Press 2 for No

Canada: Where The Sun Also Rises So much can happen in a week. You can go from worrying about a winter hat to sunbathing in your underwear (thanks to record-breaking November temperatures), from running to answer your phone to turning it off, from sipping a fine red Portuguese wine purchased for someone special at duty... Continue Reading →

A Quarantine of One’s Own

The lure of the north. We unwrap the thick layers of plastic from around our dinner and lower our masks. It's the first time in the four hours since we boarded the Porto-Lisbon-Toronto flight that I see my seating companion's entire face. Frank, it turns out, has a rust-coloured moustache and the nose of a... Continue Reading →

The Tide is High

The tide is high, and I'm removing my mask. Twelve years ago today, I got married on a beach on the west coast of Canada. I stood barefoot in the sand and held a bouquet of freshly picked wildflowers. I'll spare you the other details – the triple-layer lemon cake we (as in me and... Continue Reading →

Here comes the rain again

  So much can change in a week. The world can go from hot and dry to cold and wet. You can go from sitting beneath a pergoda at a table of blue-tiled mosaics with a group of fun-loving Spaniards eating steamed mussels with giant wedges of lemon to lying on your couch covered in... Continue Reading →

Summer Daze

Once upon a time you could separate the good friend from the run-of-the-mill friend by whether they offered to help you move, or, in earlier years, held your hair back while you vomited. Times have changed. For those of us with parents over the age of 65, feuding family members, and husbands who left them... Continue Reading →

In Praise of the Playa

Yes, there's the Rioja and the tapas, the flamenco and the paella – but then there's the beach. And now in the time of coronavirus, the beach is the one place where you can shed your mask, and even all of your clothing (see Phase 1), breathe deeply, jump into the ocean, and pretend it's... Continue Reading →

Hello mask, good-bye smile

The manager of William Tell Restaurant (a former Swiss restaurant downtown Montréal) knew right away I was lying when I said I spoke the three required languages – Italian, German, French – and had several years of fine-dining experience. I was 22 and thought knowing the numbers up to 100 and a few greetings could... Continue Reading →

The Wall

The weather was promising – cloudy and slightly cool. I put on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, slipped on my Laura Ashley gardening gloves, and got out the broom. It was time for The Wall. Walls in Galicia aren't just pretty stones fitted masterfully together and draped with wildflowers and vines – they... Continue Reading →

Phase 1

Laziness. Apathy. The lockdown time warp. These are my excuses for a 17-day silence. Oh, and an evaluation of my mental state by certain readers that happen to be family based upon the contents of my blog posts. As any writer knows, such scrutiny is our kryptonite. Please, dear reader, don't worry. There's no need... Continue Reading →

The Right of Spring

"Happy Freedom Day!" a friend in the south of Spain writes this morning. She sends pictures of a beach at sunrise. Although my day didn't begin quite so early, I was lacing up my hiking boots before nine. As I reached the top of the hill just past Miguel and Débora's house, panting a little... Continue Reading →

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