Posted by: Dee Andrews | August 30, 2008

Casa Andrews

We are home. At least for the next ten months. It sounds like a lifetime given that we have been in transit since December, though when I really think about it, the six months in Boulder before we left and the three months of traveling in Spain this summer, have all went by very quickly! Ten months will fly by too, and then we will see what next adventure awaits us.

I have been thinking about “home” and what it means for as many months as I have not had one. I tend to be a home-body, a nester, someone who needs some solitude and comfort in each day. But I do like change and exploration and travel too. I’ve just always had a home to return to at the end of the journey. This trip has forced me to consider a mobile home, one that goes with me from place to place, hotel to hotel, villa to villa.

The easy and quick part of defining home for me is family. I have Scott and Grace and Emma with me. I have left behind parents, sisters, brothers, grandparents and friends and they are all already sorely missed, but I have their voices and pictures and memories to sustain me from place to place. And I am hopeful they will visit us and add to our experiences here. And there is something about that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” saying; I think it might be true. I’m willing to experiment with it for a time.

I recently ran across a book I am now eagerly awaiting from Amazon called A Sense of Place: Great Travel Writers Talk about Their Craft, Lives, and Inspiration. The author, Michael Shapiro, talks with seasoned travel writers, such as Bill Bryson, Frances Mayes and Isabel Allende, about their views on writing, the world and home. Perhaps it will help me define home and place while on the road.

Well, enough philosophizing about home and on to the details of our new one! It’s wonderful! We really just lucked out with it, through a Boulder connection none-the-less! (One of those small-world stories. Thanks Judy for putting us in touch with the Ramseys!) We moved into nuestra casa a week ago. We’ve all had a great first week of swimming in the pool, dinners on the many terraces, organizing our rooms, finding secret places to relax, breathe deep, read, smile.

The house is considered to be in the campo or “country!” I suppose given the big yards, views of the open valley and eight minute drive from the pueblo, it would be considered the country to Spanish families escaping their village houses to the weekend family country house. Many Spanish families who live in the village during the week all congregate to the family home on the weekends for long meals and lazy time together. Siblings, parents, cousins, grandchildren, young and old all spend the weekend together. It is a tradition that reminds me of Eudora and Sunday morning breakfasts after church where the entire extended family shows up for biscuits and gravy, eggs and sausage, and time together.

The house though doesn’t feel like the country as we would define it in America. It is more like the town has grown and neighborhoods with it and we are one of them, nestled under the Montgo. The mountain is behind our house, like a stage backdrop hanging from the sky, its facade so abrupt is doesn’t look real. Because it’s behind the house, I forget it’s there mostly, until I glance out my kitchen sink window and find it soaring up. Its sheer beauty makes me smile. It is most appreciated from the pool though and whether swimming laps or pretending to be a circus seal, diving through the floating pink ring, it is staring down at us.

The house suits us and our family. Lots of outdoor spaces and terraces, the pool, the mountains and valleys. There are tall pine trees along the east side of the house that remind me of Alma and our camping trips there when the wind whispers through the pines. And the pink and blues of the sunsets are calm and inspiring from the upstairs terrace. The kitchen is newly updated in the American style (i.e. big and with a refrigerator that has an ice and water dispenser on the freezer door!)

We look forward to another week of nesting before school starts, building our home, settling in, and finding our place.


  1. This summer I’m going to mexico city for awhile. I wanted to go to Spain, but air fare is incredibly high and I can do that another time when I have time to travel all over Europe I suppose. I hope all is going well! Your pictures are lovely!


    Hi Paige,

    Have you been to Mexico City yet? I would think school would be starting for you soon again. Yes, airfare to Europe is horribly high right now so you probably made a good choice. Be safe though there. I hear San Miguel de Allende is a good place in Mexico to visit and learn Spanish and probably much safer than MC.

    Hope you are well! Tell your family hello from us.


  2. I can’t wait to give two blonde cutie-pies a big hug and taste some of that delicious-looking watermelon!!! Your new home looks just perfect for your family’s Spanish adventure. See you 3 weeks from today. Big Hugs and Sweet Kisses!! Nana

    We are all counting the days, Janet, for you and Jim to arrive! We will have plenty of sandia for you to eat!

  3. Hey little tomatoe girls. You should be in Kansas, grandma has lots of the little red guys. Miss you.
    grandma barb

    Oh, we do miss those juicy Kansas tomatoes, Mom! I bet you are canning them now too! We have discovered the local ones at the market on Thursdays, but Emma and I decided they don’t smell as good as yours!

  4. hey Scott!

    looks lovley there and Grace sure has grown. Just a babe in backyard Boulder eating Asparagus, rice and roasted chicken…push the plate away and yell “all done!”

    Hola Jeff!

    Fun to hear from you! Yes, Grace is no longer a little babe…she’s still a good eater! Hope you are well. You can find Scott’s blog at


  5. The view is just incredible – what an amazing place to experience the rest of your trip! Can’t wait to visit and pinch those little bottoms! (Gracie running around naked – imagine that). 🙂
    Lot’s of hugs and kisses!

    We can’t wait for you to visit too! Let’s start talking details!

  6. Dee:
    Hello, I have missed you all so I had to check out the new up dates. I have really been enjoying following yall on your journey. The job with Susan did not work out, but I might still help her out for a little bit. Her and her husband seemed very nice so thank you for putting in the good word and setting up the whole opportunity for me. However we decided to keep in touch and maybe being doing a little baby sitting here and there.

    I am still jealous I wish I was coming over there and live in spain!!!.

    Also if you think its possible I am looking into some program volunteer/shadowing at Colombia. I know you might a family that might have gone there. I was wondering if I could count on you when I he acceptance time comes about.

    Anyway I have been thinking and missing those little ladies and now I am in Georgia also missing the Flatirons. Please tell them that I miss them and hope one day I hope to see them again!

    May your travels remain joyous,

    Hola Lindsay!

    So fun to hear from you on our blog! Thanks for staying in touch!

    Are you off to NYC soon? We went to Madrid this weekend, and it reminded me of New York. The park was very similar to Central Park and the architecture, museums, cafes, people…just all in Spanish! Keep us posted and let me know the details regarding Columbia.



  7. Hello Scott and Dee: This is Dan from the Intercambio Board saying hello and wishing you continued great adventures there that we can follow back in CO. Your sabbatical is inspiring to my wife Tara and I as we imagine the experiences we would like Kyla – now 15 months old – to have as options in the next few years.

    PS – we’re having an Intercambio National Headquarters meeting Friday; we’ll miss you Scott!


    Hello Dan,

    Thanks for the well wishes, and I will pass your comment on to Scott. I have so much more appreciation for Intercambio being on the “other” side now and trying to learn a new language and culture. I hope it will make me a better Intercambio teacher when I return to Boulder!

    Best, Dee

  8. Wow…the house looks like a wonderful, outdoor resort. Love the balconies, the pool, the mountain view and sky. The girls look tan and so happy. Almost didn’t recognize Emma – she looks so grown up!

    Didn’t know you had taken up trail running. Sounds fun. What a great activity to do in such a beautiful place!

    Hi Sheila,

    It’s Scott who’s running with the girls! I’ve been looking for the trails along the Montgo though and am ready for some hikes!

    Both girls are growing up before my eyes! It’s one of the reasons I wanted this sabbatical now; to capture some time with them while they still wanted to hang out with me!


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