A few pictures from Lille, France

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Here are a few pictures from Lille, France. I had them on my phone and I meant to post them on my blog, so that I do not forget the places and what I felt then. The first one are the two expressos in the morning. One after the other. And the city waking up.

There is Lille in the morning when I went jogging from 6 to 7am. The streets and plazas were empty. The cafes and boulangeries were closed at 6, and were putting their croissants and breads in the windows at 7. And staring at me when I made the pictures. In the mornings the streets were wet from night showers and the dumpsters smelled badly. But the streets were empty, so you could chose on what side to run.

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There is this smell from the childhood. The smell comes from the trees in the park. The little yellow flowers produce the smell. And I remember our summers at my grandma’s place in Lipetzk (Russia). And those trees are called Lipas. And the smell is very sweet and it makes me smile and want to fall asleep.

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And then there is a slightly everyday Lille. With people. Shoppers. Tourists. The buzz of the downtown.

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And the Lille at night, when the cafes are closing.

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The blue doors and shutters. I always had this thing with doors. I love doors. They tell a story. But they do not tell the full story. They leave the most important behind.

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And there is Lille that made me think of my two kids. The sweet Lille. My kids would have loved that.

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Lille from inside of the cafe when it is raining outside. In the morning.

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And the sky.

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Lille, July 2016

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Ten pictures of touristy Barcelona

Two weekends in a row I was in the downtown Barcelona. Here are ten pictures of the most touristy part of the city.

Plaza Catalunya with its balloons, pigeons, and street artists and entertainers.
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La Rambla: The most touristy street in Barcelona.
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One of the old pastisseries on La Rambla
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La Rambla where it gets closer to the Columbus statue.
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The Columbus statue. It is said that Columbus points his finger in the direction of the Americas. I think every tourist that comes to this city has a picture next to it.
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The City Hall on Plaza de Sant Jaume.
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A church and a fountain on a secluded plaza in the Gothic Quarter.DSC_1261

A restaurant and a shoe museum on the same plaza in the Gothic Quarter.DSC_1258

Carrer de Ferran that connects La Rambla and Plaza de Sant Jaume (where the City Hall is).DSC_1242

And here are the bracelets that are sold everywhere in Barcelona. DSC_1277

The world in reverse (or talking to my son)

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El mundo al reves es:
La piscina al reves,
Los arboles al reves,
El mar al reves,
La casa al reves.

(The world in reverse is:
The swimming pool in reverse,
The trees in reverse,
The sea in reverse,
The house in reverse.)

My four-year-old son made this little verse while we were riding a bus to the downtown. We strolled through the touristy streets of Barcelona and ended up at the Liceu. We were sitting in the first row, on the floor, listening to the opera arias performed in the Liceu hall. My son with his eyes fixed on the singer and the pianist. His little body, so stout and strong, felt intense. After couple of arias I asked him, “Do you want to go or to listen more?”.

“I want to listen more,” he replied without looking at me. We sat and listened. I love live music and ballet very much. However, I am not that interested in listening to the same music on CDs or watching the same ballet on my ipad. We rarely have any music playing at home. Like my son, I am absorbed by the beauty and intensity of the sound when it is produced in front of me.

“Shall we go?”
“No. I want to listen more.”

I am actually glad that he wants to listen more. I want it too. It is not comfortable sitting on the floor, but we do not notice it. The deepness of the voice and the music occupies all the space in the hall. The beauty is born at the intersection of the passion with which he listens to the music and the uniqueness of the voice that produces it.

“Shall we go now?”
“Let’s listen more.”

Today we listened to the music and we understood it. It made us experience the sound in a way that left a long lasting impression on how we will live today, tomorrow, and the rest of the days. I know this because we were silent and did not talk. Because we do not like to listen to the same music on the radio. Because we both in order to experience something need to pay full attention to it and understand it.

“Let’s go,” my son stood up and we went towards the exit. He gave me his little hand and I held it tight. On the street he said, “Let’s go get some ice-cream.” And I agreed. Then he added, “Do you remember, mom, this is our world in reverse?”. And he laughed at what we said because he found it very funny.

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Branding Video in Mallorca

I want to share something really cool that we have just did. It is a lifestyle video, part of a branding campaign for MyrdaJ summer 2014 collection. I am passionate about it because it has a lot of “firsts” in it.

It was the first time I produced a lifestyle video. I asked my best friend and a very talented photographer Noelia to shot the video for me. It was the first video she ever did. As MyrdaJ is a very new fashion line, we did not have the budget to hire a professional model. Thus Noelia asked her friend to be the model for the video. And this was the first time Emma has ever modeled. And I think she is awesome in the video!

From my experience in working with fashion designers and fashion brands, this was the first time that I have been given the carte blanche. Myrda is amazing to work with.

These three women: Myrda, Noelia, and Emma inspire me to go ahead. This is why I am so passionate about what I do every day, and about this video that we have just released.

This is a great start!

 

Walking in Barcelona (4.2km)

Walking with the kids through the city is an adventure in itself. You get to discover buildings, shops, cafes, and plazas. You get to fall in love with the city over and over again. I like Barcelona for its streets, for its trees, for its cafes, and for its people. My mom used to tell all her friends that she loves Barcelona for its balconies. And she was right, those balconies make the streets look delicate.

One of our favorite routes with the children is from our house on Muntaner Street to Placa Catalunya. The route is 4.2 km long and it is mainly downhill (walking towards the sea). We do this route almost weekly with slight variations of the streets we walk on and cafes we stop at. Thanks to these walks the children have a very special relationship with the city, they know it like the palms of their little hands.

“Mi vida dulce,” said my six-year-old at the cafe today while tasting her ice-cream. And then she asked, “Can we walk like this EVERY day?”

Here are two screen prints of the route.
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Getting out of our house around 10am we go all the way down the Muntaner Street.DSC_0667

The kids stop at every stop light and wait for me. They are used to biking in the city. Here is a small park that is empty right now. In fall and winter a man was selling roasted chestnuts in this park. The kids and me used to buy those at 3 Euros a dozen. DSC_0672

La Criolla cafe is still closed. When it is open sometimes we have coffee and croissants there. It has a nice patio inside. Lemon trees with big lemons grow in that patio.DSC_0688

And here is a house in front of La Criolla.DSC_0694

There is a small fruit and vegetable store that is open on Sundays. The kids take a bag and pick some apricots and loquats (nisperos). We get the fruits and they eat one of each right there while riding down the Muntaner Street. Those fruits feel like war trophies for them and they laugh with their mouths full.DSC_0699DSC_0700DSC_0712

We get to the Crusto cafe at the cross of Muntaner and Via Augusta. It has three tables outside and fake olive trees on one side of the tables. The coffee and bread are very good there. Kids share a croissant.DSC_0727DSC_0728DSC_0734

We notice a tree with little while flowers while waiting on a stop light.DSC_0744

Here is a large house that has all kind of mystery stories around it. The house used to belong to a very rich textile dealer. The man also collected original paintings. In his will he donated his entire art collection to a state museum. However, his daughters decided that this was not fair and sneaked into the house this past winter and “stole” all the paintings. As newspapers said it was due to the high monetary value of the collection. DSC_0749

We get to Av. Diagonal and turn left here. Diagonal is great for cycling as it has a special bike path.DSC_0753DSC_0759DSC_0757

Here is one of the stores that I like. On Sunday everything is closed here.DSC_0774

The kids ride fast on Diagonal and in couple of minutes we reach Rambla de Catalunya. Here we turn right and go down again.DSC_0780DSC_0783DSC_0788

We pass by Farga cafe. The Farga delivery truck is parked on the street. DSC_0792

There is a new Pronovias store opening on the corner of La Rambla de Catalunya. Thirteen years ago I got my wedding dress at one of their stores. When I was twenty-one I remember passing a Pronovias store on Passeig de Gracia and falling in love with one of the dresses I saw in the window. I remember the dress perfectly well even now. Two years later I got married. It took ten months to get my dress done with them. My two roommates used to come with me to the monthly fittings. One of my roommates was Japanese. When I asked her how I looked she said, “Like a tomato”. This was the last thing I expected to hear then. She told me I blushed non-stop while trying the dress. And we all laughed a lot.

Many years have passed. My marriage did not proof to be as strong as it should have been. Still I got two children and I appreciate what I have learnt about myself and others. The friendship with my roommates survived the distance and improved with years. And I realized that I like the fact that Pronovias keeps opening its stores in the city.DSC_0795DSC_0799DSC_0808

Here is the church that I like, because couple of times I went there with my family on the Christmas day. DSC_0811

And here is a small side street in front of the church. There is a beautiful restaurant on this street. And I have never been there. One day!DSC_0812

We get to Mauri cafe. This is one of the oldest cafes in Barcelona. According to the kids it has the best ice-cream in the city.DSC_0813DSC_0816DSC_0832DSC_0829DSC_0848

And here is La Bodegueta, a small and cozy wine celler. It is closed at this hour of the day. Can’t remember how many times we had a glass of wine and olives here after midnight.DSC_0857DSC_0860 DSC_0868

And here are some more of those balconies that my mom likes so much.DSC_0872DSC_0873

We cross Arago Street. The terra-cotta building with wires on top is Tapies museum. I visited it once with my class when I was in the high-school. I remember it was very weird, I could not believe that people seriously thought that this was art.DSC_0880DSC_0882

It becomes more and more touristy as we get closer to Placa Catalunya. Now we pass by hotels, cafes full of tourists, and typical “touristy” food offering.DSC_0884DSC_0885DSC_0886

We have been walking for 2 hours when we reach Gran Via with Placa Catalunya in the background.DSC_0894DSC_0900

Rambla de Catalunya ends here and our last bit towards Placa Catalunya is in between of tourist restaurants and shops.DSC_0902

Here is Placa Catalunya with tourists crossing it in all directions.DSC_0904DSC_0914DSC_0916

Two girls in blue dresses look back at us. They are nice. We stop at the elevator and take it down to the train station. It is 12:05pm and the walking is over. We take train to go back home.DSC_0928

When we get underground we hear a violin playing a familiar tango. The kids stop and listen. They both want to play violin. They listen and listen till the tango ends. I give them couple of euros and they put them into the violin case. Then they listen some more. DSC_0933

Sunday Morning Routine (from 9 to 12)

DSC_9633Our routine changes depending on the place we live in. As we have been moving a lot, our routine consequently changed every year. I remember I read a blog entry by my brother’s friend. She wrote about her routine as a tourist in a new place. The post was a great read. And it made me think that unless I write it down while I am living it, in couple of years from now I will not remember what our routine in Barcelona used to be.

Sunday morning in Barcelona:

9am – The kids wake up and play some noisy game. Today they are playing with their dolls and teddy bears. All the toys fight between them and make a lot of noise. My four-year-old says he is going to put the teddy bears into a prison for making all that noise. Then my six-year-old tries to figure out where he heard the word “prison”. “You have not heard it from me. How do you know it then?” she asks.

9:15am – I get dressed and start making our breakfast while the kids are trying to kill their pajamas, fighting them with their wooden swords. Then we have our breakfast, Russian “oladushki” (pancakes) and some bread with olive oil and tomato (my Catalan upbringing). And coffee.

9:45am – While I hang the freshly washed clothes on the back balcony the kids are getting ready for the bike ride. Every Saturday and Sunday I take them for an hour bike ride in the neighborhood. This is the part of our day I really enjoy.

10am – We are out of the door of our apartment building on the cross of Muntaner Street.
DSC_0375We reach Plaza Bonanova and turn onto Passeig Bonanova. I love this street to go cycling with the kids. On Sunday mornings it is peaceful and quiet. We pass in front of La Salle school where one of my son’s friends go. The school gate is closed.DSC_0382We get to a small ramp that my son uses to zip down to the sidewalk. He does it every day with his scooter when I pick him up from his school. His school is just around the corner.DSC_0386We reach the newspaper stand called Zurich. The kids get down from their bikes and cling to the ball machine. Each ball costs 1 Euro and this time I tell them “no”. Sometimes though they do get a ball each. They call them magic balls.DSC_039510:20am – We continue our way to Plaza Sarria. We are more than half way there now. DSC_0397There is a gate in the white wall. My kids always stop there. The train (FFCC) line gets out of the tunnel there and if you stay long enough you get to see a train passing by. Today when the kids stopped at the gate, a nun that was next to them stopped too. She asked them if they were waiting for a train to pass by. My kids nodded. The nun smiled and waited a little bit with us.DSC_963710:30am – We stop at the cafe 5 Pino. It is nice and shady there. There is a small kiddy park where the kids play. There are eight pine trees next to the cafe. I think those are the only pine trees in this area.DSC_9667Sometimes we get a kids’ magazine to read together, and some coffee and croissants.DSC_967611am – We head to Plaza Sarria, which is just five minutes away. Actually the Sarria church is visible from the cafe. Today at 11:15am we heard the church bells ring for over three minutes. They were announcing the Sunday mass. We stop at the red light in front of Room Service cafe. This cafe has the weirdest opening hours ever. You never know if it is opened or closed. DSC_9641This is Plaza Sarria. Kids bike around it while we watch how the nearby restaurant, Santana, starts setting its tables outside.DSC_9652DSC_965811:45 – We head back to Passeig Bonanova and towards Plaza Bonanova. The Sarria Church is in the background. DSC_0400We pass by an organic grocery store. Surprisingly it is opened on Sunday. It always has some wonderful basket with seasonal vegetables next to its door.DSC_0406 We bike by the shade of the fence of the Mexican consulate. DSC_0414It is almost noon when we turn right on Mandri Street and go one block down. We pass Doctor Coffee (closed), Cafe Mandri (closed), and another bar that is open, but I do not remember its name. It has a large TV outside and people come there to watch football games each night.DSC_041612 (noon) – We reach Plaza Bonanova and go to Fornet to get some fresh bread. We can hear the bells of the Bonanova church while we wait in line to buy the bread.DSC_0422DSC_043312:05pm – We get the fresh bread and go home. Here it is looking back at the church from the corner of our apartment building. End of our morning trip 🙂DSC_0441

Roman Gardening (something we have not done before)

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At the end of April we did something new and fun: we signed up for a Roman Gardening excursion. It took place in a Roman vila, La Vil.la Romana del Munts, not far away from Tarragona (Spain). The two hour activity is geared towards the kids and grown-ups. We went with our children ages 6 and 4. The six-year-old participated fully in all the activities. The four-year-old enjoyed the activities such as gardening and skin-lotion making with a Roman recipe. The rest of the time he tried to reconstruct the vila and climb the roman walls. And, no, he did not do much damage to the original Roman construction and I was grateful for the patience the guide had with us. He did not even notice how our son built a small fort in the middle of the hortus, how he hung on the olive tree, and how he tried to hit the 2000 y. o. aqueduct with 2000 y.o. stones (we stopped him on time). Spanish people have an amazing way with children.

I am going to post some images and notes about the excursion and the activities.

Here we are at the beginning of the activity talking about the structure of the Roman vila and where the baths and the housing were located. In its time this vila was very rich, it belonged to the high official of Tarraco (Tarragona). It even had a private aqueduct for watering the fields and the gardens.
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Termes. The “baths” of the vila. The baths consisted of dressing area, hot therms, and then cold therms. There was a marble incrustation along all the therms, a sign of richness.DSC_9408
The plants that Romans planted in this region and how do we know about it. DSC_9411
The guest-rooms in the vila. Each guest-room consisted of two spaces, entrance room and bedroom. You can see floor mosaics and some frescos on the wall. DSC_9412
The part of the guest-space in the vila.DSC_9416
Kids following the gardening trolley back to the garden area.DSC_9440
Walking inside of the Roman baths.DSC_9445
The Roman garden (hortus) viewed from the therms.DSC_9442
Hortus was a flower and spice garden that Romans planted close to the therms. They used it for relaxation and pleasure. DSC_9453
The leaves of acant. Many columns’ capitals were decorated with this plant. Below I posted an image of a column with the capital decorated with the acant leaves.DSC_9456
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Working with lavender in the Roman garden.DSC_9473
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Tables set with ingredients for making skin lotion following a Roman recipe. DSC_9454
The skin lotion was made of lavender, honey, olive oil, and clay powder. I tried the lotion on my face and hands. It is really sticky. Romans probably washed themselves throughly after using those lotions :).DSC_9507
Kids enjoyed forming groups and making the skin lotion. DSC_9503
My son having a blast with powdered clay.DSC_9518
The Roman vila is located in a small Mediterranean town called Altafulla. The beach was beautiful and peaceful that morning.DSC_9329
At 10am everybody was still asleep in this small town. Coffee at the empty cafe on the beach.DSC_9373I was surprised at the amount of nowadays plants that Romans used to plant. At the end of the activity each of us was given a booklet with the names of all the plants that Romans planted in this region.

Here are some of the plants from this list:

Dates
Lemons
Pomegranates
Peaches
Apricots
Plums
Apples
Pears
Olives
Walnuts
Loquats (Nisperos)
Almonds
Cherries
Figs
Garlic
Lavender
Parsley
Valeriana
Rosemary
Ment
Chamomile

Easter in Barcelona

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In Spain on Easter kids receive La Mona de Pascua, it is a chocolate figure decorated with feathers and chicks. Those chocolate works of art range from simple chocolate eggs to elaborated chocolate scenes from Disney movies and Barca football players. The price of such chocolate gift also varies a lot, from 10 Euros for a simple egg up to 100 Euros for a nice house with couple of chocolate figures around it.

Apart from La Mona de Pascua the Easter sweet bread and Bunyelos de viento (air bunyelos) are sold. The Easter bread reminds me of Russian sweet bread (сдобные булочки) and there is a boiled egg placed in the center of it. Sometimes the eggs are decorated with a sticker. And yes, lots of colored feathers and Easter chicks accompany the bread.

Today all the children in Spain commenced their Easter vacations, the vacations always start the week before Easter. We strolled with our children through the city and looked at the Easter decorations of the cafes and at Monas de Pascua. We got an Easter bread at Crusto and it was really good. Here are some images of Barcelona’s cafes decorated for Easter.

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Crusto, Carrer Muntaner 363, Barcelona
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Easter Bread at Crusto, Carrer Muntaner 363, Barcelona
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Easter bread with two chocolate eggs (instead of boiled eggs) at Crusto, Carrer Muntaner 363, Barcelona
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Easter chocolate eggs at La Criolla, Carrer Muntaner 423, Barcelona
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La Criolla, Carrer Muntaner 423, Barcelona
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Chocolate figures at La Criolla, Carrer Muntaner 423, Barcelona
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Monas de Pascua in a pastisseria at the cross of Carrer Muntaner and Ronda General Mitre, Barcelona
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Monas de Pascua in a pastisseria at the cross of Carrer Muntaner and Ronda General Mitre, Barcelona
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Monas de Pascua in BoPan, Carrer Muntaner 536, Barcelona
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BoPan, Carrer Muntaner 536, Barcelona
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Monas de Pascua at Canal, Carrer Muntaner 566, Barcelona
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Monas de Pascua at Canal, Carrer Muntaner 566, Barcelona
DSC_8599Monas de Pascua at pastisseria Serra 9, Plaza Joaquim Folguera, Barcelona

Barcelona My Love

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It was a perfect day today.

While unhappiness is complicated, happiness is very simple. It is visual, it is physical, and it consists of small acts that make us happy. I am talking about things like walking down the street, having a coffee with a friend, working on an interesting project, looking at the flowers in the flower-shop window, and talking to new people.

The day started simple, I walked down the Muntaner street all the way to Diagonal. It was sunny. I got a coffee at Le Crusto and walked with the coffee. Walking in Barcelona is a blast. It is one of my favorite cities to live in.

The streets look beautiful. I love the trees in bloom and the flower shops. And I like people who like flowers and flower shops.

I turned down on Passeig de Gracia and walked two blocks against the light. I stopped at a small store to get the rubber bands that my daughter is crazy about. It seems to be a fad in her school and in the whole city. All the moms, teachers, grandmas, dads, brothers wear those handmade colorful rubber bracelets.

I turned at the corner of La Pedrera and reached Pau Claris street. There was the cafe, Jaime Beriestain, where we held our focus group. The place was full of green sofas and flowers. The meeting was a good one, I learnt a lot, specially, I got a lot of insight on how to run a better focus group next time. When the coffee is good and you get to learn things that interest you, you are happy. At least I was.

Once done with the meeting I headed to Valencia street, where my favorite bookstore is located. Jaimes, the French bookstore. And I stood there and read the titles in the children section and held the colorful books in my hands. I got some books for my kids. The Barbapapa for my daughter and Boucle d’Or et  les Trois Ours (The Three Bears) for my son. He studied this tale in detail during the first term in his school. This book will be full of great memories for him.

Things are not always smooth in life. In the past years I realized how difficult the things can be. I went (still going through) the separation process with my husband. It is not a fun thing, and those who have lived it, know it. However, through all the pain we were able to stay friends and make it the best for the kids and us. Every day I realize how grateful I am for having him as a friend and as a father of my children. I also appreciate the patience and ability we both put in to make our relationship during and after the separation better and not worse.

From where I am right now, I see that pain and unhappiness are small tunnels in our souls, that we dig ourselves. We are alone in those tunnels, we are the only ones digging them. And happiness is like sunlight. It is very simple, very generous and we want to share it with others. Happiness is walking down the street and stopping to look at the flower-shop window, and some times making a self portrait to make it more fun. Happiness is to just live and to enjoy small things. Like the fact that in ten minutes I will see my kids; and that my son got a haircut yesterday and I will probably almost not recognize him.

DSC_7834Walking down Muntaner Street.

DSC_7842On the corner of Muntaner Street and Diagonal Avenue

DSC_7844Walking along Diagonal Avenue

DSC_7846Diagonal Avenue

DSC_7851Rambla de Catalunya where it touches Diagonal Avenue

DSC_7852Diagonal Avenue close to Passeig de Gracia

DSC_7854Bus stop on Diagonal Avenue

DSC_7860Flower shop on Pau Claris Street

DSC_7888Cafe Jaime Beriestain on Pau Claris Street

DSC_7867Entrance to Cafe Jaime Beriestain

DSC_7868Inside cafe Jaime Beriestain

DSC_7875Our focus group meeting at Jaime Beriestain

DSC_7882Coffee and sandwich at cafe Jaime Beriestain

DSC_7892On Valencia Street

DSC_7895Walking along Valencia Street

DSC_7899A flower shop on the corner of Valencia Street

DSC_7900Flower shop on the corner of Valencia Street

DSC_7906Jaimes French bookstore on Valencia Street

French books March

DSC_7924Small rubber bands that my daughter uses to make bracelets

DSC_7907Flower shop on Valencia Street (right next to the French bookstore)

DSC_7909Cafe on Valencia Street

DSC_7910Houses on Valencia street (close to Passeig de Gracia)

DSC_7916Lamp posts on Passeig de Gracia

DSC_7921Passeig de Gracia

The last day of the year

Mont-LouisI was waiting at the cafe in Mont-Louis for my family to pick me up. It was the last day of the year. December 31st of 2013. It was cold in Mont-Louis. Earlier that day we went to see the church and the small town around us; Three streets inside of the fortress walls. There was only one cafe, one restaurant, one small grocery store, a pharmacy and two newspaper and souvenir boutiques. That was it. The kids dug the snow on the small plaza in front of the church. It was getting dark. Finally they were taken inside of the hotel to get changed and ready for the New Year’s Eve. I walked through the town a little bit longer and ended up at the only cafe that was open. The place was almost full with locals. Plus two or three couples that came down from skiing. Still in their skiing pants. Their faces fresh and red from the sun and the cold air.

I asked for a coffee and took the newspaper. It was the local newspaper and it covered the news of the towns around Mont-Louis. Then I dropped the newspaper and vaguely listened to the people around me. Everybody talking in French. I like to sit and listen to people in the cafes. People talking about the mountains, about the snow, about the TV shows. People discussing the skiing season, the weather and the lottery tickets.

I walked to the grocery store and got some cheese and wine. And talked to the store owner. I asked him if he was open the next day. He said he never takes holidays. He is open all year round from morning till night. He has the only grocery store in the town. He was nice. Then it was dark and there were no stars on the sky and I walked to the hotel, because it was windy and cold and there was nothing else to do in Mont-Louis on the last day of the year.

Next day we spent the morning skiing at Station de la Quillane, I think it is a part of La Llagonne. The morning was sunny and bright. The perfect skiing weather. The kids tried alpine skiing for the first time in their lives. They lasted for about three hours, then it was lunch time and we drove to the town. Everybody went to the hotel to change. I was already in a dress and decided to stay in town. After making the reservation at Le Dagobert I just wandered around. It was windy. The grocery store was open and I saluted to the owner. I talked to the newspaper stand lady and then ended up at the same cafe as the day before. There were five local men at the cafe. Too early for the skiing crowd. I ordered my coffee and took the newspaper. It was the yesterday’s newspaper. It felt awkward to open and read it, as if everything I read happened far away in the past. There were four pages dedicated to the stories about kids’ Christmas choirs. It covered the maternelle section of the French public schools, the kids ages 3 to 5. There were bright pictures of the kids singing and stories about each school, choir, songs and festivities. I read all the stories. I was touched by the dedication and enthusiasm of the music teachers. It made me think about the music teachers of my own kids.

Then I sat there lost. With the stories of the kids’ singing rounding in my head. Everything that touched me seemed to belong to the past. Like the newspaper from the last year. “The future must be so different,” I said to myself.

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