another pasture, but this was not really the case, and basically the whole thing ended with me throwing my hat over a barbed wire fence while simultaneously attempting to climb through it. It wasn't pretty, but I survived. My life is so exciting!
The rest of the day consisted of us fixing fences. It was a good time, but I really thought I would get a better tan out of it.
Monday: Laid out for a half hour. (The most annoying part of being in Spain last fall was being the palest person in every room I walked into, and I refuse to let the same thing happen in Italy.) Noticed vultures circling in the sky. I later realized, during a stroll through the backyard, that we had a dead fox decomposing on our property. One of the aforementioned vultures caught me inspecting the fox and apparently thought I was willing to fight him for it, sooooo he pretty much flew straight at my face. Somehow I made it out alive, and went running. All I will say about that is that jogging is just not the same on hilly, unpaved county roads.
Tuesday: Feared for my life and did not venture outside.
Wednesday: Went running once again. Had to stop regularly (whenever mini-convoys of SUVs and pickup trucks passed) to hold my shirt over my mouth and nose so as not to be suffocated by the massive amount of dust in the air. Chased a snake. . . for fun.
I feel like I'm packing a good amount of country-ness into the brief time I have here this summer.