One of the things I was looking forward to doing when my in-laws visited was taking my father-in-law to my old stomping grounds—my former high school. It was inaugurated in 1992, and it has the second-largest swimming pool in the state (!), so—I’ll admit it—I thought he might be impressed. As a former high-school teacher himself, he found everything interesting and remarkable (as in, something upon which to remark).
Afterwards I asked him if he would write up his impressions of the visit. He sent me back a very professional-looking document. If I were a teacher, I’d give him an A+, or in Spain’s system, a matrícula de honor. First I’m going to let you read what he wrote in Spanish (if you can), and then I’ll translate it at the end.
A while back, Lauren from Spanish Sabores asked what our ideal summer looked like. I think she mentioned a beach somewhere in there, but I know how I responded: with corn on the cob and margaritas on the porch, with fireflies in the fields and long walks on the trail. She told me that my summer sounded kinda American, and … the truth is, that’s what I was craving! Luckily, I’m here for a good two months, and I’m loving it!
What have I been doing?
Snacking on summer produce. My parents’ garden is plentiful, what with its cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, green beans, peas, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, regular tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli, cauliflower, and all its herbs—basil, lemon basil, mint, cilantro, oregano, and dill.
Walking “the trail.” In my town, the trail is a former railroad converted into a bike path. It’s tranquil with lots of shade, a.k.a. the perfect place to have a chat.
Margaritas on the porch. Porch drinking in the best drinking. (See also: wine on the porch, mojitos on the porch.)
Cooking. Since I have the blessed gift of air conditioning, I don’t mind turning on the stove and/or oven. I love cooking, especially in the summer, when it seems everything is in season. It’s also quite nice to take ten steps out my front door and snip some fresh basil or oregano or mint.
Farmers marketing. Farmers markets are the best! In Bloomington, my former college town, they have a really great one. There are always live bands, iced coffee, and an amazing variety of fresh produce. You can get stevia plants and sunflowers and Japanese eggplant and okra and rhubarb. And if you’re feeling hangry, try the focaccia made of spinach, feta cheese, and pine nuts. You won’t regret it.
Planning for our wedding party. Oh, you thought it was over! N-O! We’ve still got a second, US-based wedding party to plan for … it’s going to be epic. August 30, 2013! Be there or be totalllllly square.
I made it! On Thursday morning, I woke up to the news that my flight to New York (JFK) had been delayed four hours, and I would probably miss my connecting flight to Chicago. As you can imagine, I was quite—shall we say—perturbed by said news. Nonetheless, I made my way to Barajas, only to stand in the check-in line for an hour and forty-five minutes! One hour and forty-five minutes. Incredible! Somehow, we made it to JFK by 4:05, and as my connecting flight was set to leave at 5:05, I booked it as fast as I could. Thank goodness for fast-track passes that allow those with flights leaving within the hour to get through customs. I arrived at the gate at 4:55, triumphant but sweaty, and I immediately texted my parents, who were, as it were, standing by, just in case I did make it. And they met me in Chicago three hours later! A happy ending indeed.
The first things I do when I get home are …
… relish falling asleep to the sound of crickets, rather than my neighbors’ television.
… wear sweatpants to the grocery store. Because I can.
… order two or three refills at all restaurants, even if it’s just water.
… take the dog out on a long walk.
… text message everyone because now I don’t have to beg them to get Whatsapp.
… wake up at 8 a.m., even though I can sleep in, because of jet lag.
… immediately have my Spanish-speaking skills regress. It’s amazing how fast this happens!
… eat cottage cheese and Ranch dressing. But not together (ew)!
… sit out on my porch and watch an amazing sunset.
… drive my car, and realize (for the umpteenth time) that it really is akin to riding a bike. You don’t forget. I actually go into auto-drive mode incredibly quickly.
… relish the fact that I get to see people I know, but hate the fact that I see people from high school with whom I really don’t want to have an awkward encounter.