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I lived in Spain for a semester of college. My roomie Briana and I lived in a small flat in Sevilla with a host family that spoke little English.  We'd originally been excited to escape Maine in January, but when we arrived in Spain, it was blustery with a dampness that chilled you to the bone. Inevitably, that whole month and the one to follow were filled with sickness and shivers, with only small bouts of feeling well in between. Our physical sickness filled us with homesickness. I remember dreaming of being at home in my mother's kitchen, playing with the dog and smelling supper - or better yet, chocolate chip cookies - cooking in the oven.  Afterward, I pictured her gently rubbing my feet and giving me cough syrup, my belly full and warm and my sinuses empty. 
There is no replacement, I have found, for your mother when you are feeling ill.  But I soon discovered that in Spain, if you can't have your mother, a warm slice of tortilla will often do in a pinch.  And there were many nights, around 10 PM when we were eating a modest supper with our mamá,, that I found comfort in the traditional meal of tortilla de patatas con corizo.   

 
 
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Today there was a blizzard. It started in the morning as a dreary drizzle, then the water began to freeze, and slowly, large, fat fluffs of snow began to swirl through the sky in a crazy dance. 
Today we celebrated the life of one of the most wonderful women I have ever known - my Aunt Becky.  Outside, while we navigated the icy roads to the service, the blizzard was slushy and dangerous and messy, but once we got inside the church, the snow falling outside seemed beautiful, harmless. 
Isn't that just the way life goes? At first, everything that hurts seems dangerous and messy.  It feels like your life is the blizzard and you're driving right through the middle of it without snow tires.  But then, once you get through the worst of it, you can look outside the window and see the beauty of it, even while knowing that just a short while ago it scared the bajeepers out of you. 

 
 
Some people choose to ring in the New Year with fancy diets and exercise plans.  And I respect that.  But I prefer to welcome it in with warm chocolate breakfast pastries. 
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