When Worlds Collide

Michael and I arrived in Asheville 48 hours ago. And ever since then, the universe has been gently saying, “This is still your place, kid.” The morning walkers took me back into their fold like I’d never left. On that walk, I was delighted to see a new Little Free Library in the neighborhood —…

Oh, The People You’ll Meet (Part 2)

When you apply for Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV), timing is everything: there can be no more than 90 days between the date you get your first required document and the date you present your entire portfolio of documents to the Spanish Consulate. So when my husband Michael and I our started our process in May…

Small Spain

I’ve always liked small things and small spaces. I remember when Mom would kick us out of the house as children: I would just grab a few of books and head out to read under the picnic table. I remember spending lots of time in a two person pup tent with my next-door neighbor. You…

Camino Culture

Upon arriving in Madrid, my husband Michael and I rented a car and headed north. Our plan was to spend the summer months in Oviedo, then move to Valencia in the fall. After a couple hours, I was hungry. Michael knew this situation could turn into a minor emergency very quickly. “Just pull off into…

Sandpaper Kisses

On the page before me, a little girl stood on her bed in her pajamas, one hand held straight out in front of her like a stop sign. Her father smiled down at her. “Prefiere besar al aire antes que a su papá.” You prefer to kiss the air instead of your father. Woohoo! I…

Third Time’s A Charm?

I’ve decided I need to add more reading to my Spanish studies. There’s a used bookstore one block from my house and Michael and I have purchased a few children’s books. But I’ve always been frugal. And a minimalist. So no, I don’t want to own tons of children’s books in Spanish. The solution? The…

How Not to Learn a Language

Within a month of moving to Valencia, Spain I was certain of one thing: I wasn’t going to learn much Spanish at Spanish language schools here. How did I know this? I tried. Twice. At the first school, thanks to my Pimsleur studies, I tested into level A2 (Advanced Beginner). I told the school I…

Learning Italian?

“My husband and I, for the month of August, are only speaking to each other in Spanish,” said a woman in my Friday walking group. “Well today is August fifth,“ one of the other women said. “How’s it going?“ “Well, we haven’t said anything to each other yet today!“ — I had heard before that…

Coming Home (to St. Jean-Pied-de-Port)

As I walked down the cobbled Rue de la Citadelle, I saw her standing outside her home chatting with two gray-haired men. Oh good, I thought. She’s still here. And somehow I felt like my world was coming back together. I don’t know her name. But I’ve been in her home. Three years ago I…