A Beautiful Life

Morning Sun on Ambolo Beach
The morning sun on Ambolo Beach, which is a short (0.9km) walk from our house.

“Don’t be afraid to go where you’ve never gone, and do what you’ve never done, because both are necessary to have what you’ve never had, and be whom you’ve never been.” — Mike Dooley

It’s been one month since I left the U.S. for Spain. I grew up traveling and it’s been my dream to live in Europe for years now — decades, really — but things got really real, really fast, early this year, when my husband and I made the leap and bought a little villa on the Spanish Mediterranean. We chose the location for a variety of reasons, the main one being my brother has been living here for the past five years with his wife, Altamira, who is Spanish, and their two boys. But the weather, vistas, lifestyle, food, music, and cost of living didn’t hurt in the calculations either. So here we are.

Tom left a month before me to set up the house and get things ready. My last day in the U.S. was a total comedy of errors and definitely not how I envisioned it but due to an impending “big deal” snow storm, United switched my flight at the last minute from February 20th to February 19th. I was at work when I found out I could switch so rushed home, threw everything I had left into a big suitcase, changed out of work clothes into anything handy that looked remotely comfy for traveling. My parents drove me to the Dulles. It was odd to see such blue skies when such a big storm was supposed to start early the next morning. They dropped me at the airport, I checked in and found my bag weighed almost 10 pounds over. Even a 1/2 pound over carries of fine of $200! And me! A minimalist yet! Panicked, I opened my bag and started yanking out random things. I called my parents who circled back through departures to pick up my extra stuff. I asked some guy in the terminal to watch my belongings and ran to the car with an armload of gawd-know’s-what. All I remember seeing was my mom with her arms outstretched. I handed her a big pile: boots, sunscreen, running clothes, dental floss. I was crying when I first said goodbye to them but this time we were cracking up. Back inside the terminal, I tried again and success. My bag clocked in at 49.5 pounds — 0.5 pounds to spare! The United agents were clapping for me. I made my way to the United club lounge and all I can say is thank goodness for “vino tinto.” Also: I saw myself in the bathroom mirror and I looked homeless. In a way I am. But not really because I am now lucky enough to have two wonderful homes: the USA and España. I looked at my reflection, took a few deep breaths, and recalled the the words my mother, a born gypsy, told me as I handed her my surplus belongings: “Karen, move to Spain and create a beautiful life.”

Today is the Spring Equinox. It’s one of my favorite days of the year. I understand why the Persian holiday, Nowruz, marks the traditional start of the New Year. For me, it makes more sense than January 1st and has always been a symbol of new beginnings and fresh starts. So I’m considering this an auspicious day to launch a blog on life, as I am experiencing it, in my little corner of this big beautiful world we inhabit.


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