What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

May 10, 2015

I’m sure you’ve all noticed it’s been radio silence on the old blog these last few months. They always say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Well, the jury’s still out on whether it’s made us any stronger, but this past winter was brutal enough to make me question why on earth anyone would want to live on a boat in New Jersey. Rich, being of hardier stock, isn’t so bothered. Anyway, as my mother taught me, if you don’t have anything nice to say… Hence, the long radio silence!

Speaking of Mom, I’d like to say happy Mother’s Day to the best mom ever. She taught me to go for the things I want in life, even if they seem crazy to everyone else (and sometimes even to me). Love you, Mom!

Here we are at our girls’ happy hour a few summers ago. Me, my sisters Amanda and Carley, my mom Sue, and her mom Florence. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

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Ribadesella: the Northern Coast of Spain

October 5, 2014

This is Marta another friend from my language exchange who we got to meet in person while we were in Spain. She’s a journalist and whip-smart, not to mention hilarious. Before we left for our trip I told her I was taking a first-aid course to prepare for our crossing and we discussed all the potential health emergencies we could be facing. So when I sent her a text to tell her we’d arrived safe and sound, she wrote back asking if I’d had to take anyone’s appendix out. Thankfully, no! Anyway, she’s pretty funny.

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She and her husband Isidoro split their time between Madrid and Alicante, but they also have a summer place in Ribadesella, Asturias, where she invited us to come stay with them while we were in Spain. We weren’t sure if it would work out, but we’re so glad it did because not only is Marta awesome, but Asturias, way up in the north of Spain, is really beautiful…and completely different from anyplace we’ve ever been in Spain. It reminded us more of the Pacific Northwest with its cooler, rainy climate.

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When we arrived in Ribadesella, this was the sign that was hanging outside her apartment. Cute, right?

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Valencia: Paella, Calatrava, and New Friends

September 20, 2014

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My friend Susana and I have been doing a language exchange for about a year now over Skype. We’ve become pretty good friends in that time, but since she lives in Spain, we never had the chance to meet in person. That is, until our whirlwind trip to the Iberian Peninsula, post–Atlantic Crossing. When she met us at the train station, we just picked up right where we’d left off in our last WhatsApp chat. Susana was kind enough to invite us to stay with her while we were in town so we got to see firsthand what it’s like to live in a tiny village near the Valencian coast. She and her daughter, Victoria, live in a house that has been in the family for generations and is very typically Spanish with its tiled roof, wooden ceiling beams, and thick stucco walls for keeping out the heat.

We wanted to see old stuff so Susana took us to Valencia’s cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century. It was a twisty, somewhat death-defying 207 steps to the Miguelete, or bell tower, at the top, but the views were totally worth it, or as they say in Spanish: vale la pena.

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