Family Matters


It’s been an appreciation 22 years in the making, but I am one hundred percent confident in the obvious conclusion that it gets no better than your family. I am privileged to come from the stable, supportive family that I have and it would seem intuitive for me to understand just how lucky I am, but it’s something that deepens with my years of life ( life in general seems to strike you more and more with the years, always revealing new things, we’re always learning, it’s fantastic).

Anyway, Mom and Dad were here this week and they brought me the greatest comfort and peace of mind that I could have asked for. I am having a blast in this country. I think the blog is a testament to that. BUT, that isn’t to say that it doesn’t come with it’s difficulties. From the outside it’s easy to think that it’s the most idyllic life in the world, but it doesn’t come with it’s own struggles. If homesickness was the one and only difficulty in this journey (and it certainly isn’t), that in and of itself would be tough. No more details on that as those pangs only hit from time to time, but the result of the parents visit was excellent. They are the most down-to-earth, good-living people that I know and it was so much fun to be able to laugh with them in the way that I can not with anybody else in the world.

We saw Toledo (my third time there!), Madrid, and Aranjuez (the former summer residence of the King). A nice new revelation in Toledo was that I was able to see the Jewish corridor. We went inside a temple that is now owned by a movement of nuns that seek to bridge hurts that exist between the Jewish and Catholic community. She was from Belgium, spoke at least 4 different languages, and presented such peace. She was surrounded by all a ton of impressionist paintings depicting the mission of the movement. It was a fantastic, inspiring conversation. We visited Aranjuez with my boss (is he not the coolest??) and it was a nice pleasant day trip.

Outside of the travelling and site-seeing, it was the fact that I was with the people who have given me everything that I have: my education, my health, my morals, my faith, my humor…for me they are like representatives of God on earth. An interesting way to put it, huh? I truly feel like that captures it though. I love them very much and the things that had been stressing me out prior to their visit seem like pocket change now. I was laughing with them this whole week and although I am sad that they are gone, I am laughing a whole lot again…and it’s just that natural kind that comes from within…sincere and real. I love it!!! God bless them. I will always make sure to bridge any physical distance between my family and I.

Other life news: I am more or less a retired runner now. I had been debating this for the past 10 months (running has been my sport for 12 + years now), but it’s just too stressful for my body unfortunately. Swimming has replaced it and oh how much fun! It feels great to glide through the water and I am actually giving my body a much more complete work-out. I don’t think there are competitions in the way that the running world has 5ks or marathons, but I’ll figure it out. Anyway, I can still participate in the odd running competition.

What else? Ah yes I walked right past Jaime de Marichalar today. Twice just to verify it. He is the former husband of Rey (King) Juan Carlos’s eldest daughter. He was sitting at a cafe off of Serrano Street sipping coffee. Sooo crazy! I love this city!


About conorjbyrne3

I have started up this blog in anticipation of my upcoming year-long teaching position in Spain. I want to be able to record the highlights of the experience so that I can share with everyone back home!

2 responses »

  1. You captured our visit perfectly; what a lot of fun and a great time in Madrid. A great reunion. And the local wine didn’t hurt one bit. Love and regards to all the Byrnes in Madrid, to Victor and to everyone else at the school and who said hello to us on the streets!

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