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Gentle readers, please forgive my lack of posts. While there are many things occurring here in the fair city of Valencia, my attention has been drawn to two alternate tasks: working and dissertation development. Both require me to be attached to my computer for long hours, and when I am done with work for the day, I am anxious to put the keyboard down and do something outside.

This month marks eight months since arriving in Valencia, and there are some significant achievements to note. I have travelled to Paris to see a dear friend, I have been to several festivals here to celebrate food, religious holidays, and oddly, an annual pottery market going on since the 13th century. I have gone to Sunday lunch in a Spanish family, which is a joyful affair. I’ve gone to the beach, made new friends, and spent time with people from all over the world.

During the last two months, something strange has happened. First, my Spanish is getting much better, and what that really means is that I am more comfortable speaking Spanish. That has changed my perception of my surroundings significantly, making me more comfortable in various situations. Perhaps that is the most significant change… I am settling into my life here.

I like it here. I have come to expect new adventures that stretch and grow me. I have begun to accept a daily dose of “unexpected” thrown at me, but even that is happening less and less. I greet people when I walk into stores and restaurants. I talk to the folks I see at the laundromat, neighborhood bars, and where I shop for vegetables. I order food para compartir, or to share, for the group. (I look forward to the day when I am comfortable talking on the phone with strangers… hopefully that is the next step!)

Throughout all this, I miss people from home, my family and friends, my coworkers, and my comfortable environments. I miss my daughters. I miss being able to find exactly what I want in many different stores. I miss the things I am comfortable seeing and doing, but I also appreciate the opportunities to experience new things here. Since I work at home, I miss people from work that I would see on a daily basis who have become part of my life.

To be honest, I do not know what happens next. I am working on getting my next visa for the upcoming year, so that should be an adventure in bureaucracy. I am working every chance I can with an education company in the states, and writing diligently on my final paper and dissertation. I have several trips planned to visit friends from the states and with new friends here from Spain. As with every adventure, both hope and fear are present. Currently, hope is winning out over fear!

“You must bring every particle of your energy, unanswerable resolution, your best efforts, your persistent industry to your task or the best will not come out of you. You must back up your ambition by your whole nature, by unbounded enthusiasm and a determination to win which knows no failure.”
– Orison Swett Marden

Finally, some additional pictures from Corpus 2014. These are from my phone camera, but I was walking through the city and was able to snap a few pictures during the procession!

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