Monalia's World

Observations on a New Life in Spain

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The 2 me’s

19 January, 2024 (09:23) | Living in Europe | By: admin

Photo below is of some of my morning padel group of 8 to 9 am padel players. Padel is a big part of my life, it keeps me fit.

This is Barcelona-Lia, tooling around on my bike with my dog Zuma. In the below video, we explore my immediate neighborhood in Barcelona. As time passes, Mark and I have joined the “LAT movement”, or “Living Apart Together” demograph of married couples who live apart, but remain actively together. Evidently there is a real movement for this arrangement which we came up with on our own, heh heh. Either I visit him in the mountains every few weeks, or he visits me here at the beach. We get the best of both worlds with this arrangement, pursuing our personal interests while continuing to collaborate on projects. We spend quality time when we are together but follow the rhythm of our own drum while apart.

Since buying the house in the mountains (a 1 1/2 hour drive from our beach pad) Mark is happily spending most of his month in the mountains, where he records new songs, takes nature hikes with his drone and gizmos, cultivates an indoor garden and recuperates after making it through a difficult year suffering long covid.

I, on the other hand, remain healthy (to date) and love my beach life, where I play padel 3 mornings a week and ride everywhere on my bike. I am making new friends and loving my connection to this wonderful city. Next month I plan to go to Florence to see my Zia Fiorella (my mom’s sister) who turns 93 next month. I’ll bring Zuma and spend 6 nights there, so I can see family, kick around with my camera(s) and shop too. That’s the plan.

I will share more of my bike rides as I slowly master the use of my 360 degree InstaCamera RS.

Below is the “other” me; butch mountain woman who bought a Polaris and named it “Jeepy Jeep”, or “Gippi Gip” as they say here. I have discovered many a waterfall and/or unexpected streams, valleys, gorges, natural springs etc by tooling around Montseny in it.

I will spend more time in the mountains once it is spring, and cherries begin to blossom etc. 

RAV 4 Ninja Nomad – follow our YouTube channel (link below).

19 January, 2024 (09:17) | Living in Europe | By: admin

below are a few of the videos on our YouTube channel.



The last 2 years through video dialogues

30 August, 2023 (04:47) | Living in Europe | By: admin

I pretty much let this blog go when Covid hit in 2019 and we got stuck in LA two months longer than planned. During our L.A. semi-lockdown we wrote songs, bought toilet paper and basics from local food trucks and ordered excessive amounts of stuff from Amazon, like so many others. And we called Delta Airlines every day beginning the third month we were there, seeing as our return flight had been cancelled and airports were closed. Over a month later they were successfully able to find flights home to Barcelona in May 2020 for us plus our two small dogs (no easy feat, with the dogs…). Eventually we made it back to Barcelona, where we thankfully just missed total lockdown.

A funny anecdote is that our friend Cristina was literally in total lockdown at our place in Gracia, while our friend Ricardo was trapped in lockdown at our beach pad. All things considering, that went well for them.

Once we settled in, it didn’t take us long to start testing our parameters. Most people obeyed all the restrictions here in Bcn. but fortunately at least the city was opened up again by the time we returned, but it opened in “stages”; early mornings were for “older people” late mornings for adults but with no children and the afternoon stage was for children supervised by adults only. People walking their dogs were exempt from the strictly enforced stages.

2020 – 2023 has been both existentialist, absurd, but ridiculously fun at times. We made big sweeping changes in our life. Mark got his Spanish drivers license in 2020 and shortly thereafter bought a Toyota RAV 4 hybrid car. The rest is a crazy story, during which time we sold Gracia and bought a house in the mountains, but that will be material for a future dialogue. It would make an interesting book should a publisher miraculously appear one of these days.

But meanwhile, we did several YouTube travel dialogues over a 2 years period which tell a lot of the tales I”m too lazy to write. The first year (2020) we were able to get away with leaving the city boundaries, although this was not legally allowed. We were sneaky and always had an alibi.

Until then, here are our travel dialogues. Enjoy!

ok – all these wanderings had us looking at real estate in the area, just to get an idea… Our wanderings led to us eventually selling Grácia (where I began this blog in 2009) and buying a house in the Catalan mountains of Montseny ( Like I said, we made a lot of things happen these last few years.

The next 2 videos are of a trip we did to France, after having bought the mountain house but before we actually got the keys.

We intend to do a dialogue about the harrowing yet miraculous but insane process of selling Gracia in order to  buy our mountain dream house, at which point future blogs can go back into present tense writing.