mis padres

“Respond to every call that excites your spirit.” – Rumi
We arrived into Granada on a Sunday and already I left on Thursday. But for a good reason, my parents were coming to visit! They’d wanted to see us in London but now there was one little catch – Ezra couldn’t return to the UK unless he wanted to start paying taxes. Because they still wanted to see England they decided to head there first. Ezra stayed in Spain and I met up with them. It was cute to see how excited they were about everything and to hear their stories about what they’d done so far on their own. It was fun to do touristy things and take all the silly quintessential pictures!
We decided to visit Stonehenge and because we are gluttons for punishment we decided to take a tour called “England In A Day.” If that doesn’t tell you something about how tortuously long this day was I don’t know what will. But England we saw.
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After Stonehenge and a drive thru the Cottswalds we arrived in Bath. Bath would definitely have been the place I chilled back in the day. I think I was more interested in this than my parents.
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I took a little swig of water, which tasted very mineral-like. I guess this is what makes it so special:
More driving up to Stratford on Avon where we saw Shakespear’s birthplace and were rewarded with a strawberry cream scone and champagne. This was much needed before a long drive back. I was tempted to ask for seconds.
After a quick ride in the chunnel we were in Paris and had literally about 48-hours to see as much as we could. We had a very interesting apartment experience which I will recap in my next post. We hit the major attractions, drank a bunch of wine and ran around the Louvre like crazy people so we could make our appointment to go up the Eiffel Tower.
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View from the top (well halfway up).
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It rained a lot.
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After Paris the three of us flew over to Spain to reunite with Ez. We were staying in the old part of town, the Albaycin, and wandered around the narrow Moorish crooked streets.
Sierra Nevadas
We spent a day at the Alhambra palace but not before partaking in a nice leisurely lunch and glass or two of wine. We have learned that drinking makes sightseeing significantly more fun.
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Lots of great intricate details and carvings.
We drank a bunch of Sangria and have since turned my dad into a wine drinker. As long as the wine is sweet, he will now drink it! Obviously the rest of us never had this problem.
 My parents had a flight south out of Malaga so we took off for a weekend by the coast. We took a boat ride that promised free sangria (would we call punch a drink?), walked thru a park listening to noisy parakeets and watched an uncomfortably close Flamenco show. Then mis padres were off – midwest bound.
The smell of orange blossoms abound.
Oh yes, there were more drinks.
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After my parents left we briefly returned to Granada. We loved where we were staying, but the cell service was non-existant and we weren’t really fond of the rest of town. Ezra had a trying week or two trying to make it work but as soon as my folks left, so did we. After being further south by the water we completely shifted our focus. The “musts” on our list now resolved around the “Med”, the sun and sleepy relaxed towns. This is how our week in Nerja was born. Which gave us a dose of relaxation and a sense of calm after trying to make work, what previously just wasn’t.
We were just in time for Holy week known as Semana Santa. The music, the crowds and the penance processions were all quite moving. It was hard to see past the hoods at first (which bares no relation to the KKK) but it was hard not to be touched by the outpouring of community.
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London – round 2

“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.” – Mark Twain

London was a quick trip and the highlight this time was St. Paul’s cathedral and the London museum. I forced myself up the steps to the very top (after turning back once or twice) and trying to breath thru a moment or two of a fear of height. I have discovered I am not a fan of little metal spiral staircases.


I was rewarded for my efforts with a pretty nice view of the city.IMG_1597.2015-02-11_132815 IMG_1593.2015-02-11_132701IMG_1601.2015-02-11_133229

That is all until next time.

a tale of two cities

“Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes.”  – Charles Dickens

We’re back at it again and what a way to start – in Paris. France has long been a place I’ve wanted to visit, or maybe even live, but for one reason or another never made it to. Our first few weeks were an adjustment to a new routine, and we quickly realized that staying in a tiny hotel room was not going to be conducive to the lifestyle we wanted. I spent some days aimlessly wandering, killing time until Ez was finished for the night. Him working from home and taking calls meant I had to be as quiet as a mouse. The housekeepers must have thought we were strange and were confused we didn’t want clean towels and toiletries all the time. How uncivilized we are!  We also used our balcony as a refrigerator…

I was sorting through my feelings of leaving home again so quickly and not working. It’s ingrained in our culture to feel productive at all times. Even my free-spirited disposition is susceptible to it.  So, at first I was a little blah about it all. Coming off our last trip I wasn’t feeling particularly interested in being a tourist. I was looking for some purpose and I also had feelings of guilt that Ezra would be working so much.

While I wrapped my head around what the next five months would look like, I walked around and had this as a spectacular backdrop.

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Lots of love locks…

DSC04582Eating pain au chocalat and browsing the bookstalls.


Not surprisingly, the millions of people who’ve waxed poetically about Paris couldn’t all be wrong, and I soon started to glimpse a layer or two of the spectacular City of Light. I read the book Paris by Edward Rutherfurd and this helped me to gain an appreciation for the historical significance of this beautiful city. From the revolution and aristocracy to the arts and bawdiness there is a lot to know. This was my first visit, but surely will not be my last. I looked forward to returning this spring and seeing the city come to life as winter fades away.


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Unfortunately the memory that will pervade the most during this visit was the shootings. It was surreal being here during the midst of this all unfolding. Artwork and the phrase “Je suis Charlie” began popping up all over the city. We briefly went to the demonstration. It was moving to watch and brought back some of the feelings we Americans experienced during 9/11. Ones of sadness but also of connectedness as everyone joined together. I cannot help but feel, that while freedom of speech is sacred and must be protected, we must treat our words with more care. While these individual shooters were extremists, I don’t believe just because you can say something that you should. In a world where information is immediate why provoke? I think a level of tolerance and maturity needs to be brought to such sensitive situations. Whatever the solution, I do not know it. In the end the families of the victims suffer, the city’s psyche suffers, as well as muslims who will unfairly experience the consequences.IMG_0552IMG_0559 IMG_0524.JPGIMG_0535IMG_0835IMG_0834 copy

And then it was London calling and under the channel we go. The plan was one week here for every three away. Ez was allowed 30 days in the UK for every 90, and traveling back-and-forth became tiring for him. So this is how one trip a month came about and our scheme to stay in Europe. I’d been to London once before, so did not feel pressure to be what we call a “super-tourist,” and instead just walked about leisurely.

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One day I spent a fair amount of time in the British museum and couldn’t help but appreciate how incredible it was – even if much of its bounty is the result of conquering other lands. I’ve been to Greece and Egypt and racked my brain to remember if I ever saw such incredibly preserved artifacts in the respective countries.  Of course these countries would now like back what the British Empire plundered. The Brits take credit for the preservation which they claim may have otherwise been lost. It is not my battle to fight so I just admired the view.IMG_0706 IMG_0766IMG_0751

The Rosetta Stone:
IMG_0757I don’t know much about the Assyrians but there was an incredible exhibit.