Okay. First things. An apology. I've spent months doing all sorts of things that would have made great fodder for blogging, but was too lazy/disorganized/overwhelmed to write regularly or even infrequently. I apologize and will try to do better going forward.
So, what were some of those things? Number 1 - Selling the condo. That's right, the notion of quitting the land of Budweiser and Apple Pie might have remained a notion only unless we took the first really big and permanent step of selling our dwelling of more than thirty years. The Husband and I sold it to a younger couple from the same building in June - and for $5000 over our asking price. My broker quietly suggested that we probably could have gotten more, but we were out to sell the place, not gauge anybody so we let it go for what they offered.
Walking away from the long-term residence turned out to be easier than I imagined. In part because we divested ourselves of almost everything we owned as part of the process - and how eye-opening that was. Expect a blog on minimalism and the evil power of stuff coming soon.
Number 2 - Finding a new place to live. One of the trickiest parts of decamping from your current country of residence for somewhere else is the timing of everything, You need to be free of any hard ties to the first country (mortgages, mountains of other debt, etc.) before you apply for the necessary visas and permissions. But you also require a place to live between when you rid yourself of all these attachments and actually leave. So a short term rental was in order - and acquiring one not too far from the Husband's office was a significant and expensive undertaking. We chose one from among the six that were available and pay what feels like a prince's ransom for it, but its a good enough, two story walk-up about fifteen minutes from where we used to live.
Number 3 - learn Castilian. Castilian is the Spanish as spoken in Spain, our future home. It differs from Latin American or Central American Spanish in its us of the form for plural you (y'all in Southern American English), as well as its use of other forms shunned in the former colonies. It's not the kind of Spanish I learned in school or have used since, so I have needed a significant re-training. Fortunately, by diligently applying myself and with the aid of a tutor and now friend from Preply.com, I have made major strides toward fluency.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Castilian that I have't previously found in other Spanish has been the widespread subjunctive form of verbs - essentially an entirely different verb structure used to talk about anything that is uncertain or where there are elements of doubt. It's really quite powerful and fun (for a language nerd like me). In the regular, imperative Castilian the sentence "He's coming to dinner" takes on an entirely different cast when spoken in the subjunctive where "He's coming to dinner" is almost granted an invisible question mark. Is he coming to dinner? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not.
This can be a little disturbing too, as when I discovered the common question asked of children "what do you want to be when you grow up" is usually asked in the subjunctive. This could imply uncertainty about their future profession, but also about whether they make it to adulthood. Yikes.
Number 4 Finishing the manuscript of the third novel. Manny Porter and the Lavender Wings went to the publisher on September 1. A synopsis:
There's trouble in Tinker Creek. Years of frustration over economic inequality and a form of government dating back to before 1776 have sparked a immigrant and minority boycott of St. Michael's Harbor businesses they don't own. Violence is in the air of the deeply divided community and not even Lyle James appears able to ward it off.
But Manny Porter and a young teacher in the community have an idea. What if they make the life and service of her Great Aunt Evelyn, who flew military aircraft in World War II and still holds an active pilot's license at age ninety-nine, more widely known as example to unify the population? What if, at the same time, the city took some available land and turned it into a park with amenities citizens have desired for years? Could those two things bring the community back together?
In the absence of other ideas, it's worth a shot. But a greedy and vindictive relative has her eye on Evelyn's home as a future winter get-away and there are plots afoot to keep her out of the public eye by force.
Those are the four things that have kept me most busy and prevented me writing you regularly. But, as I said, they're finished now and I hope to become a more faithful correspondent going forward.