Been a little busy settling into D.C. but wanted to post about my last hours in Madrid.

So, last we found her, Karina was relaxing with a nice lunch, but her day was faaaaar from over….

The Sending of the Books.OMG! This was the hardest part of the move.

Part of my book collection set out for my mini-garage sale šŸ˜¦

Before sending books, of course, I had to weed out, to eliminate, to say goodbye to, as many of my little treasures as I could bear. I sold quite a few at a mini-garage sale type thing at my house to my friends (they know I have good literary taste, and were smart to take advantage) then sold what was left to J&J’s Books.

That left me with around 90 to 100 books. I had looked around online for cheap chipping services, but most sea-freight services are for total house moving – furniture and everything. This was just a couple large boxes of books, and it turned out that the post office gave me the best price, for their “economia” service.

All in all it was about 45 kilos over two boxes. Kilos. I have been in Spain for 6 years, everything is done in kilos, and yet still, I had no idea what a 30 kilos box of books (max is 30 kilos) would feel like. It felt like pain. It felt like I was doing something incredibly wrong to my back. And arms. And legs. Luckily I MacGyvered our shopping trolley into a dolly of sorts and hefted the boxes with a little help from my friends.

The post office guy was like “ok, just set that on the counter” and I was like “uuuuuuhhh, not happening.”

The Donating of the Clothes. Ugh. More hauling. Though this was physically and emotionally less traumatic than the books.

Saying goodbye to those strappy little black heels that had served me so well for so long šŸ˜¦

I had given away all the clothes I could, and then went on a brutal elimination campaign, which actually wasn’t so brutal, as a lot of my clothes weren’t fitting so great recently – Holiday Season Indulgence that I haven’t been able to work off. haha šŸ™‚ So that made it somewhat easier.

Then I searched online for a place to donate clothes. I had seen donation boxes, but only a couple of times, and always when I was out in the middle of nowhere. Online, I found Humana, which I realized a friend of mine had once told me about years ago. They’re an organization of charity shops that sell and arrage donations of used clothing.

And they’re awesome! And I discovered them on my last day! Aaaaaargh! Anywho, any of you in Madrid on a limited clothing budget should definitely go there. I hauled a shopping back, my backpack and my shopping cart over.

And on the way back, I felt it. That little tell-tale tickle in the back of my throat saying “hahahaaaa Karina, you’re getting sick!” Great.

The Packing (about time!!). Back at the flat, with the realization sinking in that running around sweating my ass off in the cold hauling boxes and bags around was going to stick me with a cold on my last day, I took aggressive action. I had some wine. I calmed down. Then I freaked out as I realized I had forgotten to pick up my red coat at the dry cleaners! Ahhhh, its was 7:55, and I was fervently hoping they did not close at 8 as I ran once again, panicked out into the cold. Phew! still open. Crisis averted. Back to the flat.

Packing wasn’t actually too hard. I didn’t even fill up the big expandable bag I bought. I had a successful culling of unnecessary possessions. It felt very cleansing. Very zen šŸ™‚

Only problem was I had waited til the last minute to do a load of laundry and it was all still wet (almost no one in Spain uses a drier). Yay.

The Last Supper. Similar conundrum to the Last Lunch. With similar, or actually identical solution. I took my man with me back to Tempranillo where I’d had lunch, to indulge in another amazing thing I had discovered during my last days in Madrid. A ā‚¬20 Magret de Pato (grilled duck breast) that is quite possibly the most delicious piece of meat I have eaten in Madrid. A friend of mine had introduced me to it just the previous Sunday. It comes to your table still sizzling. Still red on the inside, chucky salt on top, 3 tiny, tasty challots as a garnish. I could eat three all by myself. We split one. And the quail tosta. And the Priorat wine. Simple, lovely, and best of all, close to home.

Back at the house I continued to dry my laundry, rotating pieces in front of the gas heater that strikes most people as a death trap, but which I had grown fond of. With my feeling of rising fever, it was super fun to stand among my steaming clothes, thought I might pass out.

The Collapse. And so I did. Pass out. Sort of. It was a fitful feverish sleep. I didn’t have any dreams that I could remember. The room was mostly empty, and felt decidedly un-homelike. I couldn’t quite believe that I wouldn’t be sleeping there again the next day, that I would be thousands of miles away in a new place, in my old country. I knew it, but I didn’t know it. As I went to sleep, I just tried to tell myself, as I had (and have) been doing for days: one foot in front of the other, Karina, one foot in front of the other.