It is now June and I can hardly believe we have been living abroad already for almost 10 months. The time has flown. George has been in London all week for a workshop on the Enneagram and I have had my first whole week of single parenting in a foreign country and we have actually fared pretty well. Hadley spent time with a couple girlfriends early in the week and both boys invited a friend to hang out this weekend, so we are making progress socially! Summer plans are in the works and I am starting to think about what next year entails (way to stay present, Meliss).
One recent discovery we made is the existence of cave homes (los cuevas), particularly those in southern Spain. These are basically man-made homes carved out of hard clay and earth, into the hills or cliff sides, in a region with unique geological history. Although the first caves to be found are thought to be as old as 400,000 years, the Moors (Arabs) were the first humans to build these cave homes in the 7th or 8th centuries and they are especially common in the Andalusian region (southern Spain) because of the relief they provide from the extreme outdoor temperatures. In modern times, these homes are often occupied by poor communities, however, many have also been turned into rentals. In fact, we found one on Airbnb in the town of Freila, just north of Granada, and recently stayed in it for the weekend with our British friends.
As we drove north to Freila, leaving the coast behind us, the landscape became mountainous and canyon-like. The road started to remind me of Snoqualmie Pass in the winter with its’ enormous snow drifts on either side of the road, only a summer, red rock version. Because we visited the cave home in the off-season, there were limited activities but the landscape surrounding us and the colors of the earth and nearby reservoir were captivating the whole time. In addition, our friends taught us some new skills. The kids learned how to flip crepes and we learned a new game called Mofia, similar to Murder in the Dark but without the physicality. I imagined painting all our surrounding vistas (while having mistakenly left my painting supplies at home) and the kids ventured into the nearby turquoise reservoir for a swim. I am determined to return for a mountain biking adventure.
George experienced some culture shock as he stepped into life in London for 7 days. His first text conveyed that he felt “overwhelmed” by the pace, amount of people, and intensity of the sophisticated urban environment and by the fact that he could not only hear but understand surrounding conversations everywhere. However, his workshop was well worth the trip and his professional goals were re-inspired. In addition, his British, college friend, Mark, showed him a good time cheering on Chelsea and Liverpool for the futból finals and visiting the local sites. In the end he seemed to have felt at home in London, reconnecting with his English roots.