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First you jump off the cliff and you build wings on the way down.

-Ray Bradbury

Sometimes life offers us an opportunity that we’d never in a million years have seen coming — an amazing job, the perfect house, true love — and because we weren’t looking for it, we don’t quite know how to react.

Most people will want to have a bit of a think. After all, maybe the good thing isn’t as good as it looks. Maybe we’re running away from one thing and into something much worse. We want certainty, not risk. We want a cushioned landing pad, not a half-built parachute.

But if we wait too long, we miss out. We are left on the edge of that cliff, dreaming while looking down, fogged in by “what if.”

Or perhaps we’re lucky enough to jump before we’ve bound ourselves up in parsing all the possibilities. What we find when we hit the ground — gently, or with a bang — may bear no resemblance to what we thought we saw down there. But it’s nearly always worth it if we trust ourselves.

Me? I jump every time.


A deciding factor in my move back to Madrid was the number of long-time friends I have here. Spanish society’s attitude toward friendship was also key — it’s a place where people work hard to maintain their friendships for a long time. Of course, it’s helpful that there isn’t a marked tendency to move far away, as we do in the U.S., but I don’t think that’s the only thing at work here. In my opinion, there’s more emphasis on the collective than on the individual. Sometimes that isn’t a good thing — as shown by the tiny number of entrepreneurs here — but it does mean that people can count on their friends and family for just about anything, anytime.

Here’s one of my dearest and “oldest” friends in Madrid. I went out to her place in the mountains for the weekend, and over lunch we were marveling at how we’ve known each other for 25 years, which clearly can’t be possible since we’re so young! She’s also the one who famously chewed me out for not asking her to help me when I was so sick at the New Year. As far as she’s concerned, I wasn’t letting her be my friend then. Won’t make that mistake again. After all, she’s a keeper!

There has been a lot of chatter recently about Spain’s “boring” tiki-taka football game. As I commented on Facebook, “Yes, the incessant winning is such a drag.” ¡HAH! (And BTW, Saint Iker Casillas? Maximum duende.)

Campeones, campeones, oeoeoe (insert vuvuzela and fireworks sfx here)

Other than the excitement of winning the final of the EuroCup (¡DOUBLE HAH!), it was a lovely, relaxing weekend. Mr. Pants provided lunch at Casa Rubi on Saturday and Sunday, followed by serious lazing around. On Saturday evening, we met up with friends to see an amusing movie (Hysteria) and then went out for tapas (I’m still dreaming of the lovely little fried boquerones we demolished — may need to have more tomorrow) and adult beverages. OK, maybe tinto de verano only qualifies as a semi-adult beverage, given that it contains a large quantity of sweet fizzy stuff, but in the hot and thirsty season, it’s just what Rubi wants.

All of the relaxing and enjoying remind me of this NYT article, with which I couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing better than an un-busy, un-boring weekend. Hope you had one, too.

I’m a “noticer.” I love the details that give a person or a place soul, or as we call it in this part of the world, duende. Duende is the thing that good flamenco has. But anything can have it, when you slow down and notice.

The Café Comercial is around the corner from my house. It’s got duende in spades. Slightly dangerous revolving door. Marble-topped tables so heavy you can barely move them. Waiters who are equal parts surly and loving. No pretense whatsoeveer.

Keep an eye out for duende where you are. I’ll share it with you when I spot it.

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