It’s been nearly a year and a half since last I wrote you from Paris, on Bastille Day 2017. How it must seem that I dropped off the face of the earth!
Apologies for the radio silence, but there are major reasons for it. My life has changed in just about every aspect since last we spoke. The transformation both in the external realities of my situation – and in the internal landscape I inhabit.
Sometimes when you’re shaking everything up, the need to narrate publicly what’s happening takes a back seat. You dive deep into the experience itself. You focus on the actions required to reshape your life from scratch.
I live in Valencia, Spain now, friends. I celebrated my one-year anniversary here at the start of this month.
From the moment I arrived, I felt so at home.
I have a large apartment with a sunny balcony in a neighborhood I love.
I walk to work where I teach English as a foreign language to wonderful adult students. Spanish surrounds me now, though I’m trying my best to keep up French. I worked so hard to learn the language! And it is thanks to becoming a French citizen that I could make such a smooth transition to another European country.
Valencians spend just as much time, if not more, enjoying life at cafes as Parisians. Bonus: warmer temps + cheaper drinks!
When last I wrote, this plan was not in place. There was an inkling, a vague pull, a little voice that started whispering “Valencia” in my ear. I had never been to the city and didn’t know a soul here. But sun, sea, Spanish – the call came louder and louder. I did not know I would actually decide all of a sudden that it was time. But I did. Like that Rilke exhortation “you must change your life.”
La Lonja de la Seda (The Silk Exchange)
An idea, a restlessness, then a command.
Dancing in the Umbracle
You may remember I left Paris a few months before the 2016 election to return to the States to do some get out the vote work and help my mother through knee surgery. Then, outraged at the political results, decided to stay and fight.
Well, when I returned to visit Paris that following summer I felt myself breathing again. The Trump regime is toxic. I honestly think the country is in collective crisis because of it. Escaping for a bit started to change my own calculus of what to do.
The back alleys of Valencia’s old town.
Then something else happened. Long-time blog readers might recall that I’ve had a finished novel sitting around for years and that finally, it was supposed to be published. I had a book deal.
In Cafe Artysana. There’s an active co-working scene in VLC.
The first small press that signed my book (for release in 2017) ended up closing right as my book was up in the queue. A huge blow.