Many friends and family have asked Jesse or myself this question, once we said we were moving to Spain, but not working, “What are you going to do?” and they did not mean it rudely (at least I didn’t take it as such, but it seemed that they couldn’t fathom not having something to do, as in, a job). So we would respond, “Whatever we want.” And while that response fits my personality to a T, Jesse has had to lean into it more. However it isn’t said sarcastically, because we truly mean it. That was the point of taking this sabbatical; to figure out and do whatever we want, or don’t want, to do with the next year, and beyond.
Now we knew, #1, we wanted to learn to speak Spanish fluently, and what better place to learn that is a non-English speaking tourist town in North Spain, right? Being a student is work (at least that is what we all told ourselves in college), and we have class three days a week. We also practicing speaking Spanish with the people we encounter on a regular basis; asking for the freshest bread of the day, or asking for half-kilos of cherries or trying to pay with a US credit card at the grocery store which never works so we hope we get a cashier who we have seen before and knows the deal, or ordering cafe solo (espresso) or cappuccino at the local coffee shop, or ask the waiter at the restaurant “what’s in this dish?” in Spanish. In a few months time we hope to be fluent enough to feel confident traveling to other parts of Spain and utilize what we’ve learned.
Some may know I enjoy writing, and while I wrote one book published back in 2014, I want to write another, as I have a couple ideas for books I want to write. I also continue to write about baseball, but that is basically done out of love, because the amount of money I have have received for all the writing I’ve done is basically nothing. I think that’s called doing it “for the love of the game.” In any case, it has been good practice, and I enjoy doing it, so I do it. Starting this blog is some more good writing experience, and I think of it as a title to a book I read once back in college, “I Write What I Like,” by the activist Franz Fanon, and while we are writing about much different subjects, the thought is still the same, in essence.
On our way to Spain from California we drove across the United States. Well, Jesse drove 95% of it because she doesn’t trust my driving, which is fine by me, I don’t mind being a passenger. We drove through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, before our final US destination of North Carolina. We spent time and visited family and friends on our trek. We stayed with Jesse’s folks in Missouri for a month in between our first and second Covid-19 vaccinations, and I decided to take a drive. Missouri is a beautiful state to drive, especially where her parents live near the Lake of the Ozarks. There is something about driving in early spring, when there is a slight chill to the air, but not too cold that one can’t drive with the windows down, as the brisk air. Listening to loud music, having no where to go, up and down and around on the winding two lane state highways, I drove for hours, and then turned around and drove back.
During that drive, I had the realization that what I was, what we were doing, was taking a long break, or maybe what we should have been doing all along, living and enjoying our time with each other and with our family and friends. I stopped at a vista, pulled off onto the gravel, looked out across the yellow fields, with the blue sky above, and trees that had just started budding as spring was so close, but not there yet, and wrote, “Sometimes we get glimpses of life, of real life, and real living, and we cherish those (like being on a great vacation or bungee jumping or celebrating a birthday with friends, you don’t have to think hard to know what your glimpses are) and we look back on those moments, and they brighten as we age, because they are only glimpses. Me, however? I want long looks.”