Somehow, precisely as the world gets physically bigger—as you see new things and discover new places—the world also shrinks down into a microcosm of itself. The simplest things become your entire focus. The preoccupation with getting (or fixing!) a cup of coffee can become an entire obsession.
When we arrived in the Albayzin in Granada, we went almost immediately on the search for a grocery store (see the note above about the perpetual hunt for food—I must’ve been a major part of a hunter/gather society in a previous life). The first couple of times we went, we found everywhere to be closed. In fact, our first day here, a Sunday, we walked for hours only to discover that everything under the sun was closed for a day of rest. After spending years in South Carolina, I thought I knew a thing or two about the way places worked on Sundays, but that was nothing compared to here.
The next day, the hunt began again. This time, we discovered the quirky, unpredictable hours of the stores in the Albayzin (the oldest part of town, where TINY streets and grandiose walls reign). When we finally (post-siesta, at almost six in the evening) came across a store that was open, we discovered that you had to stand at the counter and actually ORDER what you wanted from the grocer. It was a truly bizarre experience that reminded me of novels I’ve read written in the 1800s. Still, despite the strangeness, we at least walked away with food that we could cook. We made our first meal at home that night. Success.
And so, the simplest daily chores become our total focus.
Simultaneously, the most breathtaking sights (the Alahambra is quite magnificent, and the Albayzin where we live is a UNESCO world heritage site) fill our days and expand our lives. It’s such an interesting, thrilling experience, made all the richer this time by getting to share our experiences with our precious daughter (who just turned one year old—how did that happen?!?). Though my heart is full, and I look forward to the joy of returning home (another great benefit of travel), I know it will be no time at all before I have the itch again to venture off in search of my next paradoxical adventure.