Chasing Windmills: A Spanish Adventure

IMG_2152“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies?  Perhaps to be too practical is madness.  To surrender dreams — this may be madness.  Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!” – Don Quixote

Spain is a country very near and dear to my heart.  My time working there as a Language & Culture Assistant gave me the opportunity to travel, meet incredible people, make life-long friendships, and experience some truly special moments.  One of my favourite adventures continues to be a spur of the moment trip to the town of Alcázar de San Juan, in Spain’s Castile-La Mancha region.  A fellow Language Assistant was visiting Madrid from Barcelona and had an idea for a very interesting excursion.  The goal was simple: visit the windmills famous in that part of the country, as it is said that it was this setting that inspired Miguel de Cervantes’ story of Don Quixote.  Brilliant!  So, we hopped a train and set off in search of windmills.

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About an hour and a half later we reached our destination.  The trick then was to figure out where exactly were the windmills.  I think we assumed there would be signs pointing the way as it is a famous part of the area, however this was not the case, and we set off into the sleepy little town in search of windmills… and food.  We did find food in the form of a charming Italian restaurant, and on the way came across Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Continue reading “Chasing Windmills: A Spanish Adventure”

The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

IMG_0019“I once read that the secret to happiness is having something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to love.  It must be true even if the love is contractual.”

During the holiday season, I always find myself gravitating toward sweet stories with themes of love, friendship, and connection.  While the holidays are a time for all of these things, at times all the noise and expectations can make it a time of great disconnect as well.  So what’s better than a story about lonely souls finding each other and making a connection?  The Mistletoe Promise is that kind of story, and one that is heartwarming and a wonderful chilly day read (accompanied by a cup of tea, of course).

The holidays are a lonely time for Elise, who has been on her own since her divorce, which came about as a result of her husbands infidelity among other issues.  The divorce along with a heartbreaking tragedy from her past, makes moving on very difficult for Elise.  One day, while having lunch at her usual place at work, she is approached by a stranger who she had noticed several times previously.  He is tired of being alone during the holidays, and proposes a deal in which they pretend to be a couple over the course of eight weeks, with the deal expiring on Christmas Eve.   Continue reading “The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans”