We made it. Whew! It was in the 30’s in Valencia but here it’s in the low to mid 20’s. So sleeping with the windows open and a breeze off the ocean was welcome. We slept like rocks.
Upon arrival, we were met by the sellers. They had spent the day before getting the house ready for us – cleaning, making sure there was bedding and towels, and generally ensuring we would be comfortable. The woman was very concerned about the situation in Valencia and she knew we couldn’t bring anything more with us than would fit inside the car or strapped on top. They ordered two propane tanks for us and they were delivered before we arrived. So we’re good to go. We were gobsmacked at how much effort they put into our arrival – staying in a house we don’t own yet. But it speaks to the kind of people they are. She planted fresh geraniums in the pots all over the garden and on the terrace.
We were then given the grand tour and walked through the ins and outs of a house with crazy keys in every door. And a wine cellar with a locked cage reminiscent of the Brady Bunch episode for their adventure in the Grand Canyon ala 1970.
‘My father wants the wine to go with the house. Some very old bottles in there. Some won’t be good anymore. But the ones that are good are very good. So you’ll just have to see. Like an adventure.’ Pedro informed us.
Jeff is planning on making this his office. When his desk is set up it will look like he’s the sheriff presiding over the wine jail. So that will be fun.
They walked me through the walled garden. It’s filled with edible plants. We learned yesterday they own a restaurant in Leiria so it’s no wonder. And it helps me understand the rest of the house.
We have a full outdoor oven for baking bread, meats, fish – ‘Everything you like, Kelli.’ They left us a cord of mesquite wood to fire it up and Pedro is coming back on Monday to give us lessons in how to get the coals just right to cook in it. ‘You will experiment.’ Then we moved inside for a tour of the kitchen. It has two sinks and two refrigerators. The stove is something I’ve never seen before. It’s enormous. One side is gas with an oven. The other side is heated with wood and the three of them walked us through how to use it by arguing and contradicting each other on the best way to get the box hot. But it was good natured ribbing. Iron tools are in plentiful supply. If the power ever goes out we can still make food and heat the entire house. He will also bring us a washing machine on Monday – since ours is in Valencia. They have an extra one.
Walking through the history of the home was a labor of love for them. This extended family are the only owners – ever – and they know everything there is to know. We heard their stories of big storms off the ocean, family celebrations, grandchildren, and the fact that 40 years ago there were only 2 houses overlooking the sea – theirs and a neighbor’s on this lonely bluff. Now it’s built up and they’re beyond able to care for it.
She told me. ‘I wrote the story of my life in this house. Now I hand the book to you.’
Her art and paintings are everywhere. Pottery galore from famous pottery houses – some no longer operating but they’re all signed and stamped – and she’s proud of the collection she’s handing me. But she knows we will have our own taste.
‘My mother says you should decide what you want and then pile up what you don’t. We will arrange to take anything you don’t like and give it to those less fortunate. It’s not a problem.’ There is so much stuff – all very tasteful – I will take my time deciding what I want to keep. I also don’t want to offend her by giving away something she treasured.
It’s weird that we find ourselves in this living-in-between state. All of our stuff is still in Valencia. Yet here we are living in a house we don’t own yet, being told by the owners ‘It’s yours now’ when we haven’t closed or signed the papers. She’s ill. I think she likes to know it’s in good hands and that she helped us settle in.
Jeff and I sat and watched the sunset last night. He wouldn’t let us get up until it had slipped below the waves. Thinking back on the months since March he commented ‘We could barely imagine sitting with a view like this – even a month ago.’
I totally agree – ‘It’s why you can’t ever give up. You never know what’s just around the corner.’
I sit at this desk overlooking the sea and can hear the waves crashing. There is just a gentle breeze. The sea isn’t angry today. Its time to take a deep breath and enjoy it. I’ll leave my worries for another day. The world can wait.