So what has happened between that anticlimactic trip and now? Well, some of my wilder dreams actually have come true. They are:
1) The apartment. Oh where to begin. Fourteen foot ceilings. Mosaic tiles on the floor. Two balconies.
2) The bicycle. It's perfect. It's gently used, cosmopolitan (read black). It has a basket. It has a light. It's named the Katemobile. Overnight I have been transformed into a bicycle rider. Encantada.
3) Living next to a park. Not just any park. This park, formerly the River Turia, is miles long and spanned by a range of bridges. When you're down there it feels like you're in a completely different place. A place inhabited by fitness freaks and the occasional homeless person. But still. I often take my dog down into the park to do his business... which is mostly peeing on exotic looking shrubs. It's magical. Every morning (or at least once a week) I try to jog which brings me by jumping fountains, into small pine forests and by the impressive domed buildings that were built centuries ago on the banks of the Turia.
4) The weather.
This is the rosy version, of course. Each of these miracles of my new life has a downside, too. Our otherwise perfect apartment is a mere floor or two above a "rock bar/club" that release a flood of men with waist-length hair, satanic tattoos and the voice projection talents of Pavarotti into the streets at 4 AM. I know because I'm the cranky, foreign youngster in my nightgown and glasses hanging out the balcony giving dirty looks that are often misinterpreted. The bicycle-riding I have yet to really master. I walked the entire way home from the bicycle shop on tiptoes while sitting on my bicycle. The last time I rode a bike was when I was ten. So far, so good... but I need to gain a little more finesse before I wire a fake gerbera daisy into my basket (VW Bug-style). And about the park and my jogging, or lack thereof, within. I hope to make progress, but I have a long way to go before Spanish-svelte. It probably will be just enough to balance out delicious tapas fried in olive oil and smothered with aioli. Rants will come another day, for now I love this life in Spain.