Reflections on Spain

I loved Spain. I loved the weather. I loved the food. I loved the children in the parks. I loved getting to know the people Nikola works with on a daily basis. I even liked (I wont go as far as LOVING) WordCamp.

Despite all of that love, the trip was also a struggle. Certain aspects of my relationship with Nikola and my attempts to balance a work life while being Peatuk’s primary caregiver came to a head. It was the first time I traveled while being responsible for someone other than myself, and that was more difficult than I thought it would be.

I am used to traveling on my own. Traveling with responsibility to other adults is difficult for me. I hate having to wait for other people to process their surroundings and make decisions. I dislike compromising while traveling. Traveling with a toddler is nothing but compromises, most of them mine. We spent the majority of the trip playing in playgrounds and fountains. While I loved it, I also resented not being able to take a night off to go get drunk and flirt with the city. I resented being unable to go to a flamenco show. Despite all of that, I appreciated the way that Peatuk made us sink into a more ‘local, realistic life,’ as opposed to the break-neck speed of travel that our companions seemed to be on.

The highlights of my trip included:

  • the parasol. While Nikola thought that it was a grand waste of resources, I found it to be inspiring. It reminded me of Burning Man and the freedom that I felt while walking around it threw me back to younger years. I joked with Nikola that the Eastern European in him prefers apartment blocks to large-scale art. While it may seem pointless, art serves perhaps the greatest purpose of awakening our tired souls.
  • discussing spirituality and the after life with one of our coworkers. I have let my days of greater philosophy slip away. My voice was rusty. My ideas were neither sharp nor clear and at best were resurrections of past pondering. Despite all of that, it felt incredible to test those waters again.
  • swimming at WordCamp. Peatuk was overjoyed in the pool and I rarely get physical time with my whole family.
  • eating Mexican food. Yes, all of the Spanish food was amazing, but the Mexican restaurant we found was a taste of home.
  • feeling the dry heat envelop my body. Delicious.
  • eating duck and salmon tartar in Barcelona. I would have liked more time for that meal, but I have a feeling I would highly prefer Seville to Barcelona.
  • speaking the little Spanish I know. I love being the one who can unlock features for others.
  • taking naps in our apartment. I loved the tiles in the apartment. I loved the way the floor held the cool throughout the day. I also loved our shades and the excitement as night fell and people headed back onto the streets.

The worst parts included:

  • traveling while on my period. Dealing with blood is bad enough. Dealing with the intense emotional mood swings, which are getting worse the more my daily stress is compounded, was difficult for me, my husband, and possibly those around us.
  • managing Peatuk at the conference. There were no playgrounds nearby and no ‘child safe’ space to take him. That meant constant management which gets exhausting for a free range mama.
  • having to pay for a plane ticket for Peatuk because Veuling lost that part of our reservation. Really, who would book a baby one way and how difficult is it to admit that it MIGHT be your company’s fault? At this point, I plan to not fly with Veuling or Air Iberia again.
  • leaving. Despite the hard parts, it was still vacation and it was a beautiful city that I could see myself happy in.

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