Written by Elle and Karrie
In late June and early July we were fortunate enough to have not one, not two, but three friends from Seattle come and visit us! For Elle and Karrie, having Sarah, Heidi, and Mary visit at the same time was the definite highlight of the summer.
For two wonderful years in 2013-2015, all five of us taught together in an elementary school in a suburb outside of Seattle. During this time, we all clicked professionally and also built friendships outside of work. We supported each other, learned from one another, and had great conversations over many bottles of wine together. Life happened and we each left the school for different reasons to pursue other professional pursuits. Some of us remained in close touch during this time, and others to a lesser extent, feeling more distant. Like so many people who get caught up in the day-to-day trivialities of life, we did not always cultivate our friendship in order to maintain it. Then in late September of 2017, a tragedy that shook all of us to our cores happened. One of our dear friends and former colleague, who was truly amazing in every sense of the word, tragically passed away during childbirth at the age of 28 after a completely normal and healthy pregnancy. We were all in shock and could not believe it. This horrible loss made us re-examine our priorities, and we all sincerely understood that we should not put off prioritizing the things that are truly important to us. So after many months of Voxer and Facebook Messenger exchanges, we had a plan to all reunite in Logroño, Spain to celebrate together the life and memory of our unequaled friend, Jane.
Sarah was the first to arrive, spending all of her trip right here in Spain. She stayed with M&K for several days and even traveled to Barcelona with us for a fun-filled weekend. Heidi was next to arrive with her husband and two kids. They planned a fantastic trip around several European countries and we feel so lucky that they made seeing us in Logroño a priority! The whole Quad plus Sarah met them at the bus station after the three hour journey from Madrid and walked them excitedly through the city to the heart of old town. They stayed in a lovely little Airbnb overlooking the main square and we were all very happy to see an air conditioning unit in their place (super rare here!) as the temps were in the balmy 90s.
Meanwhile, Mary and her husband Jared had started their trip in France and were making their way down to Spain to see us the next day. To add a fun twist, Mary’s trip was a complete surprise for Heidi and her family, so we had to work some magic on surprise night to make sure it was a success! Due to some complications on their journey, Mary and Jared were going to arrive in the evening instead of the early morning as planned, so we were all out enjoying some drinks and pinchos when their bus was nearing Logroño. Thanks to some sneaky texting, and Mike slipping away to “do some work” (see: pick up M&J from the bus station), we were able to pull off one of the greatest surprises! We will never forget Mary sneaking up behind Heidi and then seeing the tears of joy well up in Heidi’s eyes. The final two members of this special group had arrived and we were all ready to make the most of our precious time together.
Our Days in Logroño Together
Coordinating activities and meals for 11 people at once is not the easiest task in the world, but we did it without any issues! Luckily in Spain, outdoor seating at cafés is readily available and able to accommodate large parties. So we spent a lot of time enjoying light dishes and drinks at bars/cafés. This allowed for the five ladies to chat and catch up on everything while the guys and kids could chat or watch the World Cup games being shown everywhere on large-screen TVs at the bars. One of our visitors, a 15-year old boy, is obsessed with soccer, so we typically planned all of our activities around the World Cup schedule. We were all a bit devastated when Spain lost to Russia during one of our café hangouts all together.
Another easy way to accommodate our large group was to simply go to one of our favorite parks in the city, spread out some blankets and hangout for a few hours with snacks and a soccer ball and frisbee for entertainment. We feel so lucky that all of our significant others get along so well and can entertain themselves together while the ladies spent quality time together!
Never turning down an opportunity to play hosts, B&E also loved having the whole group over for snacks, drinks, and games at their place. Though just a tiny apartment, we were able to fit the entire group in somewhat conformably and loved playing cards and having the best conversations over a few bottles of Rioja’s best.
One of our final adventures only involved the Quad plus Mary and her husband, after Sarah and Heidi had already left Spain. The six of us rented the city bikes and rode to a park with a large lake and bar. When we left on our journey, the weather was sunny and beautiful. But once we arrived to the lake, the clouds rolled in and the rain started. Luckily we had no problem spending time at the bar on the covered patio enjoying drinks and snacks we had brought with us. So we waited. And waited. And waited for the rain to stop. After a few hours, we decided that the rain was not stopping any time soon, so we made a plan to just get wet and ride back to Logroño on our bikes. But once we stepped out from under cover and felt just how cool it felt, some of us decided that calling a taxi would be better! In an act of true Spanish friendliness, a nice older gentleman at the bar could tell we were struggling with a plan to return to the city. He was going back to the city center and could accommodate four of us in his car. Like the true chivalrous men they are, Mike and Mary’s husband, Jared, said they would return on the bikes so the rest of us could take advantage of the free ride back to Logroño. The plan would have been perfect if Karrie had remembered to get the keys from Mike before parting! But this mishap turned into a happy mistake, providing Karrie and Mary with some quality time together to spend at a café to have some great conversations until Mike and Jared arrived.
Memories that will last a lifetime
I don’t think any of us had felt Jane more in that first year of losing her than when we were all together sharing stories and memories and making new ones. We feel so incredibly, indescribably lucky to have these three women and their families in our lives. They were inspired by the brevity of life to choose joy and make the long trip out here to be together. We will always cherish those few days and will continue to choose one another and find a way to make even more beautiful memories together.
It so completly warms my heart to see all of your beautiful faces again and all together!! Every time I remember that Sarah (teaching ledgend) taught in my room I’m humbled and inspired. I miss all of you and am so grateful that our paths crossed.
Love it!!! So nice to see you enjoying yourselves and hosting friends too!
Looks like a wonderful reunion. A great reminder not to allow days to be consumed by tasks that are urgent but unimportant.