October 29, 2011

dear mr. salasar,

i always wanted to teach.  ever since i was a child.  you said i would make a great teacher someday, remember that?  i thought about writing you so i could let you know that i actually became a teacher - and a pretty good one for that matter.  well, to be honest, it may have taken me a couple of years to really learn how to teach well.  but then life took me down so many different paths and now i don't teach anymore.  i really miss it, though.

but i still think about you every now and then.  i still remember our english classes.  you were my teacher for two or three years back when i was a teenager.  and you were probably...  sixty-five, maybe seventy?  you were my oldest teacher and most definitely the wisest.

remember all those stories you used to tell your students about when you were young?  i remember them all so well, maybe because you must have told us the same ones dozens of times.  you always managed to get our attention with your stories.  we didn't mind listening to them over and over again.  it was just like re-reading a great book...

oh, your life as a young adult was so cool!  i loved to hear all about those years when you were living in paris how awesome is that?  you told us about the time when you started writing.  about being a writer and a teacher.  about your four daughters and how they all managed to marry well (and your sons-in-law being all foreigners).  but i must confess i always wondered why you were still teaching back then, when you could have been enjoying your retirement.  and if you were still married, because you only talked about your daughters, never about your wife.  i always wondered what had happened to your leg - maybe you'd had an accident.  but you never talked about those things, so we never asked.

remember how you always said i should travel abroad and see the world?  i did.  i've been to a bunch of places and i've met so many different people...  you couldn't have been more right!  i loved it and i really wanted you to know that.  i thought you'd be proud. 

i remember once you gave me one of the books you wrote.  and as i opened it, i saw that handwriting of yours.  it read: "to a great student, a bright mind".  how thoughtful of you!  i started reading your book as soon as i got home and i got to know you a little bit more because of it.  remember that character who said: "i will never open the door to the End. (...)  if it wants, it might as well sneak in through the window.  but i will not open the door to the End".  i loved that story.

that man was you, wasn't it? i didn't get it back then. 

i thought it was about time i thanked you for everything you taught me and all the encouragement you gave me.  see, ever since i can remember, my dad has always read the newspaper in the mornings.  and i can still remember the day he called me and, looking over his glasses, told me he had been reading the obituary.  "don't be sad, sweetheart".

i still think you shouldn't have left that window open.



October 24, 2011


after we left córdoba, we kept heading south.  our next stop was seville.  it really is an amazing city!   extremely hot in the summer and not as cold for most of us during the winter, seville is one of the most beautiful cities i have ever been to.  i've always loved it so much...  and there was a time when i wanted to live there, but i guess i'm more of a northern girl myself.   

i'm not a great photographer;  i really wish i was, so i could manage to capture every single beautiful thing with my camera.  however, there are so many pictures i wanted to share with you that i thought i might as well put them all together in a short video (thank you so much, iMovie!)

these are all photos we've taken while we were there, except for the one of the bridge at night and the old postcard with the same bridge.  you'll also see the guadalquivir river, which is one of the biggest rivers in the country - it crosses all andalusia from east to west.  on the other side of that beautiful bridge (there are other nice and modern bridges, but this one is the most important and probably the most beautiful one), you'll find a very famous gipsy neighborhood in its origins.  it's obviously a lot less expensive than the city center.  see, when i'm traveling, i always try to avoid eating too close to the city center, or at a place where i can only spot tourists.  i often see if i can find bars and restaurants where there are lots of locals eating.  and triana is the very best neighborhood to find these places.

in this neighborhood, people are so proud to live there and they have such a feeling of identity with it that most of the small businesses you can find there all have pretty much the same name:  triana bar,  triana hotel, triana beauty salon, triana restaurant, etc.  and there was also this small chinese shop called something like xiao mei zhou which lucas is one hundred percent sure it means something like triana chinese shop... :)   

October 23, 2011

get your motor running & head out on the highway

this is one of the 100+ osborne bull billboards you may find alongside major highways in Spain. 
some european sites and cities are better portrayed in black and white. 
our first stop: córdoba. i had already been there once, but i guess i'll never get tired of it. 
i encourage you all to pack your bags and go road tripping somewhere in your country. 
it is a great way to spend a weekend, if you can't afford to be away for an entire week or longer. 

and make sure not to over plan your trip - it spoils the fun.

October 21, 2011

the cure for anything

sometimes wisdom comes in small packages. 

or is that beauty? :) no, i'm kidding. 

this quote is so simple and yet so... true.

and - to me - that's pretty much the recipe for an 'accomplished' life: hard work,  emotions and the natural beauty that makes you look up and wonder about the world Maker.

(we're still road tripping honeymooning all through the south of Spain - 
we'll be back next week with lots of stories and some pictures. stay tuned :P)

source: photo

October 16, 2011

... and that's why I love small town life

I'm on vacation this week... much needed! Yayyy! We're planning to go road tripping through the south of Spain. Cool!

We have already started our trip, by the way.

I'm at my in-laws'. And I love to come here. As I said before, my husband grew up in a small town. We have so many friends here and we all meet at the same bar, with the same friends and order much of the same things every time.

And the stories.. I love the 'small town' stories.

So, we're at the bar and this guy walks in. He greets pretty much everybody, talks to the barman and leaves. Our friends say:

- Did you see A.?
- Yep. What about him?
- Haven't you heard? He spent a night in jail some months ago.
- He did?! What did he do?
- He took a toy gun, covered his face up and tried to rob the bank next to the post office.
- No way! His dad works there!
- I know, that's why they caught him. He walked in and said: 'I have a gun! Everybody down! Oh, except you, dad...'

(They all swear it is a true story. 'See, A. is a nice guy, they told us. He didn't mean any harm. It was April fools day')

October 11, 2011

old-fashioned marriage

I was talking with a colleague at work this morning and, though I don’t remember exactly how this topic was brought up, we started talking about commitment, marriage and how so many people were getting divorced these days. 

Anyway, she said, I guess the recession might be the cause of so many people getting divorced right now. You know, the economy is not as good it used to be, so people obviously fight a lot more about money than they used to and... well, if you're married and fight too much, then I think it's better to break up. I don't think marriage has to last forever and at least these days people can choose if they want to stay married or not. 

[This post is, basically, about what I told her and these are only a few thoughts on the matter.  I could ramble on forever about this topic, but I promise I’ll try to keep it brief and to the point.]

I watch the news. I know there are zillions of people getting divorced by the second. I also know that most of them now say that the number one cause of divorce was money fights and money problems. However, I think this whole thing is a lot more simple than that. I really think the problem is not the money or the lack of it. And it’s definitely not the recession.

it is a problem of definition.

See, i’m of the belief that when somebody has a problem, and this problem is shared with somebody else, it’s no longer a problem. It’s half a problem. When you have a husband or a wife, everything is supposed to be easier: shared blessings are sweeter and hardships lighter, especially financial problems. 

And i know I may be weird, because I see most people are so unbelievably selfish nowadays that they're not willing to share anything with each other, not even their own problems! They don’t solve their problems together as a couple anymore, they fight about them instead. Over and over again. 

Has anyone else noticed how nobody ever seems to make an effort to keep a relationship anymore? How nobody will try to make it work longer than a couple of months? People talk about their failed relationships as if they were a bunch of business ventures that didn't succeed, despite all the money they've thrown at it, but never their time. 

Well, 'if it is meant to be, it will be'. oh, please! seriously? Somebody has to wake these people up already! 

Then, it turns out they're all sad about how they just can't find the man or the woman that will commit to a relationship with them... despite all those books they've bought to try to figure out mars and venus and the whole freakin' galaxy...

I’m not saying I don’t recognize there are some cases where divorce is the only option: people love to go off on tangents saying how terrible it must be not to be able to get a divorce when you live under physical threats and abusive behavior... blah, blah. I'm not talking about that. Never was.

if what you’re saying is you are getting married with the possibility of parting ways somewhere down the line in your mind, and you choose to say those vows out loud... i mean, that says a lot about you then, doesn’t it?

Again, it is a problem of definition. If you want to engage in a relationship with somebody without all the attachments, the vows and everything, you can. But that's not marriage. It is something else. You may call it whatever you want: a joint venture, a civil union.. but it is definitely not marriage.

Marriage hasn’t got old. It is what it has always been. it hasn’t changed at all. you have. 

It only means you don’t like it, which is totally fine with me. 

source: photo

October 10, 2011


I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort.
- Clarice Lispector

source: photo

October 8, 2011

what if i wasn't a mortgage analyst...

... and decided to do something else instead?  

don't get me wrong: i love my job.  it's just sometimes i find myself thinking about life and its endless possibilities

what if i had become an artist instead?  (not that i've got any hidden talents whatsoever.  just please consider it a merely hypothetical thing)

if i could choose another job, any job, i'm sure it would be something that required just a little more creativity than pressing a bunch of buttons on a keyboard.  maybe something related to arts in general, like screenwriting or acting.  or maybe i'd even pursue a career as a music producer.  then i'd put lady gaga out of business with the blink of an eye and unveil hundreds of more talented people like adele. 

i'd most certainly choose something fresh and fun and i'd definitely travel all around the world for work - that'd be a great experience! 

i could also work as a private investigator.  who wouldn't like to do that?  it must be the least boring job ever!  i'd be chasing unfaithful wives, big time stuck up politicians and small time crooks trying to make a living.  it'd be so exciting!  i'd finally learn how ridiculously wealthy actors manage to go broke.  i'd also be able to successfully suppress my urge to be an artistic photographer by taking pictures with telephoto lenses and remote triggers.  i'd find the time to read the newspaper from cover to cover while waiting for my victim to step inside the restaurant with his mistress, not to mention i'd get to wear classy trench coats and big sunglasses.  fun!

bed-and-breakfast owner.  that's what i'm gonna be.  when we move to a small town to the north of spain, we'll buy a big house made of stone. we'll live a peaceful life close to the woods and have enough money so we don't freak out we don't have that many guests.  

but all my friends have normal jobs.  except, maybe one. remember that episode of f.r.i.e.n.d.s. when they were playing a game about who knew each other best and nobody knew what Chandler did for a living?  that's my friend S.  i thought i might have a general idea of what she does, but i couldn't find a name for it.

i had to call her this morning cause it's her birthday [happy birthday, S.!] and i took the opportunity to ask the question.

- well, she said, i used to be a private equity executive, but now i'm a consultant. 
- could you be just a little more specific?
- i solve problems and create opportunities. 
- right, right..  

it must be awesome to do something even your friends can't understand.  i mean, it's like.. super secretive stuff, the female version of clark kent.  whatever it is, she's very good at it!  she loves what she does and she obviously makes unbelievable amounts of money.  she probably works 26 hours a day, which is not that cool, but she's always flying here and there to compensate.  i admire her so very much.

any dream jobs?

October 7, 2011

fill in the blank friday

1.   Something popular that I can't stand/just don't "get" is    gossip, particularly in the workplace. It is such a huge waste of time and productivity, not to mention it's absolutely wrong and creates a bad atmosphere in the office   .
2.   Something unpopular that I secretly love is   Friday or Saturday night movie sessions in our living room instead of going out . 
3.  When I've had a bad day I   don't talk much. And when I do, I complain a lot   . (not very nice, huh?)
4. I'd prefer   going on a date with my husband   to    happy hour    any day.
5.  Something that makes me nervous is   Sunday night blues reminding me the weekend is about to end  .
6.  Something worth fighting for is   marriage. Marriage is something that I take very seriously and something that I work very hard at. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make it work   . (I'm not in creative mode right now. I'm copying Lauren's #6, shamelessly!)
7.  When people think of me, I hope they think   "Wow, this girl rocks! She is a faithful Christian, happily married and she does great at her job. She's such a good friend and wife."  .

Link up with the little things we do.
I did.  :)

October 5, 2011

luck: a NYC proposal

A friend shared this beautiful video on Facebook some weeks ago and I must have spent over 20 minutes googling just to find it again.

You should watch it. Actually, you must do it right now. Seriously. :)

October 3, 2011

we, not they

This is a really short message I'd like to share with you. It's less than 2 min long and I thought it was great! Please take the time to watch it.

I encourage you to go though the whole series, but if you are short on time, you can always visit their youtube channel and watch small fragments of the messages like this one. Hope you like it!

October 2, 2011


I've been thinking forever about giving our home a fresh new look. So I decided to start with our living room walls.

 This picture was taken two and a half years ago near our lake house...

 and with a little help from IKEA... voilà.