gran canaria

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale through the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” – LR Knost

Ezra and I are always concocting plans. That’s just sort of who we are. We had some other schemes in the mix and then some of the awful heartbreaking stuff happened when Laurie passed away. Moving to Iowa to be with Dave was healing. It was just right. But Ezra and I, well we are who we are. With winter coming and now a new pregnancy, we just sort of needed a little bit of a change. I was feeling a little lonely and sad and wanted a little more joy in my life while I was nurturing this little babe in my belly.

There was a list of places we would have loved to go, but you know, zika. All I really wanted was nice weather, family time and a slow pace. We always talk about moving back to Hawaii and we decided that’s where we should go. But… because Ezra had some specific work-related must-haves (silly things like reliable internet and a workspace – so high-maintenance!), and we were trying to save money, and we were looking during the busy season, and it was like a few weeks out… was it surprising there was pretty much nothing available in the price range we were willing to spend. So that plan was very reluctantly scratched and we quickly rushed getting a passport for Indra and decided on Europe. Literally this trip was about someplace warm and not super expensive. So off to the Canary Islands we go.


Running Indra at the airport.IMG_4287This was the most miserable flight of my life. Poor Indra got the flu a couple days earlier and must have passed it to me. I’d gotten little sleep the past couple nights taking care of her and was pretty rundown. Mid-flight I didn’t feel right and puked, and then puked some more. I’d like to mention I was also siting in the middle seat at this point, next to some unlucky person. It was my worst nightmare realized. I’m sure theirs too. We still had hours left before landing in London. I just remember wanting a mint or piece of gum for hours.MVIMG_20171231_214059After a jet-lagged, sleep-deprived night in England we boarded another plane for Spain, and from above the island of Gran Canaria looks pretty dang nice.MVIMG_20180102_141344MVIMG_20180102_142348We started in Las Palmas because we knew there were some co-working spaces for Ezra to try out. He needed to make sure the transition was smooth. He’s worked in enough countries to know that he’ll need multiple SIM cards, plus his Google phone and his iPhone, and still there will be connectivity problems. But first we hit the beach and wandered around to get a feel for the town. MVIMG_20180102_165543IMG_20180102_171526IMG_4293IMG_4307These pictures are beautiful and it looks like an amazing time, right? But to be perfectly honest, these first two weeks were hard. I was as sick as a dog and pregnant and with a sick toddler. We were staying in an apartment about the size of a shoebox and we were in a city which had not been my idea of relaxing. I couldn’t help but feel down and Ezra had to keep reminding me that we were only staying here until we found someplace better. I was so happy when the weekends came, sick or not – we were together and did a little exploring around the island.IMG_4342MVIMG_20180106_162055IMG_4355Ez was pretty amazing and would take Indra out in the mornings so I could get a little more sleep. I still had a nasty cough but was starting to feel a little better.IMG_4356We visited a cute little port town and wandered around.00000IMG_00000_BURST20180107133045020_COVERBouganvillea for days.IMG_4385-COLLAGEGiving Indra a little green juice before letting her try pizza. I’d had her on a mostly allergen-free diet, but loosened the reins before leaving, knowing I wasn’t up for the challenge while traveling. She actually did like the juice despite this drunken expression.00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180107143924476_COVERHowever, she got her first taste of pizza and was like eff that juice!IMG_4409-COLLAGEStill eating pizza while strolling around and fighting sleep.00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20180107154327528_COVERPANO_20180107_154700This must be a famous windmill because it’s on the cover of The Lonely Planet. What’s the significance? How the hell do I know? I just snapped a picture as we drove by.IMG_4450Other things of note, Ezra introduced Indra to baguettes with butter. All of a sudden all she wants to eat is pizza and white foods. She’s in a pure sugar-induced ecstasy.IMG_4482Still sick and tired, but so dang sweet. She looks skinny, but refer to above pictures with pizza and bread in hand. She’s just fine.
IMG_4501Gran Canaria was okay. I didn’t love it, but that’s just par for the course. In a better apartment, in a more relaxing town, and in better health I’m sure it would have been great. We’re on the ferry heading off to Tenerife and excited for what lies ahead. Regardless of these first two weeks, I was so glad our little family was off exploring!IMG_4504





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.
IMG_1370 (2)IMG_1366 (2)
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.
 IMG_1506 (2)DSC06942DSC06930DSC06880
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.
PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (167)
PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (1218)PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (1248)
View from the top (well halfway up).
PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (1355)
DSC07338DSC07344DSC07390_edited-1DSC07407DSC07296_edited-1PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (781) PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (1597)
PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (759)PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (760)
It rained a lot.
  PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (868)PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (1011)PARIS...heading to Paris for Part 2 of our trip (1047)
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.
View from our apartment – not too bad, right?DSC07954DSC07979DSC07981
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.
DSC07929 DSC07940DSC07942
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.
DSC07994 DSC08014DSC08041  IMG_2670.2015-04-05_104911






nowhere to go, nothing to do

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha
Nowhere to go, nothing to do. This seems to sum up the pervading feeling I had the first two months into this European experiment. I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and I started analyzing my life and myself a bit more than normal – and I would venture to say a bit more than healthy. I’ve always thought of travel as my passion, not the only one of course, and chose to spend much of my free time and money on it. To a large extent I do still feel this way. There is real value in travel and I cannot begin to explain the ways in which it’s opened my eyes and heart and excited my sense of adventure. It’s given me permission to see the world and my place in it differently. I think everyone who travels probably feels this.
However, something started to shift. I can’t say exactly when, a few years ago, maybe when I first started fundraising to go to Haiti. This was not my first experience volunteering but it’s around the time I realized I wanted to spend less time focusing on myself. In fewer words, I want to do more for others. This is not to say that I’m not grateful for all that I have. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for my life. Ezra and I say to each other once or twice a week how unbelievably lucky we are. We have many opportunities that much of the world does not have. We have our health, loving families, we’ve had wonderful experiences and maybe most importantly, we truly recognize that we’re lucky. This can all change in a second and someday it will. It’s easier to be grateful when contemplating the impermanence of life. My life may not be for everyone, but for me it’s been very very good. So with all this in mind I’ve been frustrated with myself, instead of easing into this experience, I’ve been resisting it.
I recently saw an article about a Moral Bucket list. It’s a bit catchy and flippant but it does capture the essence of what I’m feeling. I recognize I could be doing something a little more useful with my time. The more I learn about myself the crazier I think I am. In Five Element theory I’m a Water type. In Myers Briggs I’m an INFP, Kerisey says I’m a Healer. My dosha changes from a tri-doshic to just Vata. But my Vata is definitely out of whack. I’m an A Blood type.  What all of this tells me (and probably tells you more than you care to know) is that I like peace and philosophy, a strong value system, creativity and I have a rich internal world. I like community but also a good amount of solitude for a sense of well-being. I avoid conflict, I’m sensitive to criticism, an overall idealist and can be perceived as detached. I don’t always use logic or take advice. Instead I rely upon intuition and arrive at decisions sometimes not even knowing how I actually came to them. To be balanced I need routine, should lay off caffeine (one positive is I can have a glass of wine), meaningful friendships and not travel so much. So its no wonder I’m off, I’ve been neglecting major parts of what keeps my crazy self in balance. Otherwise I am prone to fear, stress and anxiety. Um okay check, check and check.
While I actually require a lot of alone time, I was feeling more isolation than balance. I’m craving yoga classes, digging in the dirt, getting acupuncture and I miss doing bodywork. I recognize these feelings aren’t actually coming just from this experience, I’d only been gone two or three months. But I’m coming off of years of traveling and nomadedness. I’m wanting (gasp) a routine and a home base. Exactly what all my doshic/ personality/blood types tell me. So why do I resist?
In order to pursue a few of these things we decided to go to Spain. My Spanish is rusty at best but I can at least communicate a little and I could focus on taking classes. It’s hard to explain why we weren’t just staying in one place.  We talked about this a lot. Some places were just expensive and I’ve already mentioned telecommunications have been an issue. We also wanted to take advantage of being in Europe and see things we hadn’t before. While I was figuring out a purpose, traveling at least gave me something to do with my time that I enjoy. I also had ample time to read, meditate, do yoga and exercise. (Yes, lets pretend I did these every day.)
So after another trip to London we flew to Barcelona for a long weekend before making our way to Granada – which is where we were planning to stay permanently (well for 2 or 3 months) if the stars aligned. I of course walked around and saw Cathedrals, the Picasso Museum and went to multiple stores looking for a SIM card and good plan for Ezra. I was not very successful. Ez and I had a fun tipsy night of Sangria drinking followed by a tired morning of Gaudi at La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. The most memorable moment though was getting caught in a hail storm and walking through a shower of flower petals that were being shaken off the newly blooming trees. We ducked into a bar and watched this magical sight that brings me back to a feeling of gratitude.