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Hey, friends. ♡
How are you doing today? Hangin’ in there? Finding a moment when you need it to recharge?
I realize that the last update I posted here was back in March, just a few weeks into what ended up being a very-long and very-strict period of quarantine here in Barcelona, which now feels like a lifetime ago. Then I actually started typing out this post two weeks ago around Blackout Tuesday, which also now feels like a lifetime ago with everything that has happened since.
Whew. These past two weeks have been heavy and hard, but so incredibly important. Here in our home, we have been immersing ourselves in the teachings and perspectives being offered by Black voices right now, trying to listen and learn more. But while both Barclay and I have always felt incredibly strongly against racial injustice and have been trying to educate ourselves more about the deep roots of our various forms of white privilege these past few years, I feel like these past two weeks have been a massive wake-up call to how much we still have yet to learn. And more, that simply learning and being quietly “not racist” is unequivocally not enough. It is our responsibility to be actively anti-racist — both in how we proactively take action in the world around us, and also in how we internally dig into the roots of our own conscious and unconscious biases and do the work to uproot them.
This moment of reckoning right now feels like a historical turning point for the world. But while it has been intense and hard and overwhelming to navigate at times — I’m hopeful.
Barclay and I talk often lately about the kind of world that our little IVF embryos might be able to grow up in. And while there is still obviously tremendous work to be done when it comes to racial justice in the United States and around the world, it has been encouraging to see more melanted voices being amplified, more people of privilege are speaking up and learning how to take effective action, and more policies being changed already as a direct result of those actions. It feels like we’re moving in the right direction, and I’m hopeful that we can continue doing the work to make the world a more just and safe place for future generations to grow up. We must keep doing the work.
Here in our house, we are setting aside time each day right now in our house to continue to educate ourselves about ways to take action to better support our Black brothers and sisters — both in the United States, here in Spain, and also in the small village in Mali, West Africa, where Barclay’s non-profit works. I also wanted to say that I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this space here, and have some ideas that I look forward to sharing with you soon about how our love of food (!) could bring us (you and me!) together to do some important justice work in the world. More updates on that to come. ♡
As for today, I’m sending each of you a big hug from Barcelona and hope that you are safe and well today. Here is a long-overdue update from our little corner of the world…
Our IVF Update
The day after my last update that I shared here, our IVF cycle ended up being officially put on pause while our fertility clinic had to close for a few months during Barcelona’s quarantine. But a few weeks ago, we got the call that our clinic was being allowed to open again. And a week ago Tuesday, Barclay and I got to hold hands and watch live on a screen as our first little embryo was placed in my body. And wow — I don’t even have words to describe it — the whole experience was just incredible. ♡
So, we are now what doctors call “PUPO” (pregnant until proven otherwise). Or as Barclay and I have taken to calling it, “pregnant-ish.” We will return to our clinic later this week for a blood test to find out if our embryo was able to stick and if we are officially pregnant. Whew — we will see. They always say that this particular wait feels like an eternity for IVF patients. And sure enough, I’ve been a bundle of nerves these past 9 days as we have been waiting to learn more. But we’re doing our best to lean into hope and soak up these special pregnant-ish days while we have them.
Just to let you know, Barc and I are planning to take whatever time we need as a family to process this week’s news, so it may be awhile before I’m back here with an update. But we continue to be so deeply thankful for all of the love and prayers and sticky embryo vibes that you have been sending our way. And we look forward to sharing more with you when we’re ready.
In the meantime — ánimo, sweet embryo. ♡ Barclay and I are rooting for you with our whole hearts.
*For anyone interested in reading more about our IVF/infertility journey, I share more on my personal Instagram.
Black Voices I’m Learning From
Probably like all of you, my social media feeds are overflowing right now with excellent resources for how to learn more and how to get involved in supporting our Black brothers and sisters. So instead of adding to those, I thought I would highlight a few from those lists that I have personally learned from this week:
- Videos: I know that this video of Trevor Noah has been widely-circulated, but his explanation of our broken social contract is one of the best I’ve heard. I’ve also been thinking about this video from Kimberly Jones all week.
- Books: Currently reading Ibram Kendi’s book, How To Be An Anti-Racist, for a book club discussion with friends. (His interview on Brene Brown’s podcast was excellent.) I also just finished Red At The Bone (fiction), which I thought was so beautifully written and would highly recommend.
- Movies: Barclay and I donate to the Equal Justice Initiative, and just watched True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight For Equality. (Next, we hear that we need to follow it up with “Just Mercy” — have you guys watched that one?) We are also planning to go back and re-watch 13th — it has been a few years.
- Podcasts: Not sure how I never listened to Code Switch before now, but I’m loving and learning a lot from it. Our parents are also listening to the 1619 podcast for the first time right now (so powerful, highly recommend if you have not listened to it), and we are planning to discuss it soon as a family.
- Black food bloggers: There are so many amazing Black food bloggers out there doing amazing work, but a few I have really been appreciating this week for the recipes and honest thoughts they share include Sweet Potato Soul (Insta/blog), Marisa Moore (Insta/blog), All The Healthy Things (Insta/blog), Grandbaby Cakes (Insta/blog), The Kitchenista Diaries (Insta/blog) and Food Heaven (Insta/blog). If you have begun following new Black food bloggers lately, btw, please be sure to support them by engaging with their content beyond “liking” a photo. If you leave comments, make recipes, post photos — those actions are much more helpful in building platforms.
- Black voices on Instagram: In addition to some of the Black writers/activists/teachers I follow (many of whom are on this list), I’ve really been enjoying these new-to-me accounts this week too: @ohhappydani (great illustrations and talks on Insta stories) @monachalabi (thought-provoking illustrations), and @iamtabithabrown (I’ve gone back and watched so many of her old videos and just adore her).
Pandemic Life in Barcelona
I’ve still been getting lots of questions about how quarantine and pandemic life are going here in Barcelona. And I’m thankful to report that — finally! — Barcelona was just allowed to pass into Spain’s “phase 2” this week. Which means that for the first time in 3+ months, we can:
- go outside at any hour of the day, hallelujah (instead of having outside time restricted to specific “exercise hours” each day)
- eat inside at restaurants again (at 30% capacity)
- stay in a hotel (common areas 30% capacity)
- go shopping at all of our favorite places and go to museums (at 30-40% capacity, depending)
- swim in the oceannnnnnn
We are still being super-cautious, especially while we are in the middle of IVF. But whew, the entire city here is thrilled that our numbers have decreased and that we can officially pass into this next phase. For those who don’t know, Barcelona’s quarantine ended up being incredibly long and strict — we couldn’t even leave the house to exercise or take a walk each day for nearly two months. (My heart especially went out to all of the families with kids who had to keep them locked indoors for nearly two months, which is all the more difficult in Barcelona where homes are quite small and most don’t have a terrace/backyard.) But thankfully the intense quarantine served its purpose and our numbers went dramatically down, so there’s a strong sense of pride here that we did what we needed to do and made it through.
That said, now that everyone is back out and about, it’s absolutely wild to experience this city without tourists! We realize this is probably going to be a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing for Barcelona. And all of the locals can’t stop talking about finally “having our city back,” and how fun it has been to return to some of the over-touristed areas again now that they are peaceful and quiet. Our neighborhood has also been experimenting with blocking off traffic on major streets and opening them up to pedestrians on the weekends, which has been super fun and lets us see the neighborhood through new eyes. We make sure to take our dogs for walks there on the weekends and have been loving it.
But that said, it’s definitely a two-sided coin. Barcelona’s economy proudly runs on tourism, and we have many friends whose jobs have been completely upended by the travel bans. So while we’re all soaking up the quiet and freedom of the streets now, we hope that visitors can safely return and that the city’s economy can rebound again very soon.
Things I’m Loving Right Now
I feel like I had so many things to share with you in this section this month, and now I can hardly think of any of them. That said, here are a few faves come to mind, plus some photos from around here this past month or two:
- Sushi Sundays: If you follow my Insta stories, you probably know that Barclay and I developed a new tradition of making DIY sushi rolls each Sunday during quarantine while all of our fave sushi places were all closed. But I’m happy to say that the tradition is still continuing post-quarantine (sans raw fish, after my embryo transfer) and we are loving it! If you love sushi, I highly recommend giving it a try.
- Schitt’s Creek: I know I know, we are like 5 years late to the party, but we finally started watching this show a few weeks ago and are obsessed. If you’re a fan, you absolutely have to watch this YouTube vid too.
- Queer Eye Season 6: Also — no surprise — I’m currently loving the new season of Queer Eye. We’re five episodes in and trying to pace ourselves so that it’s not over too soon, but I have no doubt we will binge the rest of the season before the week is over. These heartwarming episodes have been just what I needed during our anxious two-week-wait with IVF.
- Obe Fitness: During the months of quarantine when we couldn’t go outside, I started experimenting with some new indoor online workouts and fell in love with Obe. I’ve especially enjoyed their various yoga and low-impact dance cardio workouts. And even though I’m sure I look ridiculous trying to do those dance moves, hey, they’re fun and make me want to workout. So I’m into it.
- Summer Bucket List: I always love following Joy The Baker’s bucket lists, and am planning to take some time this weekend to sketch out one for myself this summer. Do you do bucket lists? Anything fun on yours this (unusual) year?