A while back C said to me “I think I’m gonna go to Austin for a couple weeks.” He wanted to go meet with some travel agents there, plus, he hadn’t been back in a while. I was like “Oh, great idea hon, makes a lot of sense!” Smiling. Supportive. In my head? I was like “Dude, WTF? You’re just gonna leave me here? Alone? For two weeks?” And in about 2.2 seconds I had sent an email/call for help to some girlfriends – anyone wanna come meet me? Somewhere? Or visit?? Or something?
But then I sat back and re-evaluated, and told myself that I was being silly and that it would be a total non-issue to stay here for two weeks…I mean I LIVE here now, right? No, what am I saying, that’s a lie. That’s not exactly what happened. Basically none of my friends could swing a visit, so I didn’t have a choice. So then I sat back and re-evaluated. But still. Same, same, no? Anyhoo. C gets back today, I am still alive, haven’t burned down the house, and wasn’t ever bored enough to stencil a bunch of bows on the wall or anything. On the contrary, it’s been a great two weeks. Very peaceful, very tranquil, very normal. And also a good opportunity for a little introspection. Here are some of my profound (or notsoprofound) observations:
- When it is nice out, you can totally survive here without a car. C left the car in the garage. It is automatic (unlike almost every other car here…God help us all when the day comes that I have to learn to drive stick), but the garage is narrow and the entrance is curvy and every time we pull in I have flashbacks to the time I tried to take the door off the car pulling into our garage in NJ. Therefore, I walked just about everywhere…to the grocery store, to drop off recycling, to town, to the train, to the gym. When it is NOT nice, noooooo way unless you go out dressed like someone from The Perfect Storm.
- Along those lines, you cannot leave the house without seeing someone you know. The mailman, family, friends…it hasn’t happened in two weeks. So if you feel like walking out of the house looking like crap, well…actually, it doesn’t even matter. I’m laughing when I think about this because people here leave the house in their bathrobes and slippers like all the time. And not just to hustle down the walk to pick up the paper. They walk down the street to take out trash, hang outside and chat with the neighbors, even pause to read posted signs. Cracks. Me. Up. I want to take a picture every time.
- I only mind being alone when I’m really, truly alone. I was “alone” in the house for two weeks, but never, ever totally alone – if I ever needed or wanted to get out, to see people, to chat, I could. Any time at all. And if I didn’t, well, I could stay at home wrapped up in blanket watching movies. It’s an extraordinarily peaceful thing somehow.
- Even though I tried to convince my body to get used to eating Spanish food every day, I think it’s too late in life. I have been eating at home every day while C has been gone and the fact of the matter is that my body likes baked chicken and salads without oil and eggs and yogurt and fruit. I haven’t stopped being amazed at how people can eat here and still stay so thin. It really truly must be a matter of how your body grows accustomed to it. If I even ate as much bread as the normal Spaniard…I don’t even know. I would begin to morph into one big squishy baguette. Or a sourdough loaf, those are squishier.
- I am okay following someone else’s schedule most of the time, but every once in a while, I have to follow my own. Just one of those things you can’t shake after being single for so many years, what can I say.
- Happiness has something to do with where you are, but mostly to do with who you’re surrounded by.
- I am not afraid to be here alone at night, and I’ve lived in places where that wasn’t the case. One of my friends was over and walked down the stairs to the garage, which is dark, and cold, and said “You’re not afraid down here???” And I thought aw, hell, well I hadn’t thought about it. But no, even after that, I’m not.
- If I am to bake, alone, at home, with no immediate outlet (ie someone to take it/them to or eat them all) it needs to be with ingredients I don’t like. For example banana or peanut butter. It should not, I repeat, should NOT be nutella buttercream frosting (the filling for banana whoopie pies). Bad idea. It will either go STB (Straight To the Butt) or it needs to go RDS (Right Down the Sink). Better off to not do it at all.
So, that’s that. C got home safely, and I’ll leave you with a few pictures.