It’s funny how certain things evoke memories. Things that spark the senses. A smell or taste. The feel of the air or the light shining a certain way. Here in Valencia there is something around every corner waiting for me. Something that says Remember?, and it makes me smile.

I spent yesterday morning running errands. Since I was not going to miss my favorite gluten-free bakery, I ran them up in my old stomping grounds. I know where everything is up there.

First stop – Santa Amalia gluten free bakery. Usually, I only get the tarta de manzana. But in honor of Carnival starting I got a susu donut roll. Practically a prescription. Decadent heaven.

A Little Shopping

Then, I ran more errands with some unplanned stops. Especially my favorite herbolario in Spain – health store Herbalario Navarra. To check out their new stock. Lovely people. I bought essential oils.

My stops had me weaving in and out of the park. My favorite kind of errand run. The parks of Valencia can be traced back to Napoleon when the French army occupied the city. His second in command found Valencia’s lack of green spaces to be less than sophisticated or civilized. He ordered parks dedicated and planted throughout the city. And the large trees you see are from that time. Hundreds of years old.

After a wonderful lunch with friends at a great new Lebanese restaurant, I stopped at the new english bookstore. My friends read the blog and pointed me there. It’s new. Book Lovers Valencia And they sell both new and used books. I was there when they opened at 4:30. It was filled with Americans by the time I left. Students and retirees. The owner is amazing.

This little gem hosts a Silent Reading For Introverts Happy Hour. And local english author readings. Oh, how I would have loved this place when we lived in Valencia.

Light Memories

Yesterday afternoon, walking back to to the hotel, the light was just right. February sunset. It reminded me about the Spanish Women’s fútbol team I joined in February of 2019. To meet people and improve my Spanish. No one spoke ingles. I learned futbol spanish as the coach shouted commands. We practiced in Almaserra. I took the metro up north and walked through the village to the sports centre every week. Almaserra is a gorgeous little pueblo. I was 52. Every other player was in their 20’s. Jeff came once to watch our practice.

‘How did I do?’ I asked breathless, afterwards, as we walked to the metro.

He smiled. ‘Well, you weren’t the worst player.’

At 52, I took that as high praise. After fútbol I would go home and sleep like the dead. Those girls probably went out and partied all night.

My Dentist, Sofia, told me the other day that I was very brave. ‘You do new things. Even things Spaniards wouldn’t do.’ And I guess she is right. It is a little brave to join a fútbol team in a foreign country at my age. Funny, that feels like a hundred years ago.

In the Hands of the Master

This morning I awoke to a beautiful Valencia sunrise and immediately headed up the park to my hair appointment with Rubin. His assessment of the condition of my hair was almost verbatim to what I predicted.

‘Uf, Kelli. What is this? Call the police. This is terrorism.’ As he ran his hand through my hair.

‘My take, exactly. This is four months of grow out. Jeff told me Go see Rubin.’

Rubin is sad Jeff isn’t with me. I think the other patrons thought I was crazy to have come all the way from Galicia. But they don’t know how lucky they are to have him nearby.

I am in his chair – el maestro’s- as we speak, with foils all over my head. A cup of te in my hand. As Rubin sings to the music playing. This was always Jeff’s favorite part of his haircut. I was right before I came. It really does feel like home.

5 thoughts on “Remember?

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