10 Things from February
Good morning and happy last day of February! I’m writing my second monthly review, which means I’m well on my way to making this a tradition. Two for two. ✌️
I’m always happy to see February go because MARCH! It means St. Patrick’s Day (which I have a weird thing for), my birthday month and the weather starts to get better, if you’re lucky. So, goodbye February. Here are ten things from the month!
One: Little Notebooks
I’ve always loved notebooks. In fact, as a kid I would really hoard my notebooks. The more I liked it, the less I used it. I can’t say I’ve completely broken this habit (I still have a beautiful rainbow notebook in the States that I can’t bring myself to use) but I am working on it. I think I have about seven notebooks total here in Spain and the ones that get used the most are my little notebooks.
I can thank my brother for my love of moleskine notebooks and probably little notebooks in general- as I remember him having them on trips and just everyday life.
I have one notebook where I write every city we visit, along with hikes and places to remember. Another I use for writing poetry and yet another I use for quotes from podcasts, books and articles that I want to read over and over again.
I think if I had a big notebook with me I would write less. These bring me more joy than one might imagine a little notebook capable, but that’s pretty on-brand for me.
Two: Music // Haim
I was in a little bit of a music rut in February until I found Haim’s album ‘Women in Music Pt III’.
It’s rare for me to find an album I love listening to from beginning to end again and again, but I love it when I do. This is one of those albums (the last album like that was Tame Impala’s ‘The Slow Rush’).
This album is somehow folksy and rocky without being too much of either one. The slow songs aren’t sad songs and the upbeat songs are real jams. Needless to say, I’m really feeling it and currently listening everyday on my bike ride to and from school.
After two months of our city being closed we are finally allowed to leave again. You better believe we immediately rented a car for the weekend and planned two awesome hikes. I don’t know the exact science behind it, but breathing different air felt life-changing.
The timing was definitely just right for me. As in, I needed to get out and stretch my legs! Hiking is one of the big reasons I wanted to live up north and hours and hours of walking and talking in the mountains is my favorite.
Hiking here is always gorgeous and I’m getting to the point of no return with my deep love for mountains and living by them.
Four: Trying New Things // Open Water Swimming
Yes, you read that right! This month Jackson and I started our latest adventure of open water swimming. It was a whole process of finding wetsuits on Spanish craigslist, meeting up with the person, and trying them on. We both had good luck finding some, got goggles and were ready to go!
Only we needed a little psyching up. It was definitely cold and gray and each day didn’t quite feel like the day. I realized I needed to get over the hardest part- starting. So we set a day, pinky promised we’d do it and did!
I’ve learned (at least) two things so far: the wetsuit helps you float and feel lighter and I have a fear of what’s underwater. Equally valuable lessons. But many things we fear stem from a lack of understanding or experience. Slowly I’m building up my experience and with that might come some understanding too.
It’s both ridiculously cold and exhilaratingly fun.
Five: Putting Myself Out There
This month I found a group of bikers online that were planning a ride. I kept the tab open on my computer all week and finally added myself to the list of riders. The location was a little vague so I left on Saturday with two possible locations to meet them. Of course as I left the house my chain came off and I was sweating to put it back on quickly. I didn’t quite give myself the buffer time I had imagined for just such an occasion. I rushed to the first location and found no one waiting. I put in the second location and pushed it even harder to try to make the start time. On my way to the second spot, I saw a group of riders gathering. I pulled off and sure enough, I found my group!
This is Spain and it was a relaxed group, so I was in no danger of missing the ride. I think we left about 20 minutes later, but I certainly had a good warm up.
The fact that I didn’t know anyone or know what to expect, let alone where we were meeting made me super proud of joining this ride. Putting myself out there felt uncomfortable, but I’ve done it enough since moving here to know it’s often worth it. I made some connections and have future rides planned this week with the people I met that day.
So once again, worth it.
Six: Golden Milk
Ok ok. I did a quick search and found that these first started getting trendy in 2016 so I’m faaaaashionably late to this. Basically it is turmeric with ginger and cinnamon, plus your choice of milk and coconut milk. At least that’s my own version- which I will post soon! It’s beautifully yellow and just generally makes me happy.
Have you tried this? If not, let me be that friend to say try this! (which is how I finally got around to trying it myself. Thanks Mitchell!)
Spain is all about fútbol and I have whole-heartedly jumped on board. I’ve adopted Atletico Madrid as my team and game nights have turned into a whole thing here. I look forward to them all day and since they play about once a week, there’s a lot to look forward to. They just so happen to be winning the league right now so I picked a convenient time to start following them.
It’s a little controversial with my students what team I follow, but they give me a pass since I am a foreigner. Which is partly why I avoided Real Madrid or Barcelona.
And maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about and I don’t blame you!
Eight: Ted Lasso
I’m so grateful for the recommendation from my brother and sister-in-law to watch this show. It made me realize how much I was missing light-hearted television. I watch a lot of shows in Spanish and a lot of them end up being intense drama (easier Spanish to understand). Ted Lasso is funny and light while also hitting pretty close to home on real things too. I felt a serious mood boost after these episodes.
If you have access to Apple TV+, I recommend this one for sure.
Nine: An Organized Fridge
I mean…why don’t I do this more often?! This was one of those low effort high reward things that I did this month. Every once in a while you need to remember what’s in the back of the fridge (simple syrup from a thanksgiving cocktail) or how many lemon halves you have already cut (4!)
This helps me reduce food waste and speeds up the cooking process. I don’t lose a lot of time looking for things, but it does sometimes turn into tetris. There are bound to be casualties.
Side note: Spanish fridges are quite small. We have a big one compared to our friends and it is easily half the size of our fridge back in the states. Probably also helps with food waste.
We’ll see how long the organization lasts.
Ten: Forgiving Yourself
I liked this quote from the co-founder at The Good Trade. This is a teeny tiny newsletter that comes to my inbox with interesting new song and podcast suggestions along with intentional living articles. It does often have high end product recommendations which I don’t like as much.
Still, oftentimes the start of this mini-newsletter has me thinking or writing something down.
Forgiving yourself and others can be big things, but the small things are also important.
What did February bring for you? I’d love to hear it.