i.e. Aranjuez, Spain

June 30, 2011 § 11 Comments

Let’s back it up a few weeks to when Abbie was here. One of our last adventures was a day trip to Aranjuez.

Pronounced: A-ran-hu-weth

Aranjuez is a small town 50 minutes south of Madrid. We used trusty technology – i.e. iPhone – to map out our route. With one small detour we arrived safely on a hot sunny Monday. i.e. Monday means most everything is closed.

But not the gardens!

We walked for hours (thank God for the shade) and stopped for a packed picnic lunch under the trees.

It was a toasty day – i.e. sweltering hot – and we concluded our jaunt with a stop by the bullfighting ring and refreshments at one of the ONLY cafes that was open.

I have yet to go to a bull fight – i.e. Probably best I don’t.

Boda = Wedding in Spanish. The Universe was telling me something…

Ahh… cafe!

For anyone who knows Spanish, or European cities in general, you can appreciate how absurd it is to have to hunt down an open cafe. No matter what day of the week it is, cafes are always open! i.e. Aranjuez plays by their own rules.

Water never tasted so good!

Patatas Bravas – i.e. potato nuggets of gold

All in all Aranjuez was beautiful and quite charming.

If you are looking for a short day trip from Madrid, or just an afternoon of walking, we would highly recommend Aranjuez.

* i.e. is an abbreviation for Latin id est, meaning “that is” or  “in other words.”

You can never say I didn’t teach you anything!

Side Note: I LOVED reading and responding to all of the comments on The Engagement Ring. I love learning about other cultures and how other relationships find middle ground and compromise. A toast to each their relationship own!


The Engagement Ring

June 29, 2011 § 45 Comments

I am aware that I have a sexy existence over here. The American falling in love with the Spaniard. But there still the hard days and the lonely times. There is still culture clash and learning to understand the other person, where they come from and the culture that surrounds you.

I often write when I don’t know what else to do. When I am filled with thoughts and emotions and there is no one to listen. After all, I do try to respect the time difference and not wake my slumbering friends on the west side of the Atlantic.

Sarah and Thomas – Charleston, SC

In light of the recent engagement I thought this little tid bit would be interesting… not all cultures believe in the elusive engagement ring.


March 1, 2011

The Spaniard nearly fell out of his chair.

Spaniard: “How much? For a ring? Wouldn’t you rather travel to Australia?”

Simple answer: “No.”

It sounds all cute and funny. But being looked at like you are clinically insane is no fun.

In the Spanish culture when a man proposes to a girl he can give her anything he wants. A bracelet, a necklace, perhaps some earrings.

Excuse me?

The proposal can be as simple as the two sitting on the couch in the home that they have shared for years when the following ensues:

Her: I think we should get married this year.

Him: Ok, I agree.

Her: What about October sometime?

Him: Sounds good.

Her: I will call the church and <insert favorite reception venue here> and see what dates they have available.

Him: Great.

Done and Done! Yes. Seriously.

I ran this little scenario by the Spaniard he said, “yeah, kind of like that.”

Here’s the thing, I am still an America. I want the ring.

To say the Spaniard fully understands this is FAR from the truth. But he does love me, and I have faith that my dreams will one day come true.

But honestly, this is not the way I saw this happening. I never saw myself needing to convince my love that a ring is necessary. That it is important. That I am not crazy, and that millions of people do this.

But I also never saw myself moving to Spain, going on the adventure of my life, riding on a daily roller coaster, and falling madly in love with absolute 100% certainty.

I just hope he settles into the idea of that engagement ring. I mean, if he one day wants to engage me.


And as it always does… with a little faith… it all works out.

Tara and Aaron – Orlando, FL

Have you ever had to adjust your expectations in a relationship because your partner just didn’t understand where you were coming from? Culture, background, desires, dreams… ?

* And special thanks to my wonderful friends who let me post their nuptial pictures! Too beautiful and joyous not to share.

Just a different size playground

June 27, 2011 § 37 Comments

If you thought July was going to be all about wedding plans you are mistaken.

July’s mission, which I have already accepted, is finding a friend.

When I first arrived in Madrid I started making connections, chatting with the girls at yoga and smiling at any friendly face that came my way. I made a few friends and eased nicely into new routines and fun park outings.

And then they all moved away.

As of July, not one of my new friends will be in the city. Some are coming back, but that still leaves a really hot, non-air-conditioned month to survive. God Help Me!

Mission: Find-A-Friend is in full force.

I followed a blog comment to a delightful girl that hails from beautiful California… and she is living in Madrid!

I Love You Cali!

My eyes lit up and I stalked her until she agreed to meet me for a smoothie on Saturday. We chatted and laughed and time flew by as if we had known each other for years.

You can imagine my dismay when I learned that her time in Madrid is nearly up. She will be soaking in the California sun within the week.

Mojitos in Malibu 2009

Gillian, it was a pleasure meeting you this weekend! Travel safe!

Have no fear, my resolve is strong. I will find a friend. And I am happy to have another friend from the land of Los Angeles. I mean, the more the merrier when dining at RFD.

If you live anywhere close… go.here.now!

Trust me!

You see, Madrid is still that 4th grade playground. It’s just a different size.

Related Post: Will you be my friend?

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