Operator

“I lived in the US for 20 years,” our Argentinian friend Kitty told us in perfect English, “but still, I never felt comfortable when I had to talk on the phone.” Well, I won’t make “talking on the phone” a short-term goal for my Spanish learning anytime soon, I thought. Little did I know, life…

A Evening In The Life of a Hospitalera

After twenty uninterrupted minutes reading my book, I looked around the empty room. The pilgrims who’d arrived earlier in the afternoon had finished their laundry and showers and were either resting upstairs or in town eating or grocery shopping. I peeked out the window. No backpack laden pilgrims were traipsing up the hill toward our…

Limitless Generosity (Part 2)

In 2012, over the course of my 37 days on the Camino de Santiago, generosity knew no bounds. This network of thousand-year-old pilgrimage trails is walked by hundreds of thousands of people each year and, in reality, is a moving community of people helping people. Unable to find my way out of a large city…

Limitless Generosity (Part 1)

Bob and I met in 2011 during a Scottish cooking class at the John C. Campbell Folk School. I never intended to take a course in Scottish cooking–and, in fact, had no idea what kinds of things one would even make in a Scottish cooking class–but that is a story for another day. Weeks later,…

The Intersection of Dairy Queen and The Camino de Santiago

Steam rose from the water in the plastic measuring cup. I slipped the knife in, paused, pulled it out, then hovered a second to let the excess water drip off. Touching the tip to the center of the ice cream cake, I used all my strength to break through the hard chocolate shell. With great…

Hospitality

Our little albergue (hostel) at the top of the hill in Grado, Spain had it’s windows flung open and a welcoming geranium on the sill. Those that made the short climb would find our open door, our smiling faces and, sadly, The Sign–the one that every pilgrim along the Camino de Santiago dreads seeing on…

A Day In The Life. . . of a Bar

It’s 9:30 a.m. Michael and I walk down a pedestrianized road lined with shops and bars. The street has been divided into a walking area and a dining area. Each bar distinguishes itself with different tables and chairs. Silver metal tables and black wicker chairs at one. White plastic tables and white plastic chairs at…

On Being in Love. Or in Like.

Every expat we meet here in Valencia, Spain, tells us the same thing: You made the right choice. “We love it here,” they say. The weather, the people, the plethora of things to do, the slower pace of life. Some loved it from the moment they got here. Others said they didn’t think they’d stay…

Why Valencia?

“So how did you choose Valencia?” other Spanish expats ask me. “We looked all over the country,” I explain. “Made a spreadsheet with at least forty places on it. Then we eliminated any place where they speak a different language.” At this point, I usually get a nod as this is something many expats here…

Why Spain? Why now?

“You moved here during the pandemic?” a fellow expat asked me the other day. “Well, yes,” I said. We were sitting in the Turia –a park that winds its way through the center of Valencia, Spain. “Why did you choose to come now?” she asked. Having been asked this question at least twenty times in…