I actually came back a week ago, but between getting sick and being too tired to write because of jet lag, I've been putting off blogging and critiquing. But I'm back now, so you'll start seeing more of me around the internets.
A few things about my trip, if you're interested:
I was in Israel for a few days for a cousin's wedding. The wedding was nice, as most of them are. I really liked the music (a lot of international stuff) and the food was good, even though there was way too much of it. Aside from the wedding, I spent most of the time at my aunt and uncle's kibbutz (rural village in Israel). The kibbutz is a great place to get writing done, because it's so peaceful and rural. (I used the kibbutz as inspiration for Takiran villages, which is another reason I love to write there.)
Then I spent a week in Madrid. I studied abroad there for a semester, so I mostly came to visit friends. That didn't go quite as planned. Out of the three people I had contacted ahead of time, I only saw two, and only a couple times each. Both of them were friends from aikido, and they invited me to come to class while I was there, which was a lot of fun. (And much less embarrassing than I had expected, since I hadn't done aikido since moving to New Jersey.) I also went to Segovia one day, which is a beautiful city and great for inspiration. The hostel I stayed at was great (9 Euro a night, and they provided free breakfast as well as free sangria and beer every night.) I met a lot of really cool people at the hostel, so when I went out at night, it was with them. (I got to show two of my Korean friends the Debod Temple at night. Also, I partied with a local juggler--he actually makes enough money to survive by juggling in the street!) I also discovered two of the best bars in Madrid, both in Lavapies (the international district). Unfortunately, my Spanish became somewhat rusty after I graduated from college, and I didn't hit proficiency until two days before I left.
Madrid was a lot of fun, but I don't think I'm going to go back for a long, long time. I've pretty much seen everything there was to see in the city (Spain has a ton of great sight-seeing cities, and Madrid is fairly mediocre in comparison) and there's almost nothing there that I can actually eat. Most of the people I came to see made little or no effort to actually see me, so I don't feel any huge inclination to go back. I had a great time, and I'm glad I went, but there are a hundred other places in the world that will be much more worth it in the future.
I also decided that I don't want to travel by myself anymore. I met a ton of people, but there were long hours that I spent wandering around by myself. I like wandering, but it's more fun when other people are around.
So that's my ramble. Now I'm going to go catch up on those book reviews. (The next one in line is The Road, but I just finished Throne of Glass, so that's the one I'm actually more inclined to write right now.)