Saturday, June 23, 2012

Spain & Karen: Our One Year Anniversary

Tea Market in Granada

One year ago today, I was in Spain. And, one year ago today, I made a vow that I would return to live there in the future. Why Spain?

During our visit, we saw many wonderful sights in Catalonia and Andalusia. We walked, flew, took trains, hailed taxis, and caught buses. We ate, chatted, wandered, read novels, and siesta-ed. Every day had a relaxed, human pace. During the school year, I am constantly running errands, grading papers, lesson planning, and multi-tasking. It seems like each day is a little slice of insanity, starting at 5 a.m. and ending when I force myself to go to bed at 9:30 p.m. My daily commute, over a winding mountain road, although beautiful, definitely contributes to the madness. Spain encourages you to slow down, and to savor each and every small moment, to live life reasonably.

At the Foot of the Alhambra
Textures Meet at the Alhambra

Here are the top ten reasons to move to Spain:

Ten:  The Mediterranean landscape is full of oleander and palm trees. There are miles and miles of rolling hills, covered with olive tree groves. And, acres of dazzling sunflowers, better at telling time than any sundial.

Nine:  Tapas. Enough said.

Eight:  Leisurely meals make eating and visiting a pleasure.

Cookie Shop in Barcelona

Seven:  The Moors left a legacy of tiled and whitewashed architecture. The Real Alcazar in Sevilla, the Alhambra in Granada, and the Mezquita in Cordoba are a tribute to the decorative style of the Moors. The many Pueblos Blancos in the south retain their quiet, small village character, in spite of the tour buses.

Casa del Rey Moro in Ronda

Six:  The people of Spain are patient, warm, and friendly.  "Hola!"

Mother and Daughter Flamenco Shoes

Five:  Each town and city is made up of many squares. Each square is it's own self-contained neighborhood. If you spend enough time in any one place, it becomes YOUR own neighborhood. Watching a flamenco school recital, celebrating a soccer victory, eating at an outdoor cafe, are all part of the town square experience.

Four:  The revelation of Gaudi in Barcelona.

Three:  There are at least two ice cream shops on every block, in any town. And, the ice cream is incredible. It is thick and rich, like Italian gelato.

Two:  History is everywhere. The old is blended with the new. In parts of Sevilla, the streets are lined with fragrant orange trees. Buildings have fantastic ironwork balconies and courtyards. It is a visual feast.


One:  Ceramic work is everywhere. Clearly it was an important craft historically. Buildings and floors are covered with azulejos, and there is wheel thrown pottery with modern versions of Moorish designs at local shops. Buildings have ceramic finials, and gardens are full of urns and fountains. Many street signs and address plaques are made of clay tile. Italy has it's marble, but Spain is built from clay.

Each day, I try to bring a small part of Spain into my life. It might be by using Spanish olive oil when I cook, by watching flamenco movies, by planting orange trees in my garden, by eating almendras, or by writing answers in my "Spanish Now!" workbook. It's all I have until the day that I return.

One of Many Fiestas


  1. Spain is magical. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. YOU are the sharer! And, you are the translator extraordinaire. I'm just an
      eavesdropping moocher, but a very grateful one at that!

    2. Happy Anniversary--to all of us!

  2. And I'm just a vicarious benefactor of your adventure and eloquence! Happy Anniversary and cheers to living a beautiful life!


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