Valentino is already sleeping and Cataleya’s obsessed with the giant water slides in Bali on YouTube. She can’t wait to leave Portugal and for her life to be one big water park.
Kids have no sense of occasion.
As for me, well, a mixture of nerves, sadness, and excitement. In between tasks today I managed to take out some seven black sacks of garbage. It’s amazing how much you accumulate in a short time especially with kids.
And it’s almost entirely like throwing your money directly into the garbage. Some 90% of the toys and other junk held their attention for more than a fraction of a second. The rest was barely even glanced at.
I’ll try to be more minimalistic in Bali. Perhaps they can play with leaves and flowers instead.
The Long Road Home
But of course, before any of the water parks and enjoying the simpler (and cheaper) things in life, we’ve got the long road home first. Driving across the center of Spain in the scorching heat with its parched lands and lonely villages. A stark contrast to the jagged cliff edges, open ocean, bright white windmills, and rolling green hills that surround us here.
I shall ache inside for the waves. The frothy whiteness as they form a rolling consistent break along the rocks. The little fair in front of our house that we pass by every morning (and end up going to every evening), the smiling ladies in the nameless cafe below, and the kindly people from the laundry.
They’ll never know how much I appreciated them. I think I was their best customer of the summer so far. They even gave me my last wash for free. I nearly cried.
And then there’s Liliana and Gonzalo, Ana, and Cristina, Nora, Mariana; all the personalties that smoothed our transition here and allowed for us to do this.
Tomorrow, I will try to grab one last session in the surf before we leave–even if it means setting out later on the six-and-a-half-hour journey to someplace in La Mancha, home of Don Quijote. I think it’s called Manzanares. Wherever it is, it will be in a lonely baron land, rich in history, and limited on child-friendly food.
Somewhere in my naive and over-hopeful brain, I actually think that it will take that amount of time. Of course, it’s far more likely that with the kids in the back and the incessant calls to stop, eat, pee, and generally not be still, it will take a lot longer than that.
Change of Summer Ride
It’s a shame we can’t initiate the 24-hour-or-so journey to Denpasar Bali from here. Alas, we need to take the jeep home and initiate our trip from Valencia. We have one hell of a set of wheels waiting in Bali though.
A Toyota AGYA, whatever that is, I think it has power steering at least. The rental agency is reputable too–if the car breaks, they’ll happily give you a new one.
I’ve heard lots of stories about driving in Bali and most of them make me nervous. It will be weird driving on the other side of the road and having mopeds with entire families on top passing by and tooting their horns. Weird, stressful–and wonderful at the same time. It will remind me of El Salvador, where taking the roof off a car removes the need for windows or a/c.
What I Mostly Feel Right Now
I feel strange. I feel like the longer I live the less I understand. I can’t contemplate this whole Brexit train wreck or that the UK could have someone like Boris Johnson captaining the ship. It makes me cringe that out of a country with a glorious past and bright future, this is the best we can do.
I’m exhausted too. I don’t think I mentioned that in another post, but working intensely, raising children, and putting it all together is tough. You never really rest. The orders and requests come flying at you 24/7 whether they be proposals, reports, a request for milk and cookies, or mopping up vomit from the floor.
Ericeira Has a Piece of My Heart
This is a charming town with pretty buildings, friendly (but not overly) people and some of the best surf in the world. I love the education system, attitude, and culture. I even found out today that Portugal doesn’t tax earnings in cryptocurrency. I need to explore that in greater depth.
In Cullera, Spain, it took three years for me to be added to a mommies’ WhatsApp group. I’ve since left. There is no way to say this without sounding like an asshole but I will never care enough about the color of the uniforms or the way the children hand presents to the teachers.
In Portugal, in this mini slice of the world, we already went to a party in less than six weeks. There is a burgeoning ex-pat community (with all the negative effects that has on the local economy, driving up prices and making accommodation scarce). But, it has its good things, too.
We spent Sunday with an Italian friend of Cataleya–and her many, many more Italian friends. It was a veritable festival of languages. English, Portuguese, Italian, German. All people brought together to the same place seeking the same thing. Peace, surf, happy kids, and a happy life.
Whatever the future holds I can’t help but keep this piece of Portugal in my heart. And I am so thankful that we took the leap.