A Letter to Momma from your 28 year old Chiquita

A Letter to Momma from your 28 year old Chiquita

Dear Momma San,

What a whirlwind it has been traveling with you in Europe for the second Momma/Daughter trip of a lifetime (+ celi). I cannot begin to tell you how much joy I experienced while sharing days and nights with you (and the sister too) throughout northern España and all over Portugal. This time I felt there was a bit of a role reversal for us. Since you were traveling from Los Angeles all the way to Europe by yourself, I felt I had to take on a motherly role. Firstly, I needed to be in constant contact with you leading up to your trip, making sure you had everything you would need, providing you with suggestions and even long meticulous lists of must-bring items. Then, when you were flying, I wanted updates each time you made it to one of your changeover/layovers in a new city. “Don’t forget to call me, or write me okay? Don’t forget!!” Sounds just like something a mother would say. I had already been bragging about you to all my fellow teachers and my friends here in Galicia months earlier, “She’s coming she’s coming!!” Moms love to brag about their little ones. When you were finally about to arrive in my town of Lugo after almost 24 hours of traveling, I was there waiting at the bus station nearly an hour before. Yup, I had the butterflies and wanted to be there the MOMENT YOU ARRIVED, and not a minute later.

Your reaction was one I captured and will remember for a long time to come, PURE JOY on your face and in my heart too. My little one had finally arrived safe and sound.

She's Arrived!! Momma's in Spain!
She’s Arrived!! Momma’s in Spain!

As a 28 year old woman who is single, without children, and often away on adventures, far away from Familia, from my roots, from the familiar and comfortable things that make me warm and fuzzy inside, living in España for almost 4 months (the second longest period of time I have been away from home) and missing my loved ones was catching up to me slowly. When we booked your trip in January, I could finally breathe again. I had something HUGE to look forward to. More adventures with you, this time in España and Portugal, were on the horizon. Countdowns kept me on schedule and motivated me to carefully plan Parte 2 de nuestras aventuras en Europa. Oh the Places You’ll Go. . . Dr. Seuss knew best.

Portugal Spain Collage

A few things I learned about you Momma on this trip are as follows:

  • You can drive MANUAL like a god’s honest European (after a few days of practicing). Since Celi and I cannot drive a stick-shift car,  you really came to the rescue and saved us a heap of money. You were on your HOLIDAY, and you didn’t mind driving every few days to get us to all those destinations in Portugal. With some navigating assistance by yours truly and Celi whenever she wasn’t feeling sick, the three of us were A GREAT TEAM. I’m so proud of us. You have now received your crowning as an honorary European, having driven in 3 European Countries.
  • You love NEW experiences. In Ireland, it was the gorgeous countrysides and driving on the wrong side of the road and car that stimulated and fascinated. In España and Portugal, it was the breaks for cafecito or una copa de vino/vinho that you truly enjoyed. It was the various languages that you couldn’t always follow (Galego, Portugués, possibly a colloquial Castellano word/phrase here or there too). . . I was definitely lost in Portugal half the time, wishing my ears would help me understand that beautiful idioma/language. But it was all part of the experience; The NEW! The buildings in big cities and towns alike, with a unique architecture and style were lovely to see as well. There is nothing quite like the azulejos on the exteriors of Portuguese buildings, especially in Porto and Lisboa.
Lisboa days, Alfama District
Lisboa days, Alfama District
Lisboa streets, Azulejos <3
Lisboa streets, Azulejos <3
QU-EEN in Lisboa, Portugal
QU-EEN in Lisboa, Portugal
A closer look at Lisboa's Azulejos
A closer look at Lisboa’s Azulejos
  • You are up for ANYTHING. From our solo explorations, to multiple-hour guided walking-tours, to a relaxing lazy beachy day, to a slightly hectic day trip amongst a swarm of tourists, rain or shine, cold or temperate climate, you didn’t complain and reminded me time and again that traveling is about the people with you, sharing and exchanging true moments and laughs. You could have been frustrated when getting slightly lost or off track, or whilst sneaky tourists cut in line outside of the Sintra Castle, or when they charged us extra for bread, cheese and olives (so wrong Portugal! don’t mess with my love for food), or perhaps when I  booked a Room for 2 people instead of 3 and planned to switch clothes with Celi so she could pass for me. Haha I thought it was a good plan . . . but you kept it POSITIVE, always, and I love you for that.
Serenity is key. Baleal's waters make it easy.
Serenity is key. Baleal’s waters make it easy.
Views of Porto from across the bridge
Views of Porto from across the bridge
Vila Nova de Gaia
Sister Sister time: “las princesas”
my loves in Porto, Portugal
my loves in Porto, Portugal
Medieval Óbidos, Portugal
Medieval Óbidos, Portugal

I think what I love most about our entire experience is that we allowed the Universe to guide us, enjoying whatever came our way. Sure, there wasn’t always peace between Celi and me, and I’m sorry for that, but we found ways to deal with all the elements of the trip. Sickness, grumpiness, and disagreements couldn’t stop any of us from experiencing. It’s all a part of Life’s Challenges.

You nailed it when you said one day I could tell my grandchildren about our Trip throughout España and Portugal. I surely will. I’ll tell them that their great-grandmother, Leticia del Río, was a great traveler. She saw more of the world on our trips and opened her mind and heart a bit more each time.

Momma in Baleal, Portugal
Inspired on Portugal’s Praia de Baleal

I’d like to tell you now, that although I have always been your daughter/MIJA (MI HIJA= “my daughter” in Spanish), and even if you still call me your CHIQUITA (little one) as I am the younger of your daughters,

I’m happy to say that we are GREAT FRIENDS NOW TOO. . . Great friends that can share time and space, cultures and languages, highs and lows, really we can share it all. Nothing is off-limits.

Speechless at Sinta, Portugal
Speechless at Sinta, Portugal
del Rios Take Portugal
del Rios Take Portugal

**Gratitude and love to those of you that sent us love while we were traveling around. We felt the love. Our trip was so blessed, MAGICAL even. New ideas for how to share these very special Spain and Portugal travels/and stories are bubbling and brewing in me. Cannot wait to get going. I especially want to share many Photographs that to me, tell a story all their own from the various cities and barrios we were honored to experience.

Come back soon and SUBSCRIBE to this QU-EEN’s blog if you want ideas and advice for traveling through Spain and Portugal, and other parts of the world I have travelled to. 

#delriosTakeEspaña and #delriosTakePortugal

 

2 Responses

  1. Jenny Jenike

    This is so beautiful! I work with your mom and she is a true inspiration! Such an amazing trip of a lifetime. I can only hope that my daughter and I can do something like this when she is older. Thank you for sharing.

    • QUIEN ES ESTA NINA

      Jenny, thank you for reading. I am happiest when I get to tell a little of my personal experiences and life lessons to those willing to read. The trips I have taken with my Mom were long overdue. You know it just hit me 2 years ago, that my Mom was the type of mother/woman/person that would grow and thrive from seeing a new part of the world, and I had the capacity to make that idea a reality. So I did, and then we went for Part 2 of the adventures this year as I am now living in Europe. I hope you and your daughter could bond in this way one day. It has changed my perspective very much on our relationship, for the better. CHEERS!

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