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One year ago, while I was volunteer teaching at the International Rescue Committee, renting boats and struggling with direction and life-purpose, I decided to make a second attempt at a blog.  Now, I am not sure if I’ve developed or progressed in any way, except that I have the affirmation that being able to write is truly therapeutic, even if it is banal, common writing.  Also taking photos has become a great hobby for me, and I’ve collected quite a few of the wonderful places that I’ve visited in the last year.

Spain, particularly Madrid, has treated me better than I ever expected or deserve, and if I have the choice, I intend to stay.  There have been a handful of people who I’ve grown close to, and they continue to show me what class and friendship really mean.

Here is a random sample of highlights that I’ll mention as I give a cursory look at my last year in Spain (again, in no particular order).

My future holds many great times, but it also holds a final moment in which I must find the right place to put my love and energy, and finally see the difference between perceived happiness and reality, all the while fighting ever-present inner demons as I try to write and develop and arrange my thoughts.   Let’s see what happens.

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A weekend trip to Bilbao and San Sebastián was the perfect getaway just when work and routine started to get to all of us.  This was my first real trip out of town as a Madrileño/giri.

Malasaña has shown itself to be quirky and artsy and diverse enough to remain interesting in my fickle mind.  Even in the sun of Palma, I miss this neighborhood in a way I can’t really explain.  I’m sure it will all come back to me when I again have a glass of wine on a terrace with a good friend.

One advantage to living in a city is the diversity of food.  Madrid has many places for all tastes, and I’ve barely scratched the surface.  Spanish food is under-rated and one of the reasons compelling me to stay.

In Spain, I drink less but more often.  I like the way wine has become my daily habit, and mixed drinks are made with care and attention.

A weekend trip to Toledo was a definite highpoint for me, both because of the history and beauty of the town itself, and the company I went with.

My trips to Palma, Mallorca were great for several reasons.  A short 50 euro flight from Madrid and you’re on the sand with a Tinto de Verano in hand.

Paella.  Enough said.

The architecture and history of Segovia.  Another short jaunt from Madrid, and always worth the time and effort.  An easy place to take great photos.

The harbor at Ciutadella, Menorca.  A place I intend to revisit, with an appetite and a camera.

To be continued…

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