vamosavalencia

Living life in Valencia, Spain.

“Bloom Where You Are Planted” April 28, 2013

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Greetings from a cold and rainy Valencia day, where we are huddled inside having a relaxing Sunday. Strawberry scones enjoyed with delicious coffee beans hand delivered from our special guest from America’s Heartland…YES! This morning we sent said special guest Janette off on the fast speed train to Madrid, where she will return to Chicago.  Sending a friend back to America always leaves me thinking about things on the other side of the pond.

Many of you know the expression “The grass is always greener on the other side.”  This is something well known around here among people, like us and many of you, that live in some way or form, between two worlds. This has been a hot topic of conversation with some of our other friends here that are also in some form of movement between two worlds.  Maybe you live between two cultures, two cities, two homes, two professions.  For Jesus and I it’s all of the above.  Being the more sensitive and emotional explorer of us, I am always the one pondering this situation, and wondering what I can possibly do to stop missing the essence of San Francisco, or some small specific American/Californian/Wisconsinite obscure thing.  Will I ever stop wondering why I cannot have cottage cheese (I would list more cheese types here but I’m embarrassed), bagels, coffee to go,?  Will I ever stop complaining about this? Perhaps.

Amazing blooms on our patio

Amazing blooms on our patio

Perhaps the key is replacing “The grass is always greener” with another mentality, that my oh-so-wise cousin Layla M. posted on Facebook the other day: “Bloom where you are planted.”  She went on to further explain; “There is also something to be said for the adaptability of a species. I always think this when I see a strong and powerful tree growing out of a rocky embankment. Not ideal. The wrong angle, the wrong soil, and not a lot of support around it. But yet, it manages to thrive.”  DUH, what an interesting point of view.  Instead of thinking about that darn green grass on the other side, be a strong and powerful tree growing out of a rocky, perhaps not so perfect place.  Especially because that not so perfect place has some pretty amazing features that one day you might find yourself missing terribly.

Stopping to smell the roses in Valencia

Stopping to smell the roses in Valencia

I googled the expression to see what else I could find out about this fascinating idea.  I couldn’t find the original wise mind that it comes from (Layla suggests its an old proverb), but I did see one cool thing.  A group of American women living in Paris started a group at an American church in Paris called just that: “Bloom where you are planted, how to live in Paris.”  They have seminars, for new-comers to Paris, about adapting to all aspects of life in their new city, everything from French wine appreciation to navigating the French Healthcare system. (http://www.acparis.org/community-activities/bloom-where-youre-planted) This group helps you create connections and build roots in order that you can bloom right there, just where you are planted.  What a brilliant idea!

Valencia Oranges

Valencia Oranges

So begins my own version, to remember more to enjoy everything that Valencia, Spain, and our little corner of the world have to offer.  To remember these things every day, be grateful, and share it with you.  Maybe I can also give you a little idea, plant a seed, to help you do the same, wherever it may be that you are currently planted.

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From MADison to MADrid! April 23, 2013

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This weekend, two old friends reunited on the other side of the world in a different Mad-city than the one where they first met over 12 (gulp) years ago. HOW do we do it?

Here we are, in all of our off-centered glory!

Here we are, in all of our off-centered glory!

Jesus, Janette, and I spent the weekend hoofing it all over Madrid, with our amazing hosts, Giovanni, Sandra, Alfonso and Mario. We saw all the important monuments: El Puerto de Alcala, El Palacio Real y sus jardines, La Plaza Mayor, La Puerta del Sol, El Museo del Prado…. Alfonso was able to fill us in on so much history; we all agreed he could be a tourist guide. Great fun was had with incorrect translations leading to incorrect historical references.

Madrid Walking Tour

Madrid Walking Tour

Perhaps of even greater interest to all involved was our gastronomical tour of Madrid, starting at the Mercado de San Miguel. Alfonso took me there on my first trip to Madrid a few years ago, and it NEVER FAILS. We realized we needed to immediately stuff Janette full of delicious Jamon and Spanish Cheeses, washed down with incredible wine from the Rioja, so we did just that. I didn’t get any other pictures there, but this one says a lot about a special place:

"Madrid Hugs Boston," what we saw walking into the Market.

“Madrid Hugs Boston,”
what we saw walking into the Market.

We continued on with various other stops throughout the day for cerveza, cafe, vino, and tapas. A few other highlights of course included our delicious dinner and a sunny stroll in Parque Retiro the next day. All in all, a special weekend to remember for these “mad” friends, new and old.

 

LO AND BEHOLD April 16, 2013

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Many of you may have come to the conclusion that after weeks, turning into months, turning into A YEAR AND A HALF without a new post, the days of Vamos a Valencia had come to an end. However, LO AND BEHOLD, we are back in business; so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and settle in for some reading and contemplation. This wild ride of adventures is going to continue, carefully examining every interesting dilemma or exciting revelation that comes my way, especially related to living a happy, healthy, life full of love in Valencia, Spain.

Out and about on a Spring Sunday

Out and about on a Spring Sunday

I have to apologize, mostly to myself, but also to all, for the building of procrastination that led to such a stagnant blog. I worried after such a time lapse, that things would no longer be relevant or focused, and maybe readers wouldn’t be interested. But luckily I have some great supportive family and friends who assured me that wasn’t true. When I toyed around with the idea of writing the blog again, they assured me that people ARE interested. They DO want to know what’s going on, and what I have to write about it.

Primavera

Primavera

But most of all, I want to do this for myself. This spring has been a whirlwind of TWO trips to America in one month, and a time of both grieving and joy in my family. A time to celebrate the circle of life, the beginning of one new after-life, and one new earthly-life and two special women with the same initials, GKCM. During this time, I was reminded of how beautiful and precious life is. And what better time to reinvent yourself, start new projects, or do what you have been putting off for months than spring? The first GKCM was a women of many words, a woman who influenced me to love reading and writing, which is one of many things I plan to spend more time doing this spring. (more on the others later) Life is short folks, do what you like.

My Strolling Partner

My Strolling Partner

So “Cheers” and “Salud” my friends, for the beginning of the next thing. I know so many around me that are going through a new beginning, so lets share it together! This spring is a new beginning for this blog, and for dreaming procrastinators all over. Stay tuned for new adventures, coming weekly at Vamos a Valencia!