Is summer really gone?

feet

My sabbatical was not planned; it wasn’t intentional. As I boarded the flight that carried me to the land of tapas, I naively believed this summer would be different; that my beloved little beach town would finally have a reliable Internet connection. But alas, this was not so.

Time after time, I attempted to connect, only to lose my connection after only two seconds.

Don’t think I didn’t try, folks. I did. But in the end, I found it was easier to give in to the paella comas and the lull of the waves, than to harbor frustration and irritation.

Now, two and a half months later, I am once again in the place I call home. Sadly, it feels like it’s home that I’ve left behind.

Looking out the window, my eyes taking in the gray and gloomy clouds, I can’t but miss my beloved land of Don Quijote. My eyes tear at the thought of having to wait nine months before I am once again reunited with my mother and her furry friend, Olivia.

It’s barely been three weeks since I arrived, and already I yearn for the sun’s warm kiss on my skin and the tantalizing smell of salt in the air.

The sea. How I miss it! I miss its ability to lull me to sleep; waves gently making their way to the shore, peaks of white foam reaching up to the sky.

I miss the happy disposition of the Spanish and the courteous way they always greet one another with “¡Buenos Días!” or “¡Buenas noches!” Good morning! Good evening!

I miss the little bakery that serves the most delicious “cafe con leche.” I miss its colorful decor, the little rattan tables, and the group of people who gather there every morning for pleasant conversation.

I miss the music, the chatter, the noise.
I miss the passion of the people, the culture, the country.

I miss the fish, the paella, the wine.
Wine that regardless its cost, always tastes like ambrosia.

I miss the Spanish “telenovela” my mother and I watched faithfully every afternoon. I miss guessing which character would marry, die, or become a nun or a priest at the first sign of a lover’s betrayal.

I miss it all.

A heavy sigh lingers in my lungs, unwilling to escape my lips, afraid that if it does, the realization that all that has been left behind will become tangible. Concrete. Real.

Nevertheless, life goes on, my friends, and so must I. I’m grateful for the opportunity to reenter the blogosphere and once again become acquainted with your creative genius.

Reading glasses perched on my nose, I reach for my mouse.

old town 1

old town 2

old town 3

How did you spend your summer?

XOXO,

Note: If you want to see more photos of Spain, visit me on Instagram!

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And what is the comatose state?

coma

The comatose state.

The state of being incapable of moving a muscle.

Absolute lethargy.

Disconnectedness from people, things, and the environment.

The inability to process information.

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that if I’ve entered this state, it can only mean one thing: I’ve made it to Spain.

Land of Don Quixote.
Place where tapas abound, where vino flows freely, and where coffee is known as “cafe con leche.”
A land whose food is so rich, you cannot avoid falling into a coma.

A paella coma.
A churros coma.
A tapas coma.
An Iberian ham coma.

The sky is the limit regarding the variety of food that can suddenly induce one to enter this catatonic state.

Unlike the state of “dolce far niente,” you don’t plan it, you don’t see it coming, you can’t prepare for it. It simply hits you.

You know when you’re at its mercy when your eyes begin to close; when your head dips forward and you look like a bobble doll.
All you want to do is sleep.
This malady doesn’t have an antidote; a prolonged siesta is the only cure.

Don’t fight it.
Don’t try to control it.
Don’t think you can outfox it.

Once it has you in its grip, you’re a goner.

It’s best to simply surrender
To inhale and exhale deeply.
To let it lull you into a state of oblivion.

The effects are temporary but the rewards are many.

Like Sleeping Beauty, you’ll wake up refreshed; ready to incorporate yourself into whatever you were doing before becoming its prey.

The comatose state: one of Spain’s greatest gifts to unsuspecting visitors.

I’ll be here all summer, folks and when I’m not in a food coma, I hope to regale you with tales from this magnificent land.

When was the last time you fell into this kind of state?

Reporting from sunny Spain,

Shall we fight or flee?

lonely playground (ii)

This afternoon, as the Son and I patiently waited to get on the bus, we witnessed two women almost come to blows over who got on first.

I know I should have taken advantage of the situation and turned it into a teaching moment (forget the fact that the Son turns 23 this year) but instead, the words that came out of my mouth were: I was in a fight once.

The year was 1970 something.

It was a time when Mary Jane platforms and bell bottoms were all the rage.

It was also a time when fighting after school was a way of life.

Every day, my sister and I would go to school fearing it would be “our turn.”

Like candidates coming of age in the Hunger Games, we would fearfully approach the playground, all the while praying no one would “call us out.”

Calling out: The act of being singled out to fight.

Tentatively, we would walk toward the monkey bars, careful not to make eye contact with any of the bullies, and climb the metal bars that also filled us with dread.

Nevertheless, the fear of being a “callee,” far exceeded the fear of breaking a limb.

Day after day, a fight would take place after school; the result of someone having been “called out.”

And day after day, we’d quickly walk past the sanguine crowd that gathered to witness the fight.

Like Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, two contenders would duke it out until a victor was crowned.

Participation didn’t involve bravery, skill, or cunning.
It simply involved the will and determination to be the last one standing.

Not an easy feat for a nine-year old, but these were the 70s, a time when these “clandestine” activities were ignored by the administration.

One afternoon, as I made my way to my sister’s classroom, I heard the whispering.

Seeing my sister’s face, I knew she had won the lottery of being called out.

“Who?” I asked her.
“Russell,” she whispered.
I couldn’t stifle my horrified gasp.

Russell was one of the meanest kids in school and his winning record was attributed to his considerable girth.

We slowly made our way to the playground, unable to escape the murmurs of “It’s her. Russell called her out.”

I thought of going to the Principal’s office to alert him of the carnage that would soon take place. But my sister wouldn’t allow it.

“If I don’t do this, I’ll have a target on my back until we finish elementary school.”

Sadly, I knew she spoke the truth.

Timidly approaching the playground, my sister was unprepared for Russell’s formidable pounce.

Like an overweight panther, he leaped out and circled her.
Preparing to come in for the kill, he cracked his knuckles.

His side kick, a scrawny boy with greasy hair named Tim Finch, egged the crowd on.

“Fight, fight, fight!”

As the crowd got larger, I became more nervous.

Russell, unperturbed by the noise, lunged again.

Artfully dodging his punch, my sister ran.

And that’s when I saw Tim Finch do something I’m sure he’s regretted to this day–he pulled my sister’s hair.

I saw her delicate features flinch in pain.

Throwing my book bag on the ground, I rolled up my sleeves.

I quickly approached the fight circle.

Russell and Tim were about to discover the power of team work.

Giving me a “thumbs up,” my sister threw her small body against Russell’s belly.

He quickly recovered and grabbed her head.

She kicked him in the shin.

I kneed Tim Finch in the stomach, and like a rabid monkey, jumped on Russell’s back.

Russell spun wildly, attempting to dislodge my arms which were tightly wound around his thick neck.

In the meantime, my sister took hold of his shirt collar and gave it a hard yank.

Within seconds, Russell’s shirt had ripped top to bottom, leaving him exposed to the crowd of instigators.

Silence filled the playground.

Russell, looking down at his bare torso, attempted to hold his shirt together.

Everyone started to laugh.

Running, he exited the playground, never once looking back.

Amidst the cheering, my sister and I picked up our backpacks and started for home.

We weren’t overjoyed.
We didn’t feel triumphant.
We didn’t feel like winners.

We were just two individuals who had exposed a mean kid for what he was–a bully.

Many decades have passed since the Russell incident, yet now and then, my sister and I will remeniss over what transpired that day and laugh.

Not at what happened to Russell, but at how we successfully pulled off a “David and Goliath.”

Yes, we could have walked away.
We could have tattled.

But at the time, faced with what we believed were life or death circumstances, we had exercised self preservation.

While it is not my intention to condone bullying or fighting, I am still a firm believer that there are times you have to do whatever it takes to survive.

Fighting over who gets on the bus first?
Not one of them.

Happy Thursday, friends!

XOXO,