Living and Learning

We are returning to normal life here in Valencia – as normal as it can be in an ongoing Pandemic. And I’m starting my Spanish lessons again with Maria. We had our first face to face via Zoom as I’m in Valencia and she’s in Pontevedra, and she’s given me some homework that includes some reading, work book exercises, and required movie, TV watching, or listening to the radio in Spanish. Maria gave me some good suggestions for resources to jump start my Spanish language comprehension. Check out It’s loaded down with all kinds of incredible shows, movies and radio. I”m currently watching the El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Ministry of Time). It’s got enough action and drama to help me keep up with the story while learning slowly.

But Maria also recommended I find people to speak with in Spanish – locally – for 15 minutes per day. This is more difficult these days than you’d think. But with lock down easing, we’re venturing forth – interacting with people in shops and not solely wrestling with the checker at the Mercadona.

Last night we went out to dinner for the first time in nearly 3 1/2 months. A sit down meal with waiters and menus and the whole 9 yards. It was glorious. Jeff was smiling from ear to ear – and I know this because he was unmasked during the meal. Yes, we took our masks off to eat and drink. Wonderful.

We ate at a table down the alley way for maximum ventilation. The home-made ravioli was divine (according to Jeff) and my steak was so tender I could cut it with a butter knife. The roasted vegetables were smoky. Heaven.

Breaking news – Beer is served in wine glasses now. Interesting. We enjoyed it so much we didn’t want to leave. And I felt compelled to stay since it was in the service of my Spanish language schooling. The more we ordered, the more I had to interact with the waiter. And the bill? 40 euros. That’s less than $45 USD. All for 3 hours of lounging in a beautiful Valencian street on a warm summer night with a breeze, under the twinkling lights and neighboring terraces. It was just like we dreamed inside el Compatimento all those weeks. And better than going to a movie – which we can do now, too.

No such things as Extreme Measures

At the EMT bus stop – it says The danger still lurks – use the mask correctly. The Valencian Community takes this seriously

I saw this headline on CNN yesterday about Spain and it made me upset. We’ve learned here that there can be a balance of health and business – keeping people working and the economy open – if we all wear masks, use hand sanitizer in every interaction, and gloves in confined spaces. Last night we had one of the best dinner’s in memory, safely. Arriving in masks, using gel and being waited on by staff who were following the rules.

Our table was socially distanced and we felt secure enough to linger over another beverage and enjoy our first night out in a very long time. I hope the US doesn’t continue to view this as ‘Extreme Measures’ when it’s the one way to make sure we’re keeping each other safe and happy. And to ensure there are more evenings out like last night in our future. I’ll wear all the gear they ask of me, if we can make that happen.

One thought on “Living and Learning

  • Well, this resulted in a loud guffaw “not solely wrestling with the checker at the Mercadona”! It’s impossibly crazy that the US (where I live) can not seem to learn from other countries. If our government had been watching outside of the US back in February as us travelers were watching, they would have seen the critical need for action. If our government would watch NOW outside of the US, they would see the continual need for masks and safety for the health of all – a critical need if your endline concern is the economy. In case you’ve missed, our governor in California has reinstated the requirement for masks when inside or in close quarters because even in our small rural town surrounded by olive and orange groves, the numbers keep rising.


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