Gratitude. Things I'm Grateful For #13

To say that adjusting to Spanish life after returning from Southeast Asia has been difficult, would be an understatement. Coming to terms with what I saw while I was traveling, the things I would like to change about my own life and my participation in this world - not necessarily have been altered, but have certainly solidified. I know what I want to do. I know who I need to help. But the next steps, taking the jump into the dark sea below - unsure of the depth, temperature, if there are sharks, etc. - and finding that thing or someone to catch you, is something I'm struggling with. Not having a place to call "home," waiting on Antonio's visa, swirling and frustrating living examples of the Spanish crisis seen on a daily basis, all of these things can suck the living strength out of you.

On the other hand, we do have a family to catch us here temporarily in Malaga, we are warm and fed, and we have A LOT of positive feelings/vibes about our eventual voyage and settlement in the United States. We know that things are going to get a lot brighter, and we're extremely lucky to be in this position, to have the opportunity to go after what we want, to be captains of our barcos.

#13 was my lucky number in college...and well it continues to hold a special meaning for me.  I've got a couple projects I'm waiting to hear from, and these things will play a large role in what happens to my life in the next 3, 6, 12 months, and potentially an even greater impact.

Thank you for reading. I'm grateful to have your support.

I'm also grateful for:

1. Here fishy fishy fishy; a trip to Asturias, Spain

Who says the best seafood is in Madrid or Galicia? Well now I'm at a significant crossroads on this subject, because Asturias also offers some amazing seafood. Their recipes and cultural food traditions are heavily rooted in the fresh fish, mollusks, etc. available from the Cantabrian Sea/Bay of Biscay.

Loved the signage of this pescadería, fish shop, in Oviedo, Asturias, Spain. 

Pulpo a la gallega, Galician octupus with olive oil and paprika, in Oviedo, Spain. Many Galician immigrants (the province to the West of Asturias) have settled in Asturias and now run Galician food restaurants - seafood feasts, Ribeiro and Albariño wines, and big thick crusty bread are all signs of a typical restaurante gallego.  

2. Hospitality 

One reason my trip to Asturias was such a success was the incredibly kind and hospitalible people we encountered there. Our CouchSurfing and BeWelcome hosts spoiled us rotten, taking us to their favorite spots in the city and sharing endless stories of their beloved home, as well as their dreams for the future. A huge thank you and act of gratitude to them! Gracias!

Atop the hillside of the city of Gijon, Asturias. A massive sculpture by Eduardo Chillida Elogio del Horizonte (Praise of the Horizon), meets the sea. Peculiar, iconic, controversial, lauded. 

3. Making Friends

Maybe I was picked last for the kick-ball team, but I was almost always first for the swim team. Making friends I attune a bit to this theory, it's not that you aren't good enough for the other team, it's just that your strengths align better for one or the other. Such is same with relationships - some people just coincide rather naturally with your interests, strengths and passions and you end up on the same team.

Lauren of (I'm) Roaming the World was one of those happy coincidences that the online world drops into your lap(top). Ironically we had been living in the same country, then found ourselves in San Francisco during the same summer months, worked in the same small-batch artisan chocolate factory, and managed by the destiny of life to arrive back in Spain in fall 2012. Even though we knew the same blogging community, we had never really connected until we both - being rather adventurous and fearless - decided to meet in Asturias for a 9 day culinary and Spanish discovery journey. Quite a presumptuous undertaking for two "strangers," but a leap of faith that will surely pay off for us both, and proved to be a fantastic week of soul searching, cider, and cafes.

Globetrotters, Spanish learning nerds, obsessive food consumers, sustainable living nuts = easy peasy travel

4. Cooking 

Sounds simple enough right? But why on Earth would I be suddenly grateful for cooking? Well, because I was chomping at the bit to get into the kitchen and create, bake, satiate my personal palate as well as others. Traveling, eating street food and partaking of others' creations was a great experience, but I'm happy to spend some time with my masa madre (homemade yeast for bread and pizza dough), learning to make pasta and experimenting with flavors and recipes from the trip. 

After lugging Nancy Silverton's Mozza Cookbook around for 3 years, I've finally dedicated myself to a few recipes and am having a "pasta ball" learning to make homemade pasta and a super easy olive oil cake (no butter required!). 

My first go at squid ink pasta. Recipe from Mozza, Los Angeles. 

Eating through Asturias inspired me to try my own arroz con leche (rice pudding) recipe. The typical dish is flavored with cinnamon sticks, lemon peels and anise. My version is infused with vanilla, orange peels and saffron, I also substituted basmati rice - it's awesome! 

5. Writing  

I'm grateful for the opportunity to write. Whether or not it leads me to my "final self" or my career breaking moment, I'm happy to have begun this learning stage; learning to communicate through words, share stories, touch people and express myself. This journey - the website, the journals, the history papers I was forced to write in college - they have and are all preparing me for something. I can't wait to see where writing takes me. 

Has gratitude entered your vocabulary this week? What are you grateful for? Or what potential hurdles have come into your life, that you realized later on were catalysts for gratitude? 


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