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…

Airing the Laundry: Part 3

Back in November, I learned that our summer-sun-drenched-terrace is not so sun-drenched in the winter. In fact, about the time the clocks change in the fall, our terrace is reduced to just an hour or so per day of sun—and usually that hour has passed by the time I wake up. And so it was…

Tales from the Terrace: The Clothesline (or Airing the Laundry: Part 2)

We didn’t know if we’d be required to remove our newly-purchased porch furniture from our building’s communal terrace, but that didn’t stop Michael from moving forward with his next plan for the terrace: a laundry line. After the near-debacle of drying our clothes in the cement air vent in Oviedo, we’d become more proficient at…

Tales from the Terrace

A knock on the door. Michael opens it to find a thirty-something woman standing before him. Rapid fire Spanish bursts from her mouth and Michael, having arrived in Spain just six weeks earlier, is mystified. “No entiendo,” he manages to get out, which only means, “I don’t understand,” so the woman starts to explain it…

Solo Travel 101 (Thank you, Mr. Briggs and Ms. Troccia)

My first trip “across the pond” was led by my 11th grade English and Social Studies teachers Mr. Briggs and Ms. Troccia. We saw all the major sites: the Tower of London, Stonehenge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. But the most important thing I was given on that trip? An adult’s belief in my ability to navigate…

“No pasa nada”

3:55 p.m.: I open the door to our terrace trying to figure out if I need a coat at this hour of the day. I love that I live in a place where this is a valid question in February. Deciding it may get chilly as the sun is on it’s way down, I put…

Not All Is As It Seems (or A Morning Walk—València style)

“Want to go for a walk?” I asked Michael. After a four-day vacation in northern Spain it was time to reacquaint ourselves with our neighborhood and our routines. We showered, dressed and were out the door at 11am. This might seem like a late start to most Americans–myself included. But things are different here. We…

There’s a First Time For Everything. . .

“I brought a bunch of them back from the UK,” a woman at the July Expat picnic told me. This was the first I’d heard of DIY Covid tests. The concept was–literally–foreign to me. The woman went on to explain that, in order to visit family in the UK, she had to test herself multiple…

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…