Nothing But Normal

We are boring. We rake our garden. Yes, we do yard work now. Like real people. We trim trees and tend to watering. I sweep the front and wave to the neighbors. But I find the best moments are the small ones. As part of my daily mantra I hope for moments that take my breath away. And these days there is at least one each day. Sometimes it’s just walking by a window and looking out at the sea and sky. Or listening to the waves crashing. Sometimes it’s coming out to watch the sunset and looking over at Jeff smiling.

We’ve begun the business of settling in. Our stuff is still in Valencia but we’ve re imagined the furniture placement all over the house so we’re more comfortable.This stuff isn’t ours but it all will be. We haven’t made any sudden moves on buying new light fixtures or appliances. In many ways, this time of living in a house that isn’t yet ours officially, while unusual, has been good for us. We’re learning what it means to live here and make do. When we start making the lists, and building big plans, it will be from experience – not just ambition and dreams.

Every day I go through cabinets and drawers, discovering new things. Some I bring out and dust off – giving them new life. Others are put in a box to give to the sellers to do with them what they will. I’m inspired to paint but my paints, easels and the rest are all in storage in Valencia – after we packed up the espacio creativo. I’d love to take one more run to get them but cases are rising and I read in the Valencian paper that the premier of the Valencian Communidad is thinking of limiting movement – even within the regions of Valencia. So we don’t want to take the chance. Unless things change.

So we’re spending our days discovering, cleaning and repairing. We’ve white washed the walls on the terraces and painted the wine cellar. I’ve oiled and conditioned all the wood work, of which there is a ton. And we’re taking the ax to the front garden. Light now reaches the ground and we can grow a greater variety of plants. I’m excited to start my sketches and rethink the space.

And we’re walking through the village and finding secret hideaways and trails to new vistas. Today, after a coffee at the cafe, we wandered a new street that dead ended to a trail. We walked down and found the old lighthouse. The one that was replaced by the new, automated light on the point. The remains of the old one are still there – but the stairs inside are long gone. And the lighthouse keepers house is roofless but the walls are still standing. What an amazing job with a perfect view. An introvert’s idea of heaven. Jeff’s idea of heaven. We met a family picking berries in evergreen bushes. I asked what they were but didn’t understand the response. They look like white blueberries.

After 6 months since my last professional visit, I’ve finally gone into town and gotten my hair done at a salon whose owner was so happy to have my business they treated me like a queen. I’ve made the follow up appointment for next month. The woman petted my back as I left. And I’ve learned how to get blood work and other tests in town too. All the doctors here speak English. I don’t have to go into Leiria (the big little city – they call it) to the hospital. Things can be managed and monitored close to home.

It’s a clear sunny day but the season is changing. You can feel it and see that the trees are turning red and yellow. In August. And the wind is whipping with the ocean full of whitecaps. It’s still warm enough on the beach during the day but by 6pm it’s getting chilly and families make their way up to walk in front of our house to go home. We can see freighters at the horizon line. I look forward to more fires in the fireplace. And days filled with moments that take my breath away.

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