2005-02-03 - 10:39 a.m.

I thought that taking a two week trip to see Eric would seem very short, because all of my trips to see him have always exceeded three weeks and three weeks never even seemed long enough. But it would appear that two weeks was a pretty good amount of time. I did a lot. We got the house set up, everything moved in, put away (except for his CDís and his stereo equipment). I got stuff to get the cats through the first week or so until I can find a pet store to get their real food. I built a fire in our fireplace and tended to it obsessively for about ten hours until I ran out of fire wood. I got very attached to that fire and could have cried when I had to let it burn out. I read four fabulous books. Two by Paul Auster who has become my new second favorite author. (John Irving will always be number one no matter what.) And I also read Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides and it was fantastic. I was very thrilled by my book selections I brought with me. There is nothing better than losing whole days to reading. I got a tan even though the temperatures were at a twenty year low. Coming from Michigan even a high of forty can be considered ďtanning weatherĒ. I found that in Spain a lot of restaurants have provolone cheese as an appetizer and they serve it hot from the oven and it is absolutely wonderful. Now I will spend this whole day today looking for provolone cheese in a big chunk that isnít smoked so I can make this at home.

We took a walk from our village into the closest town (Sant Pere de Ribes) and along the road the litter consisted mostly of empty Coke cans and bottles and Marlboro boxes. I found that really interesting, that no matter where you are litter on the sides of the street is mostly Coke and Marlboro.

There is an old man in our village that used to take care of our house and he comes over and talks to us and we have no idea what he is saying and he just doesnít care, he just keeps talking.

There are lizards in our house. This will take some getting used to. They look like toys.

We have a huge palm tree in our yard. Also, a lemon tree with real lemons growing on it. I made lemon poppy seed cookies and muffins from our lemons. I am very excited about the lemon tree.

When I would go to Sitges to walk along the sea I realized that I was keeping my head down and that every time a man would walk by my heart would start pounding because I am used to walking in France where if you accidentally met a mans eye they would think you were hitting on them and would start talking to you. I am sure this is also the case in Spain, but in Sitges I realized that I donít have to worry about it because it is basically the gay capital of Europe. And that is very cool. Not one man spoke to me. It will be very nice to not have to worry about that.

I realized how much I am going to miss France. I like Spain, but it doesnít feel the same as France. I like everything about France. I will really miss going to dinner in France. No one will ever be able to serve a dinner the way the French can. And I miss my blue time in France. Every night as the sun is going down the sky turns this incredible shade of blue. No matter the season or weather, it is blue, very very blue. In Spain it turns pink. Also, Spain, where we are living at least, is very dry. I am totally not used to dry. The skin under my eyes peeled away because it is so dry there.

I am very excited to move now. Our house really feels like home now. My own house, here, no longer feels like my home. I even got to the point during my trip where I expected my cats to be there. I turned on my bath and waited for Smitten to come running (because that is what he does, he runs to the bathtub when I take a bath because he likes to me soak him) and it took me a good minute before I realized that I wasnít ďhomeĒ and Smitten wasnít there.

I spent the majority of my fourteen days there literally locked into our house. It is surrounded by stone walls and to get out you have to lock the gate door and every day when Eric left I was locked in. And I never once felt weird or freaked out by that. I love my house and the fact that I can be locked into it.

I am extremely excited about having a clothes line. I donít know why I have always wanted a clothes line. For some reason I think clothes on clothes lines are very romantic looking. Very pretty.

I am also very excited that olive oil is so abundant and so cheap there. I bought a really good bottle for 5 euros. Thatís how much I spend on a cheap bottle here.

Wine, also, is very good and cheap there. We bought several bottles of 4-5 euro wine that were very good. I also brought home a bottle of wine that we bought for 60 euro cents. I havenít opened it yet, but I suspect that it isnít going to be bad.

I only washed my hair four times the whole time I was there. That makes me happy. I hate that here I have to wash my hair every day. I have been trying, for the last couple months, to only wash it every other day. But then I have to deal with a day of Colonial Kitchen stink hair. It was nice to not wash my hair and not stink. And it is amazing to me that hair gets used to not being washed and wonít get all nasty.

There is a restaurant a couple doors down from our house. This restaurant will be very dangerous. After our meal the man brought out a bottle of black absinthe. It was like 160 proof and one little shot divided between three of us was dangerously potent. Also, a restaurant in Sitges where we went a lot started giving us a shot of apple liquor after dinner. I am glad that I left when I did because I donít want them to get into a habit of giving us big shots of liquor after dinner. I am NOT a liquor drinker and have no desire to become one.

I am very excited, (and this is so weird for me to say), to have guests in our new house. I canít wait to have people eating at our big table or sitting outside and swimming in the pool. I canít wait to make lots of food for people. I hope that people come to visit me. I really hope, especially, that my brother comes to see me. He will love it there.

I saw the Northern lights from the plane on my way there. It was absolutely incredible and I was totally entranced by them. It was something I will never forget. I think the whole plane was asleep and I was watching out the window and I thought that we were being attacked by aliens, I got pretty scared so I woke Eric up and he told me that he thought it was Northern Lights and then they got really intense for a long time. It was like dolphins following a boat. They made me feel very comfortable. It was beautiful and unreal and humbling.

What else?

For two weeks I was without a phone or internet and I survived. And that is cool. I did realize that I missed internet mostly because I like to look things up. I think for the most part the internet has made me more informed. And that is good. I look things up that I would never look up if I had to go to a library or something to look it up.

I was extremely annoyed by radiators in our house. I will never have radiator heat again. Number one, having radiators on walls is stupid and limiting. You only have certain places for furniture. And number twoÖthe mother fuckers are loud and annoying. We had to turn the heat off at night because I couldnít sleep with all the radiator racket going on. My house has a loud furnace, but it is nothing like the sound radiators make.

I think Northwest airlines has the rudest flight attendants ever. I think it must be a prerequisite. However, I love the Airbus A-330. And I like flying one airline because I have accumulated enough miles for a free ticket now, or at least I am super close. But their flight attendants are awful rude. KLM has the nicest flight attendants. At least this is my experience.

Flying internationally is funny. Whenever we are on a KLM flight the attendants speak to Eric in DutchÖthey spoke in Spanish to me. We are both of Italian decent. But he must look Dutch and I must look Spanish. Yesterday, even though I never flew through France, one of the flight attendants spoke to me in French and even after I answered her in English she still spoke in French. I am often told that I look very French. This is very strange because I have absolutely no French in my lineage.

My cats are very happy to see me and I have a pile of them on my lap right now. It is very good to be with my cats. I am VERY excited to finally have my cats and my boy in one spot for good.

I have to go to the gym now. Even though my friend Kathy said I looked really skinny yesterday when she picked me up, I feel totally out of shape and flabby because I havenít done any exercise in two weeks. Just walks (though my walks are not for exercise they are for my mind) and moving furniture.

Itís good to be back...but I can't wait to go.


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