Do we buy this baby and live off the land?

I think that at some point or another, we’ve all had “the dream.”

We’ve all closed our eyes and dreamed of what it would be like to leave everything behind and start fresh.

Start a new life, in a new place, surrounded by strangers who don’t know of our past sins or former glories.

The dream allows us to wonder what it would be like to be someone else; to have a new persona; to change our name.

To run away.

To escape.

To be who we were meant to be before we conformed to society’s norms and entered the rat race to reach the “American” dream.

In many cases, the realization that the American dream was really a nightmare prompted us to have a new dream.

A dream where we were free of constraints.

Free of debt.

Free of having to compete with the Joneses.

A dream where there wasn’t a picket fence in sight and where we didn’t have to mow or fertilize our lawns.

A dream where we could roam free; unburdened by responsibility, society’s expectations, and media pressure.

Yesterday afternoon, as the Significant Other and I strolled to the market, we came across this baby.

Suddenly, a dream was born.

Significant Other: “Bella, would you look at this beauty!”

Me: “Oh my goodness, it even has crocheted curtains!”

Significant Other: “We could tour all of Europe in this thing! Let’s do it. Let’s ask who it belongs to, make an offer, and buy it!”

Me: “And what money do you propose we use to finance this little project?”

Significant Other: “The one we’re bound to get from the sale of the house.”

Me: “Oh. Now we’re selling the house?”

Significant Other: “Of course, silly. How else are we going to see the world?”

Me: “I thought we were touring Europe.”

Significant Other: “I have a better idea! Let’s sell the house, buy this thing, and drive to Tuscany.”

Me: “And what will we live off when we get there?”

Significant Other: “We can live off the land.”

Me: “Live off the land like plant our own tomatoes, raise our own chickens, and sleep in hammocks strung from trees?”

Significant Other: “Yeah, something like that and besides, if that doesn’t work out we could always turn this baby into an ice cream truck.”

Me: “Italians have gelato. Why would they want to buy our ratty popsicles?”

Significant Other: “The same reason Europeans have Mediterranean cuisine and still want to eat at McDonald’s.”

Me: “We could also draw peace signs on the windows, burn incense, and sell dream catchers.”

Significant Other: “Or we could turn it into a taxi and drive villagers to the city.”

Me: “Or we could buy a couple of Ikea futons and turn it into a bed and breakfast!”

Just then, the honking of an irate driver wakes us from our reverie.

I realize that the Significant Other and I have our noses pressed against the van’s windows and a man is asking if he can be of assistance.

We sadly watch as he gets into the van and drives away.

Along with our dreams.

Just then, we spot this beauty.

I smile as I hear the Significant Other say, “Do you know where we could go in this bad boy?”

Where do your dreams take you?

What does a façade say about a home?

Façade .

Such a beautiful word.

I’ve been fascinated not only with the word itself, but with what it represents, since the age of seven.

Standing in front of my aunt’s newly purchased home, I was instructed to appreciate, to take in every detail of the façade.

A massive, ornate wooden door took center stage while the beautiful French windows served as the perfect accompaniment.

“Bella,” my aunt said, “A home is only as beautiful as its façade.”

At the time, I was too young to understand that what my aunt was trying to say was that a façade is like a letter of presentation; a preview of what’s to come.

And this is because a façade can either attract visitors or it can repel them.

Of course, this isn’t true of all façades.

I’ve visited homes where the façade was plain and nondescript and yet the home’s interior was breathtakingly beautiful.

Some might believe that viewing a façade for the first time is like the initial impression you have when you meet people–you’re either interested in getting to know them better or you’re unimpressed.

The latter signifying that you’re not desirous of discovering whether or not they might have other qualities that aren’t visible at first sight.

I was most impressed with the majority of the façades I saw in Spain.

Some of them were beautifully adorned with flowers; others simply stood in the perfect spot.

Some piqued my curiosity and made me wonder what lay inside; others allowed me to dream of sitting on their terraces while drinking coffee.

Façade: the first thing you see when approaching a house and what you most remember upon leaving.

This façade even has a bench in front of it.
Flowers are found on most windowsills.
This façade looks like something out of a story book.
Don’t let the simplicity of this façade fool you. It has an ocean front view!
Some façades exhibit the name of the house.
Bougainvillea seems to be the Spaniards’ flower of choice when it comes to adorning their façades.
A stone façade is always so rustic!

What does your actual or dream façade look like?

Why is it so hard to say goodbye?

Three days ago, as I sat in the plane that was to take me home, I felt the overwhelming sense of anxiety that I experience every year.

This anxiety is not a result of a fear of flying.

Instead, it is produced upon realizing that my vacation is over and that I am being returned to reality.

The Son, ever kind and considerate, squeezes my hand as the plane takes off.

I smile as I am reminded of the many times he’s done this in the past.

He smiles back and prods, “Alright. Go ahead. It’s time.”

I look out the plane’s small window nostalgically before reciting my ritualistic goodbye.

“Goodbye Mediterranean Sea. Goodbye churros, cafe cortado, and paella. Adios sunny skies, sandy beach, and Gazpacho. Hasta luego Serrano ham, tapas, and vino. I will miss you Manchego cheese, chorizo, horchatas. Till we meet again, madre, familia, vecinos.”

Before I am finished, I feel the tears rolling down my face.

It almost hurts to see the fading landscape as the plane continues to rise.

Goodbye–such a difficult word to say.

And yet it is a word that we utter daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.

You’d think it would get easier to say it but alas, such is not the case.

The emotions that lie in its two syllables are difficult to process.

I realize that this isn’t true for everyone but in my case, “goodbye” is one of the hardest words to say.

As I peer out the window once more, I realize that only a white mist is visible.

It seems incredible that just a few hours ago I was embracing my mother, whispering the word goodbye in her ear.

I can still hear her say, “Goodbye has too much finality to it. Instead, let’s say, ‘hasta pronto’.”
Until we meet again.

Yes, she is right.

Hasta pronto harbors hope and expectation.

Hasta pronto seems to promise that we shall meet again soon.

Hasta pronto allows us to believe that soon we shall toast over a glass of vino, fight over the last serving of paella, or laugh at the brave men walking on the beach in Speedos.

Hasta pronto.

The melodic notes of these two words bring warmth to my aching heart; like a lullaby, they soothe my anxious state.

Hasta pronto.

I lean back in my chair and close my eyes.

I hear the sound of the sea as it crashes against the rocks.

I feel the warmth of the sun as it caresses my skin.

I taste the salt in the air.

And suddenly, the promise of “hasta pronto” has lulled me to sleep.

Hasta pronto, lazy days on the beach.
Hasta pronto, sweet Olivia!
Hasta pronto, cafe cortado!
Does anyone else think, “Where’s Waldo?” when you look at this photo?

Do you find it hard to say goodbye?