One of the inherent difficulties of a travel blog is that the writer is dealing with a new experience — new food, new people, and new internet connection issues.  I think I have mine sorted out, now, so the updates should be more consistent from now on.  I’ve been in Madrid for six days, now, but I’ll start from the beginning and work my way forward in the storytelling.


The long silence on this blog could well have indicated that I killed myself out of frustration with the passport system.  That is not the case.  (I have decided, though, that the time I was arrested for trespassing was a more positive interaction with the government than these long months of anguished waiting and unresponsive customer service representatives.


As it turns out, I did get my passport – 23 hours before my flight left.  This is the lovely man who brought it to my door.  I could have kissed him!  (… Maybe not.)



Can you tell how pleased I am?

So I did indeed board the plane to Chicago, and then board another to London, and then board another to Madrid.  Aside from bouts of crying on the planes and two small run-ins with the airport security, it was an unremarkable voyage.  (First, I forgot to put my hand gel in my 1-quart clear plastic bag.  Then, the security made fun of me for having so many 3 oz. packages in my bag.  But they let me through nonetheless.) 

My luggage even made it with me all the way to Madrid!  After it came down the carousel, I put on my packpack, slung my (very heavy) daypack over my shoulder, and rolled my little suitcase behind me. I then proceeded to take the Madrid metro toward the house of Amy Menchhofer, daughter of my beloved high school English teacher.

Thirty minutes later, when I arrived at her apartment, I was so dehydrated and jetlagged and exhausted that the floor seemed to move under my feet.  Amy and her Spanish husband Nacho offered me beer and wine and soda, but all I could do was gulp down water – about 2 liters of it.

After I napped and showered (both much-needed after almost 20 hours of flying), we went out for tapas with some of Nacho’s relatives around 10:30 p.m..  We shared plates of spicy green peppers, potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce, potatoes in a milder cream sauce, and some other tasty treats.  We also shared two pitchers of sangria, and by the end of the night (about 1 a.m.) I was so tired and “tipsy” that I was falling asleep at the table.


They let me sleep on their couch, and as I fell asleep the lump started growing in my throat again.  To quell the tears, I repeated one phrase over and over: “You can’t cry while you’re asleep.  You can’t cry while you’re asleep.”  And then I slept.