Gavilanes 2016

September 23, 2016 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel 98 views

Gavilanes 2016On the weekend of September 10 and 11, 2016, my wife and kids and sister-in-law drove five and a half hours south to a little mountain village called Gavilanes near Ávila. If someone told you to put a pin on a map in the dead center of the Iberian peninsula, not just Spain, you would probably skewer Gavilanes. Why did we choose this place? It is the home town of the husband, Óscar, of my wife and sister’s second cousin, Lourdes. Óscar and Lourdes attended my wedding, and the second cousins recently reconnected and released how much they liked each other recently on a sisters’ road trip to Madrid, where they live. Óscar and Lourdes brought their 11-year-old son, Daniel, who was great with our kids, and we all stayed in a house that belongs to Óscar’s mother.
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Ian’s First Day of School

September 09, 2016 By: erik Category: News, Parenting, Photos 124 views

Ian's First Day of School (cropped)Yesterday, September 8, 2016, was Ian’s first day of school. As is natural, he has been very excited to attend the same school as his hero and older sister, Nora. He knows that name of the school and has been telling everyone all summer that he will be starting. I think he kind of thought that he would be sitting next to Nora in her second grade class, but I think he understands now that he’s entering at a different level.
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Rosario Flores in Colindres

August 28, 2016 By: erik Category: Music, Spain, Videos 95 views

Rosario Flores - ColindresLast night, my sleepy little fishing village, population seven thousand, managed to scrape together enough tax funds1 to afford to provide a free concert by two-time Latin Grammy Award winning artist, Rosario Flores. I became aware of her in 2002, shortly after dropping all my things and moving to England to live with my future wife, when our mutual flatmate, a Spanish girl, brought back a Rosario CD, Muchas Flores (one of her Grammy wins), from Spain. She also is a member of the elite group of five or six of artists for whom we have CDs that live in the glove box of our car, so over the years, I have learned some of her songs.
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Hiking in Cantabria – Balconada del Cerreo

August 22, 2016 By: erik Category: Photos, Spain, Travel 174 views

Balconada del Cerreo, RasinesThis past Sunday, with the kids summering with their grandparents down south, my wife and I signed up for a hike organized by the local tourism board. It was advertised as: Subida a la balconada del Cerreo, 4:30 hours, 600 meter change (Medium Difficulty). We thought, “600 meters! That’s nothing!” Of course the 600 meters is really only measuring the difference from the lowest to the highest point. While it was quite as high as the Pico de las Nieves, which you can drive almost all the way up to, we did end up with a very nice view from which we could have hit our house with a laser.
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Travel Pro Tip: Don’t Lose Your Passport(s)

June 14, 2016 By: erik Category: Complaining, Family, Travel, USA 277 views

Papers PleaseOn Saturday, we made our annual family trek to the American Homeland to visit the family. The children behaved absolutely admirably, with Nora, having just finished first grade (actually we took her out two weeks early), taking the gold medal by entertaining herself completely with the in-flight entertainment and later some iPad games. Ian was a little more of a handful, raising and lowering his tray table roughly one million times in the nine hour flight. Luckily the seat in front of him was unoccupied.
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Itchy Eyes

May 17, 2016 By: erik Category: Offspring, Parenting 178 views

Spring BeeStarting about two weeks ago, shortly after his third birthday, coinciding with a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, Ian’s eyes starting itching, particularly his right eye. He was rubbing the heck out of them. It got really bad this weekend, to the point where one of them got hugely swollen, almost swollen shut. On Sunday we took him to the ER and they gave us two bottles of eye drops, one was an antibiotic in case the swelling was from an infection, and the other was an antihistamine in case the cause was allergy. He hated having them applied, but they did the job.
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Nora’s Seventh Birthday Party

March 19, 2016 By: erik Category: Offspring, Partying, Photos, Videos 282 views

Nora's Seventh Birthday PartyToday we had a birthday party for Nora’s seventh birthday. She has been going to classmates’ birthday parties for a couple of years now, but this is the first one that she has thrown. She filled out little invitation cards with the date and her mother’s mobile phone number and gave them out to her classmates and her best friend three floors down. As a result, she is the only living human who knows her mother’s new phone number by memory; the number recently changed, and I have not memorised it yet, and her mother never learned her previous number of nine years.
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How to emigrate from the United States? Don’t.

March 15, 2016 By: erik Category: Travel, USA 934 views

Emigration from USSeveral of my American friends have asked me privately about ways or plans to emigrate from the United States should certain political powers assume control. This is an open letter to them.

The truth is that emigration is hard, and for the most part, Europe doesn’t want you, no matter how white and educated you are (and I can really only speak to Europe; maybe the Canucks will have you?). I am a highly sought after computer programmer – I literally get recruiter emails every day – and it was nearly impossible for me to find a company willing to give me a work permit in the UK. The escape chute might be a little better lubricated if you are a college student. It’s easy to live abroad temporarily as a student, and easier – though still almost impossible! – to find a permanent position once you are already temporarily abroad.
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Kindness Solves Boarding Conundrum

February 16, 2016 By: erik Category: Travel, USA 244 views


The following is a true story from my recent trip, written as soon as I boarded the plane.

At the gate in Charlotte, twenty minutes before boarding time, there was an African man slowly getting more and more agitated talking to the airline employee at the gate. He had come to the airport with his wife and kids, and the lady at the baggage check desk had told him that the flight wasn’t too full, so he could just take his large second bag to the gate and either they’d let him gate check it for free or he could carry it on, despite being larger than the carry-on guidelines. He had even brought a smaller bag to the check in counter and had his wife and kids there so that, if his larger bag was too large, he could leave some things and take the smaller bag.
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Brilliant Christmas Customer Service

January 05, 2016 By: erik Category: Internet, Marketing, Reviews, Spain 244 views

dollOn December 24, I ordered an Antonio Juan doll for my daughter. That might seem a bit late to you, but we were ordering it for Kings Day, the second mythical gift giver Christmas day in Spain, on January 6th. I ordered it online, via Amazon, but the order really went to a third party vendor.

On December 26, I received an email telling me that my order had been shipped.

On December 28, I received the package.
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