daily fieldnotes

Going places category archive

Each Trip a New Beginning 3

It’s 97 degrees in Toledo, and we’ve just arrived for our annual summer visit. I haul suitcases up the stairs from the garage while the abuelos show Basil his new toys and exclaim over how much he’s changed. JJ prints his train ticket for tomorrow’s business trip to Barcelona, and I get us settled in. I hang up sundresses next to winter coats from the last trip. Stow sandals in the shoe cupboard next to an old pair of sneakers. Organize baby shirts and pants. Then we all go sit outside in the shade with cold drinks and Spanish tortilla sandwiches to talk and watch Basil play.

When you have family on the other side of the world, trips to see them become markers in the seasons of your life, like the first snow signaling the start of winter. Each Christmas, each summer, we decide on our dates. Buy our tickets. Make plans to see friends and family before we leave. Pack our suitcases. Worry over keeping the baby entertained and fed on the flight now that we have Basil. And then we do the nearly 24-hour trip from California to Spain.

The trip itself is always exhausting. Two flights, one 9 ½ hours with a 16-month old. But once we are here, and start settling into a routine, I always feel the possibility in a life lived like this. The ways that having family in two countries stretches you. It makes you cross boundaries more often. Language, culture, food boundaries. There is a way that travel makes you see yourself anew, and these family trips to Spain do that for me. They make me start fresh. Each time I go through the list of things to attend to before leaving, make the trip, and then we’re here. And while the isolation of being far from family and friends can be hard, it also makes me read and write more, and I like that. I like the distance from daily life that comes with being in a faraway place.

Now, with Basil’s milestones marking the passage of time, each trip is even more of a new beginning. Last Christmas, he had just begun to crawl. He was pulling himself up on the dresser for the first time, opening drawers, figuring out how to get up stairs. Now he is walking, exploring each room on his own, climbing up on furniture, holding his Poppy’s hand as we walk through the old town to visit his Great Grandma.

This is the first trip to Spain since I finished my degree. Another new beginning. I’m excited to write while I am here, and see where it leads me. See how the future looks 2 weeks from now when I’m home again. And thanks to Meg’s challenge, and NaBloPoMo, I’m going to share more of the process here this month. See you tomorrow!

Weekend Away 2

We are going away this weekend, an escape to the rugged northern California coast. I’m looking forward to climbing rocks, hiking, hearing the ocean, being outside. I can’t wait to take pictures with our new lens. Most of all I’m looking forward to time with JJ, just us.

Pictures to follow!

In the Streets of Toledo 2

We got back a week ago, late Sunday night. The week quickly flooded us with the everyday of our lives in San Francisco. JJ with his worlds of new technologies, me with university days, dissertation, professors and scheduling meetings. It feels like a dream that we were in Toledo just a little over a week ago.

The power of high speed jet travel still surprises me, how far we can go in just one day. I grew up without traveling, except a few small car trips, mostly through school; I didn’t fly until I was 14. Now international travel is a permanent part of my life. It amazes me that my children will grow up traveling, will have two passports, will never know what it feels like to know nothing beyond 100 miles from their home.

My children. Oh how I wish they’d make their way into my life already!

*This last picture is the Alcazar, formerly a fortress, now housing the county library in one section. At the top of the corner tower there’s a cafe; the sweeping views of Toledo posted below were taken from here.

A Dose of Fall Color 2

Went two states north for fall color this year, a last-minute trip to Seattle to spend time with an old friend. Someday I hope to live where there is more of this; San Francisco definitely leaves something to be desired in the fall color department….