Jeff is a water person. We both grew up in the Northwest of the US where mountains, rivers and streams meet the crashing Pacific ocean, and it rains ALOT. So there is water everywhere. His water of choice is usually fresh water, while mine is salt water from summers growing up, spent in Cannon Beach or a house in Manzanita, just south over Neakanie Mountain. It’s wild and the storms are epic.
For much of Jeff’s adult life, his sports have included wake boarding, sea kayaking, rafting, sailing, and white water kayaking. For years he was a river guide for a club and shepherded people through white water rivers in the US and Canada. But he really loves kayaking rivers like the Skykomish, Wenatchee and Snoqualmie in Washington State even more. And watching him surfing on white water waves in the middle of a river was a thing of beauty. Our old house was 20 minutes from the put in. He never said, but he chose that house and I think that’s why.
When we moved here, Jeff gave all that up and shipped none of his boating or rafting stuff. He chose his motorcycle over his boats. But his face fell when they took the last of his boats and paddles out of our garage in Arizona a year ago. Deep breath. He was silent for a few days. I wondered if that might be the a deal breaker, but he persevered.
There are no big rivers in Valencia and the Med is like a lake – with a few days in the winter when you can get some decent surfing in. There are days I can tell he misses it. We don’t have a ski boat or a sail boat here (yet) and while we like going to Panorama to watch the surfers on super windy days, its not the same as being out on the water yourself.
So to celebrate getting my license, I decided that we need to get back out there. So yesterday, we walked to the other side of the city and we bought a couple of paddle boards and all the gear. Carrying those home 2 1/2 miles, strapped to our backs, might have caused a few fellow pedestrians to look askance, but it’s past time we donned the wet suits and paddle some waves again. Sure, not big waves, but it’s been a while. We need to start small.
Our biggest obstacle to overcome in the short term, prior to a selection of a car with a roof rack, is how to transport watercraft to a beach or a lake. Luckily, I’ve discovered that in Spain they are very clever with the available bike rack configurations. We can get the one for surf boards and install it very easily to a bicycle. So we’ll be able to get ourselves and our boards from here to there without too much trouble. Even I wouldn’t attempt a full sized paddle board on the tram to the beach, and I’ve brought a large dining room rug on the Metro. So either I’ve lost my nerve or I’ve begun to acquiesce to social norms. It would be the first time in my life for either of those things.
If all goes well this weekend, we’ll pick up a couple of kayaks next week too, for some fun maybe a little further off shore. Just to tide us over – haha. But that may force the car purchase sooner than later. No kayak racks for a bike.
Jeff’s ultimate goal is to move north and west in Spain. To where there are real rivers and where the ocean crashes against rocks on the shore. We’re heading up there next month to begin checking out some of the areas where we might want to live, and to look for bigger water. And I’ll be practicing my newly acquired driving skills.
I guess, as we wrap up this first year of living in Spain, it’s time to add a little of the old back in with the new. Sure, embracing change is fun. But weaving the familiar in along with it makes life that much sweeter.