Calle San Vicente 44, then Jesus del Gran Poder, now Santa Cecilia. The latest street on our apartment-share carousel is in historic Triana, opposite La Trucha Bar Cafe with its tried and tested tapas offerings: Gambas al ajillo, Espinacas con garbanzos, Chipirones.
Dani, Sarah, Tomas and Tati are a good mix of characters from easy-does-it, to direct and self-assured. The latter is a trait I admire – inner strength delivered without the maliciousness of assertiveness in overdrive.
This flat has a television! Salem’s Lot is on, pierced by an advert for Les Miserables which has arrived in Spain. Tomas and I head for a foot expedition through Triana district. Cars on cobblestones k-thunk k-thunk; metal shutters rattle down, shielding the snoozers inside. Small balconies protrude from rendered walls, homes closer to the street than I’m used to.
The smells of wholesome meals, cooked by someone else, sway us into turning toward home, toward our own lunch of tinned-tuna-with-something. But after an hour of wandering and chattering we’re so disoriented that we’re forced to ask for directions.
“I live here,” protested Tomas to doubting pedestrians, “but I’m lost”.
Monday, first day of lectures on a new campus, and I accepted a ride. Angie maneuvered her rust bucket past the university’s main entrance, the fern-green Hyundai clunking and clattering as she heaved it into a U-turn. For the finale, she hung out of her car window: “Bye Fiooonnn, BYE, Good luuuuck!”
Throwing her a close-lipped smile I glanced around before embracing my awkwardness: “Byeee. Thanks, mum!”
The gratitude that filled me wasn’t only for the car lift. It was also for the enthusiasm she’d shown as I turned toward this field of study. Mum wasn’t around when I had my first crack at tertiary studies – I didn’t know where she lived back then and only a couple of friends from my teens and twenties ever got to meet her.
My husband’s insistence that we move back to Australia to raise our children gave me a second chance at being within Angie’s orbit. Attending lectures now has given me a second chance at something else, too – pursuing another compatible career.
Many people have insurmountable odds to overcome and a fresh path isn’t always accessible. I won’t be wasting this shot, so I’m raising this imaginary glass to “Making the most of second chances”. Oh, and a toast to mum for the much-needed lift she has given me.
One year ago today, I had recently gotten home from my Mexican hospitalization honeymoon, and started my first ‘real’ job. Full time, what I went to school for, salaried, official big girl status CAREER. There have been a whole lotta lessons along the way, and I’ve been a part of a forgiving, encouraging, supportive, and appreciative place in which to learn them. Here are some of the biggies…
1. 11:00 PM is the new 2:00 AM.
Late week nights in high school, college, and graduate school didn’t happen often for me (as a compulsive planner), but when they did, it was almost a challenge that came with a certain rush. Whenever the clock started nearing 2AM however, a certain sense of panic set in. I knew I’d be exhausted the next day, and if I had multiple 2AM nights, I would get deathly ill- without fail. Given how early I…