Chapter 11: Teeny Tiny Itsy Bitsy

Uncle Jimmy!

I was recently thinking about your old apartment.

When we visited, it always felt so much smaller than our house, but yet somehow far more weirdly exciting. Especially with all of those trinkets you brought home from around the world.

Our current apartment here in Barcelona isn’t what you would call overly large either. Then again, neither is our home in Key Largo. There we (purposely) live in a 33’ travel trailer. Basically, around 290 square feet. Our current residence in Spain is 322. Quite the expansion. 🙂I sometimes get lost inside.

Let me see if I can describe the place.

It’s on the first floor, which is actually one flight of stairs up. Europeans count starting at zero. Once you navigate the narrow steps to the first landing, there are two tiny doors side by side. Each apartment takes up exactly half of the obviously small building. Ours faces the back.

The inside is fairly narrow, and with the exception of the bath, is just a single space. To your right as you walk in, the “bedroom”. A queen-sized bed against the far wall with just enough clearance to side-walk down each side. A wardrobe at the foot of the bed that delineates the ‘room’. Next to it, the living area, which is comprised solely of a futon and a TV stand. Past that, a dining room table in the same general area as a small galley kitchen. And that’s it.

The overall effect is strangely one of spaciousness. There are three French doors leading out to a single narrow balcony, one from each ‘room’. And by narrow balcony, I mean two people couldn’t pass each other, even if they sucked in their tummies. But it’s a nice place to get some air, and to watch the world loudly pass by underneath of you.

Everything that came with the place is just as minimal. Nothing more than what you absolutely need. Which for us is a tad shy of perfect. But nothing that a trip to IKEA didn’t solve.

The bed is actually incredible. It’s hard as a rock, but somehow just right as far as support. The dining room table makes for a great work desk. And there is actually more storage space here than we could ever use. So yes, it’s just 322 square feet, but it couldn’t be more suitable.

It’s sort of funny, but we really feel like we belong here. Then again, we’ve said the same thing with just about every place we’ve ever rented while traveling. Somehow they quickly become our home and life just works. It doesn’t seem to matter that someone else owns everything. For the months/weeks we are there, everything is just ‘ours’.

Now, that doesn’t mean that Nikki hasn’t done a little customizing. I don’t think there’s a single place we’ve rented for more than a week that she hasn’t made her own. Colorful fabrics thrown all over. Extra shelves in the bathroom. Rearranging. I love that she takes a few moments at each beginning to make sure what we have is just right for us, so we can spend our energy living outside of it.

So there you go. We’re living in a place that is probably half the size of your old one bedroom apartment. And loving it.

Well, dearest uncle of mine, time to go be outside of this palatial estate for a bit. I’ll write again soonest.

Love, Rick

PS: Aren’t you proud of me for not making a bad joke about the size of where you’re living now?

PPS: Do you ever … no, I still can’t make a joke. Ignore me. And please don’t get up to answer the door. 🙂

LETTERS TO A DEAD UNCLE

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