11 April 2008


I have to write about Madrid last weekend, and let me warn you, it's going to sound like bragging. Because it involves fantastic weather and amazing food and the Mister solemnly promising--under flashing lights and video--to do his new, prestigious job to the best of his ability. His mother got teary-eyed, I fumbled the voice recorder, but kept snapping pictures (it went so fast!), and my dad got lots of good shots of Spanish men in suits doing a lot of shaking of hands until they were all whisked away to sign papers. Oh, and to cap it all off, that evening we toasted champagne glasses in the breathtaking rotunda bar of the Palace Hotel with a well-known NPR correspondent.

In less than three days we managed to visit the Prado, the Reina Sofia (I was happy to have the chance to revisit Picasso's Guernica), and the new Caixa Forum, which features a garden wall--no, I mean a wall of garden, as in, the garden is integrated into a three-story building's facade. Let's see, there were lots of tapas, especially Galician pulpo and empanadas, an attempt to learn a bit of the local lingo both on advanced levels and beginner (um, my dad), and the consensus among our little group that while Barcelona is the superior city, you can't beat MadrileƱos for friendliness.

Once back in Brussels, our life is already changing. We'll (he'll) be traveling even more than we were, which I imagine could get tiresome but for the moment seems great. We'll have to see how things go between here and Barcelona and whether we'll tend to favor one over the other as "home base."

Another bit of exciting news came in the form of a package that held the page proofs for my book translation. I was most tickled when I saw my translator's introduction all book-like there in the front, being the only thing that I actually wrote, instead of translated, besides a few scattered notes. Still, it's quite something to feel the project coming together so tangibly, a stack of paper that is starting to look like a book!

Tomorrow I am going to revisit the town of Spa, Belgium, with a gaggle of other girls for a bachelorette weekend. (Yes, the same place the Mister and I visited with a wedding gift voucher.) I have never been to a bachelorette party (that I can remember...), much less a whole weekend, so I'm both ridiculously excited about it and a little nervous. My wedding-party attendance has pretty much been limited to prim wedding showers that usually involve tea and lots of pastel. Events this weekend will range from pampering (afternoon at the spa and spending the night at a nice hotel) to gambling (at the town's Casino). The fact that I've never gambled at a casino in my life and I wouldn't know the first thing about how to play the games--not to mention my risk-adverse and penny-pinching nature--will probably limit any craziness that might occur.

Now that I think about it, it works out nicely that the first of many weekends the Mister has to be away for work, I'll be off with the girls for some Spa fun.

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