I’m done with airports and trains for a while. I have a few things in the fridge, my clothes are in the closet and Willie is singing “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” (from my laptop, I’m pretty sure he is nowhere near here). This has been one long day getting settled into my apartment in Toledo (the one in Spain) and right now is one of those moments that never last long enough. Thirteen months of ups and downs, 600+ hours of work, writing and answering 1500 e-mails, filling out forms and going to workshops and attending meetings on this, that and the other. Indulge me patting myself on the back and feeling pretty good right now. Tonight I sleep with a sense of satisfaction and peace that is way too rare. I can sleep-in tomorrow, go down the block to one of a dozen cafes and read the paper, drink a very good coffee and watch a Saturday morning unfold in a very special place.
The calm before the storm.
Tomorrow night I go back to Madrid and find a hotel near the airport so that I can get up
with before the chickens to be standing at the gate when the first of twenty eight of my students comes off the planes. They will be arriving on nine different airplanes arriving at three different terminals from 6:00 a.m until 8:45. Somehow I’ll get all of them and their luggage on the same bus with Hannah Grace and Leticia from the University here. From there we will all go to Toledo, passing into the walled city through gates built centuries ago to keep out some very determined armies. In a medieval building on a narrow, cobble-stoned street, everyone will be met by their families and taken to their new home away from home to begin what should be the one semester of their academic career that they will most remember for the rest of their lives.
I like my apartment. It has everything I need and many modern renovations. I am fascinated that the structure was built in the 16th century. I have exposed ceiling beams that were hand-carved and placed there some 500 years ago by people who could have never conceived of some guy from across the ocean sitting beneath their work and communicating to potentially anyone on the planet with a little machine. I doubt they understood much about the idea of a planet (or an ocean). I’ve read that in medieval times most Europeans never wandered more than five miles from their home. I wonder though, when they were done with their work, if they had the time to pause for a moment and feel this good about all they had built. If so, what was the storm after their calm? There’s always more work to be done, the next step to be taken. I doubt that they were as excited as I am about the next day’s labors. And the next, and the next…
The calm of this evening is really, really nice but, by tomorrow evening, I will be ready for the real work to begin! Let’s see what develops.