Adventure Change

Alcoba de la Torre

09:33Meg Cowan

When we arrived in Alcoba de la Torre we found a small sleepy pocket of history. Nestled in the province of Soria, two hours north of Madrid, down a web of country lanes, we uncovered our new home. It is a blink and miss it town. One in a beaded string made of main roads that break regularly into cobbled streets, flanked by centuries old stone buildings, through the heartland of northern Spain. We were met by Jaime, the owner of the dream casa we are living in which is nestled directly next to the remains of a 900 year old castle, complete with dungeon tunnels under the hill.

Jaimie is one of a group of around six families from Madrid who have followed their friend Pedro here, one by one over the years, slowly convincing various village members to allow them to purchase and restore old homes. They have done a fine job and assimilated into the village culture, taking great interest and care in the older people who still live here, many of whom ran these cobbled streets as youngsters.

Everyone we were introduced to has been so open. Rather surprised that these forigners would want to live here due to it's isolation but happy to have us join them. While only 35 minutes to a larger town and with other small villages in the surrounding countryside it is hemmed by fields of wheat, sunflowers and tilled earth. The families from Madrid only come on the weekends or for summer and bring with them the only english that is spoken in the village so we understood when the thought of this isolation proved too much for Emma. It's hard work looking after someone elses kids and dealing with another families way of living. Doing that as the lone young adult in a village where no one speaks english is undoubtedly daunting.
After two weeks and a memorable farewell lunch in the closest big town I returned her with our love to Madrid. She now contiki's her way around europe, surrounded by people who understand Like's and Lol. We're so grateful for the incredible part of our team that she was over the madly busy parts of this trip. It was sad to see her go but timely I think as it has allowed us to explore some of the deeper concepts that have been swilling about our brains with regards to parenting and living in general.
As the weekdays have passed we've juggled working with exploring and faltering conversations in Spanish. There are approximately 12 permanent residents here, mostly older women and a few farmers and even they leave when the winter snow comes. With sign languge and our expanding vocabulary we have pieced together more about their lives and the area we've been uncovering. 
Even with our new friends from Madrid there have been hilarious lost in translation moments, like when one of the weekend neighbours Sandro invited us for lunch and told Mr Evans that he'd had a pretty relaxed morning, hanging out at home, doing cocaine. "Really? Cocaine?" asked Mr Evans, attempting to keep his concern at bay. "Yeah. Just chilling. Come soon for lunch" replied Sandro. With a little trepidation we walked down to their house and after a while I casually asked Sandro's gorgeous wife if that was a common thing in Spain or perhaps a word we didn't understand? "Oh he was cooking!!!". Let the hassling of Mr Evans commence.

My own moment came a few days later when Rofino, one of my favourite new friends here, who is in fact the mayor of the village, attempted to explain where he had gone yesterday. With zero english we rely heavily on sign language but I was rather concerned, although we were in the broad daylight, when he began unbuttoning his pants and pointing. As I dared to look I saw a surgical guaze patch taped just below his waist line and I had a new association for the word 'medico'.

The first four weeks our days were very quiet overall, with the exception of the late nights working, and allowed us the chance to decompress some. So much of the first half of this entire trip was a large scale decontruction of my thinking and our ways of being.
I have questioned it all and felt like my heart has been laid bare in a way that hasn't happened for a long time. It was raw and painful but entirely necessary and now these last few weeks in Spain have allowed space for the rebuilding process. Unfettered by the weight of opinion, real or imagined, we are picking the path that is being slowly illuminated, joining the dots as we look back on what has been. I am clearer now on my 'always' truths and while the days are not without their bumps as I find my footing as wife and mother, they are rich and full.

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