In Again – Out Again*

Spain - Malaga 009I am not exactly sure how we decided to go to Estepona, Spain on a home exchange so soon after returning from a four plus month travel adventure. Thinking back, it was the home exchange people’s pleading desire to spend Easter week in Budapest, which finally convinced us to do it. We agreed on March 19 to 29, a lengthy period, but then that too stretched beyond our initial plans. What would we do in Estepona for such a long time? Neither of us are really beach people, but even if we were, in March?

After looking at airline options, we could have flown into one of several airports, but the best and cheapest option was Málaga. We could get a direct flight from Budapest to Málaga on Wizz Air for rather cheap. But we had other considerations by this point as well.

Our friend Kim had a rough year. She had a long-term relationship end; additionally her mother and stepfather both passed away. When we spoke on Skype, she happened to mention she needed a reboot. I suggested she join us on this trip. The home exchange could accommodate more than just the two of us. She thought it was a great idea, so plans went accordingly.

As things started to take shape, all of us planned our arrival in Málaga the same evening, but too late to take a bus to Estepona. Not wanting to miss another city, we decided to arrive in Málaga on the 16th and then continue on to Estepona on the 19th.  This would give us a couple of touring days in Málaga.

Strangely enough, our seatmate on the flight had the window seat. Already seated when he arrived, he promised he would not disturb us; he intended to sleep. This he did. Toward the end of the flight, he did ask to get out to use the bathroom, but suggested we move into his seat and he would then take the aisle when he returned. When he was back, Ron struck up a conversation with him. He loves Budapest and would like to spend more time there, but has not yet arranged it. He does a good deal of consulting in Romania, mainly in Bucharest. Ron questioned him on his home country and we were overjoyed when he said he is from Iceland. We immediately suggested a home exchange, which he seemed more than amenable to doing. He went on to tell us how centrally located his apartment is. We exchanged information.

It was a thrill to see Kim again. The last time was our wedding in 2014. She played a song on the recorder. We landed within 30 minutes of each other, so it was perfect timing. We rented an apartment using VRBO, which was ideal. Isabelle the manager arranged for a driver to meet us at the airport for €22. On the way to the apartment, he suggested we stop at a little grocery store to pick up some items to get us through the evening and for breakfast.

Once we were at the apartment, we dropped everything, put together a make-shift meal and sat talking, eating snacks and drinking wine until we were all ready to collapse.

*This is a late post due to poor or lack of Internet connections.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.