Saturday, June 11, 2005

It´s Been a While...

but we´ve been away from our home away from home.

Steve joined us here in Madrid last Monday morning. We took our friend Kim to the airport after her long weekend visit here (thanks for being such an excellent houseguest and buddy, Kim! I miss you a lot.) and met Steve at the same time. It was great to see him and catch up after three weeks of single motherhood and adventures with the children.

On Wednesday we took a flight to Menorca, a small Spanish island off the coast of Spain in the blue Meditteranean. Fantastic. Bloody fantastic. I use the strong adjective "bloody" because we had to learn a few Englishisms on our journey. We were the only Americans we came across on the entire island. We were the only non-Brits in our hotel (The Lord Collingwood House)and ours were the only children in the hotel. There were guests there who have vacationed there (taken their holidays, to be more precise) for as many as 40 consecutive years. One couple, Peter and Pat, took us under their wings and proceeded to recommend restaurants, beaches, shops, and even which Renault car would run best for us. She is suffering from cancer (I must remember to pray for her) and he is as chipper and polite and attentive and loving as ever even after 46 years of marriage. They have gone there 12 years running, and another couple there was up to 24 years. While I liked it very much, I cannot imagine returning so many times. No one there could believe we were staying for only four days.

Apparently the "eat and run" method of vacationing is quite typically American. The man who runs the place said that at the end of the summer they get 8 to 10 bookings of Americans, and none stay long. Oh, well. There´s so much to see and so little time to see it all. In any case, we enjoyed our short stay quite a lot. No complaints from anyone in our group - well, except for the children who said that they hadn´t had enough ice cream.

And now the day of our departure is fast approaching: four days to go, then it´s time for us to go. I cannot believe that we have been here over four weeks. It has been a fantastic trip, far exceeding my expectations in so many ways, in practically every way. So many stories to tell. So much to write about. My heart overflows with gratitude and joy and wonder at all that we have seen, tasted, heard, experienced, and all the kindnesses that have been shown to us by so many people here and at home. Thanks to all of you who have written and called and prayed and even visited !!! We will be eternally grateful to all of you.

I am not sure if I´ll be online again before we leave next Tuesday, but I will try to get back here to my favorite MadrileƱo internet cafe once more - for old time´s sake, to bid farewell to the ladies who run the place. Next week will be crazy because I turn around and fly up to PA to do a women´s retreat with my mother over the weekend. And since Steve says that our internet service is down at the house, I will have to try to get that taken care of as soon as we land. To make this long story short, it may be a while before I´m back up and blogging. Please continue to bear with me. In the words our California´s unexpected governor, "I´ll be back." But I won´t have guns or grenades as he always seems to have on hand...

As I approach the end of a most remarkable journey - and the beginning of another (isn´t all of life a journey?) - this traveling correspondent is submitting her final column. Reporting live from Rodilla - Fuencarral, this is Gail Nadine Henderson-Belsito signing out. Farewell from Madrid.

Back to you in the studio...

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