Idiota de idioma (a progress report)

Idiota de idioma (a progress report)

La dignidad está sobrevalorada.  That is supposed to say “Dignity is overrated,” which I have long claimed is our family motto.  The phrase I write here in Spanish may be grammatically incorrect, or there may be a better way to word that in Spanish, but at this point…I don’t care. I am at first stage ... Read moreIdiota de idioma (a progress report)
Our Visa Application

Our Visa Application

This post will answer one of the most asked questions we received after our interview on Market Watch about our visa and how we managed to obtain a resident status.
Familiar gathering

Familiar gathering

When one meets an American for the first time, the odds are good you will part company with one of you inviting the other over to their house “sometime.” Not so in Spain. In fact, one of the things we read about as part of our cultural prep for the relocation was to be aware ... Read moreFamiliar gathering
No place like a home

No place like a home

My mother, originally a Brit who came to America as a war bride after WW II, and Jiab would often compare experiences as immigrants. In my rare position as a silent listener, I was always taken by their shared struggle to define what for me and most Americans was a simple concept…defining what was “home.” ... Read moreNo place like a home
Courting Success

Courting Success

What I learned from attending a clay court tennis tournament in Madrid about what it takes, beyond raw talent, to be at the top of one’s game—not just in tennis, but also in personal finance and in life.
SOP

SOP

Even when we know things will be different, there are just some ways of doing things we either expect to be the same or just take for granted that there can be no other way. Apartment hunting, it turns out, is a whole different thing in Spain.
Keeping in Touch – Part 2

Keeping in Touch – Part 2

Disclosure: Please note that we don’t get any compensation from these companies that we recommend with this piece. We name them strictly to share our experience in staying in communication with our family and friends. We do, however, get a small affiliate income if someone orders from Amazon through our site; it is not quite ... Read moreKeeping in Touch – Part 2
Another one rides the bus

Another one rides the bus

There is a sort-of joke in Dallas that any time someone asks how far away something is, the standard reply is “twenty minutes.” Doesn’t matter if they were asking about the shop around the corner or a building on the other side of town, it’s going to take twenty minutes to get there. I used ... Read moreAnother one rides the bus
Keeping in Touch – part 1

Keeping in Touch – part 1

How we stay in touch with families and friends in the US while keeping our US phone number for free while living in Spain.
Facing El Camino

Facing El Camino

Imagine just one week where every interaction with other people was done without electronics, in real time, in real space, so that you could not help but take in the beauty and subtlety of human communication.
Ultreia

Ultreia

Sharing the experience of walking El Camino de Santiago is impossible to do it in one blog post, we tried our best to capture a small part of it here through words and pictures.
The Things We Carried

The Things We Carried

We answered our readers' question about what we packed for our move across the ocean. It turned out that we took just "enough" by limit ourselves to four suitcases.
Monumental spaces

Monumental spaces

Monument spaces must include the living, or they are little better than dead spaces contaminated by forgotten memories.
(Cost of) Living in Granada

(Cost of) Living in Granada

Why Granada, and how much does living "la vida buena" cost? You asked, we answer.
No Mud, No Lotus

No Mud, No Lotus

No mud, No lotus reminds us to understand that happiness and suffering go together like a lotus and mud.
Blind Harmony

Blind Harmony

George Town, Malaysia demonstrates that life can still be lived in cooperation and in positive partnership with “others.”
Moto-vation (A valentine’s celebration of my partner)

Moto-vation (A valentine’s celebration of my partner)

The old adage is that one never forgets how to ride a bike. I would add that, once you feel that empowerment of moving forward by your own impetus, you always crave it.
Our Typical Day

Our Typical Day

How do you keep the openness of the day from compelling you to lie on the couch until you are a pile of melted goo, or the madness of purposelessness creeps in till you are found with five hundred pages of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” on your computer?
New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s Resolution

You’ve probably heard of the “Mediterranean diet,” proven healthy by a very impressive amount of research. Spain, in fact, will surpass Japan with the longest life expectancy by the year 2040, and no doubt the healthy diet is a major factor in this.   However, this begs the question… what exactly is the “Mediterranean diet?” ... Read moreNew Year’s Resolution
Epiphany

Epiphany

If lighting one candle is better than cursing the darkness, Granada lights three...
Año nuevo

Año nuevo

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s. I’m a positive, looking-forward-to-next-year person, but always felt like the festive mood was a little forced. More than a few friends have told me they go out to NYE parties more because they felt they should rather than they wanted to. I think the worst party ... Read moreAño nuevo
An expat Christmas

An expat Christmas

Christmas is not about presents. It is about presence.
See ya in Sevilla

See ya in Sevilla

New Granadinos taking their first visit to Sevilla, we step into a controversy that has apparently long simmered, cual ciudad es mejor?
Venturing Out

Venturing Out

In theory, there is no reason why Santa Fe, Spain should still be of significance, let alone worth a day trip.  It is not an organic city, as it was intentionally founded in 1490 for one purpose, to be the tactical center of the Spanish army as it laid siege for two years to Granada. ... Read moreVenturing Out
Less is More

Less is More

"Less is more" is an attractive idea. But what happen when you actually live it? Read about our experience living with one-third less in Granada, Spain.
Circuit breakers

Circuit breakers

It is a typical morning. Jiab is going between writing, doing dishes, and managing cat food intake, while I am shuffling between writing, doing laundry, and scooping cat post food-intake outflow.  We move around each other in a Fandango of precision productivity, rehearsed almost daily as a common morning ritual. And then the power goes ... Read moreCircuit breakers
Poco a poco (little by little)

Poco a poco (little by little)

After two months in the beautiful, historic city of Granada, I’m looking back at what I’ve learned during my major-life-change move from Dallas. From the things that have been pleasantly nice surprises, to the things I’ve struggled with, it’s time for a pulse check, and I’m happy to share our findings. On the whole, two-months ... Read morePoco a poco (little by little)
Cuesta Molinos

Cuesta Molinos

I have a new addition to my morning ritual. As I have my coffee, enjoying that my being seven hours ahead of the US means my morning solitude will not be molested, I take time to research historical places that caught my interest the day before. It has become a treasured morning dip into the ... Read moreCuesta Molinos
Comida en común (Food in common)

Comida en común (Food in common)

Of all the hundreds of letters, comments, and questions we get on our blog, one of the most common is, “How is daily life different?” So, between Jiab’s detailed, financial planning and my ethereal philosophical musings, we thought we would give you a quick insight into a daily activity for us, grocery shopping. Everything is ... Read moreComida en común (Food in common)
Building a platform to FI (part 3)

Building a platform to FI (part 3)

Part (plank) 1 covered how we tackled and improved our financial lives by focusing on eliminating credit card debts and buying the right-size home. Part (plank) 2 covered how we looked for ways to minimize the outflow of money on the necessary expenses for most families – cars, cellular phone and utilities. In this last post ... Read moreBuilding a platform to FI (part 3)
Mudéjar

Mudéjar

For centuries, Granada was the point of convergence where North African Islamic and European Catholic cultures met. Unfortunately, too long was that convergence a front line of conflict. Everywhere you walk, there is some vestige or reminder of that contention, but often such ghosts of the past come in one of two forms. One kind ... Read moreMudéjar
Building a platform to FI (part 2)

Building a platform to FI (part 2)

Last week I covered how we built the foundation for a platform to get to the FI train – we stopped borrowing from our future selves by ensuring money inflow (income) > money outflow (spending). Once we got our finances in the black, we then moved to the next step: how to make that difference ... Read moreBuilding a platform to FI (part 2)
Building a platform to FI

Building a platform to FI

We have had a few requests asking us to discuss how we were able to retire earlier than the traditional retirement age and to share any tips that might help others. I will be honest; initially, we didn’t have a long-term plan to retire early.  We were pretty typical: two jobs, spending (or trying to ... Read moreBuilding a platform to FI
A tale of Two Kitties, part 2: Cat-apulting overseas

A tale of Two Kitties, part 2: Cat-apulting overseas

A continuation of the feline saga from Part 1. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  Looking back, it was a sign that things were going our way when our biggest concern in moving overseas was how to transport our two cats, Benjour (15 years old) and Sangria (6 months). ... Read moreA tale of Two Kitties, part 2: Cat-apulting overseas
A Tale of Two Kitties, part 1: Cats love chasing paper; humans, not so much.

A Tale of Two Kitties, part 1: Cats love chasing paper; humans, not so much.

We are self-admitted cat-crazed people. When our sons were young, we made a family plan in case of fire. We laid out exit routes with the plan to rally at the mailbox to make sure everyone was safe. Our boys asked about the cats, to which we assured them Jiab and I would make sure ... Read moreA Tale of Two Kitties, part 1: Cats love chasing paper; humans, not so much.
In Defense of Pun

In Defense of Pun

Jim's article as published in Commentary section in Dallas Morning News - June 9, 2018.
Making Cents of Spain

Making Cents of Spain

There’s bad news and good news about retirement. The bad news: It can be one step forward, two steps back. As many people are aware, America is having a retirement crisis: Americans need to save more than ever before in order to retire, yet a large percentage of people have very little saved. Due to ... Read moreMaking Cents of Spain
Heart of Spain

Heart of Spain

When one is considering a major move, such as we were with moving to a new country, there is often a fierce debate, not between husband and wife, but between head and heart. Some places make sense for all the rational, budgetary reasons, but they don’t fill one’s heart with a sense of “this is ... Read moreHeart of Spain
Of consulates, visas, and bureaucracy (a first encounter)

Of consulates, visas, and bureaucracy (a first encounter)

  Palmer, Ennis, Alma, Rice. “Huh,” I think, “Their first letters spell PEAR.” Such are the kind of inane musings one has looking at the names of small Texas towns between Dallas and Houston…at 5:00 am…for the third time in 2 days (and with one more trip back to go). Jiab and I are tired, ... Read moreOf consulates, visas, and bureaucracy (a first encounter)
Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

“Life’s is just OK, but …” Are you in this situation? You are in your second life (career, kids) and….. Your job is no longer meaningful. It isn’t bringing you the fulfillment you used to have. You go through your days on autopilot. You’re not psyched about the new “reorganization” your company just announced. You ... Read moreMind the Gap
Now you see it…

Now you see it…

Is just looking enough before taking the proverbial leap?   How do you know if you want to buy something? How do you know if something is right for you? Smart consumers, before they commit to spending money on a product, “check it out,” which for most of us means looking at it, “kicking the tires” ... Read moreNow you see it…
Trenches & Tapas

Trenches & Tapas

Trenches. When you think about that word, or imagine being in one, what is your gut feeling? Are you closer to feeling protected, safe from the dangers of the world as you hunker down till the threats have passed, or do you feel penned in, claustrophobic, choking on stale air? I definitely have strong feelings ... Read moreTrenches & Tapas
When To Start the Third Life?

When To Start the Third Life?

For many, the decision is involuntary due to being laid off and unable to find a new job. For a lucky few, it’s a self-determined decision planned in advance. Obviously, being given a choice and leaving on one’s own terms is the preferred way to go, but it can also make for some anxious moments ... Read moreWhen To Start the Third Life?
Stop Treating Teachers Like Saints

Stop Treating Teachers Like Saints

Jim's article as published in Commentary section in Dallas Morning News – May 20, 2016.

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