Like myself, this post will be all over the map, journeying to unrelated places, from my basement all the way to Egypt.
First off, it should come to no one’s surprise that there are still pequeño messes all over my house. Primarily in my office, moving to a few choice piles in my bedroom, to the boxes to be flattened on the front porch, and ending with the attic/TV room. The Ikea bookshelves are waiting to be organized. The task, alas, is daunting.
The guest room, however, is in order. Mrs. Nancy Drew slept there last week. Currently residing in Caracas, Venezuela, Mrs. Drew and I had a good time chatting about the heinous college application process, reminiscing about Mexico and Brasil, and discussing Madrid, where she gave birth to her Thing 2. Recently Mrs. Drew purchased a small vacation home in the hills of Southern Spain. As long as I have known Mrs. Drew, this has been a goal of hers and her husband’s. We toasted over a nice Rioja, to the fulfillment of a dream. I also think it takes the edge off living in Caracas …
Three of four packages sent in mid-December via the Spanish postal service have yet to arrive in the US. One arrived after a six week journey. Today I received word that a friend’s package, sent in early December from Madrid, arrived after 64 days. My early admiration of the Correos system has plummeted. Also, having to spend the equivalent of $82 US for the privilege of forwarding my mail across town for six months is, well, a bit of a shock. Forwarding one’s mail in the US is a) free and b) requires no independent identification such as a photocopy of one’s driver’s license. The Spanish post office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 – 8:30 and half day on Saturdays. The American postal system, open far fewer hours, is bankrupt. At the pace my mail moved, I am guessing the Spaniards are too. Thus ends my sending any mail through a foreign governmental purveyor.
Thing 2 is ramping up his gardening projects. In concert (egged on by?) with his grandmother, La Rábana, he has started a worm bin in our cocina (kitchen). Apparently, the boy needs compost. Finding the actual worms, never mind the bin, was something of a challenge. First, I had to stop saying the word in Portuguese. Having Googled the word – lombriz – we were finally on the right track. There are no worms at the gardening store, Verdecora; the clerks were no help at all and looked at us like we were crazy. Likewise, there were no worms at the gardening store, Fronda. But a man did tell us to go to the sporting goods store, Decathlon. Bingo! Three euros later, Thing 2 came home and stacked two takeout containers of lombrizes rojos in the fridge while he finished drilling his plastic worm bins with holes. Los gusanos then moved into their new paper-shredded home in the kitchen. This is how my children wear me down.
Today, as I write this, a brown glaze hangs over downtown Madrid, the city shrink wrapped in its own pollution. Far in the distance the snow capped mountains beckon. The temperature is spring-like. Former teachers of the Things are finally being evacuated from Cairo. Hopeful for peace, they hung in there until today. This Expat Princess sends them big kisses, prayers for safe travel, and oodles of admiration. As foreigners in a distant land, they walked the talk. May America receive them with equal parts joy and thanksgiving, for they were the real ambassadors.
Parking photo taken at Fronda. The driver zipped in next to me. Maybe he had a worm emergency?