July 31, 2012


As my little brother busies himself rebuilding lives and the nightmare that he calls a truck way out west some 10,000 miles away, it would appear to the untrained eye that I'm focussed on destroying mine.  Not my life perse, but certainly the hunk of peppered and pocked fiberglass and metal that sits parked outside the house. 

When we first arrived in Spain, we were quite a sight.  The American family schlepping 3 screaming kids though Barajas while pushing 8,000 pounds of luggage on three wobbly luggage carts bowing from the weight.  We rented a car, made it down to Cordoba and once the month finished out, moved to the pueblo.  Not once did we look back.  Our biggest challenge at the time was neither the language nor the culture.  It was having no car.  For roughly three months we walked everywhere.  Not really all that big of a deal since the pueblo is small but when it's 110 degrees out and you have to drag three kids with you to the market not because of lack of babysitters but because you need an extra set of hands to get the loot home...well, it gets old fast.  So when the car finally arrived, we were over the moon.

Here we are in Segovia under the wonder
that is the centuries old Aqueduct.  Not
too many Iowa license plates can say they've 
been parked there now can they?
The arrival of the car however, did not come without some complications; the biggest one being its size.  About a year prior to moving, we bought a Chrysler minivan.  Like most, we fought the curse of the minivan but eventually gave in.  Too many kids.  Too many carseats.  Too many strollers.  And then came the dog.  We were screwed.  In the end however, it would end up being the perfect ride for us.  Perfect in every sense that is until we got to the pueblo.  What do you think of when you think of a small European village?  Windy, cobblestone streets, right?  Well, you nailed it.  Here in the pueblo there are plenty of those - the kind that make you roll the windows down, pull in all the side mirrors and hold your breath (as if that's going to make a difference) as you squeak past the 600 year old house. Eventually we got used to those tight corners and learned to thread the needle at breakneck speeds topping 6 m.p.h.  But it wouldn't come without a pricetag. 

Last week was my latest casualty adventure.  It happened in the historic part of the pueblo, where the streets narrow to roughly the span of your outstretched arms.  I was dropping the kids off at their summer art class and knew that I wasn't going to be able to make the turn up into the old theatre parking lot that sits atop the pueblo.  You know where this is going, don't you?  I started to back up ever so slowly, not even touching the gas when the 700 year old library jumped out of nowhere!  My caution was rewarded by a gentle impact; not even a shudder, just the crackling sound of plastic followed my an exclamatory POP as it shattered, fell to the cobblestone below and was crushed into a fine powdery residue by the rear tire.  Goodbye fair taillight.  Oh, and it was fun while it lasted  Mr. Quarterpanel.  And the building you ask?  Not even a rub mark.  The ancient building, held together by stone and mortar, didn't even flinch but rather bore down and stood its ground.  

Sadly, a full year into this new life we've invented,  such mishaps provoke little more than a knowing smirk and a giggle from me and the kids.  Jumping out of the car to check for damage seems even counterproductive at this stage of the game.  So I continue on, homeward bound where the husband awaits anticipating what new battle scars he will find on the tricked out minivan that should have been his Harley Davidson.

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