First Dispatch: Greetings from Murcia, Spain

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Hi – my name is Ansley Evans. I am writing from the southeastern Spanish city of Murcia, capital of the region with the same name. Murcia has been my home since 2009, but I have lived in many places before this. Originally from Florida, I went to college in Colorado and then moved to Portland, Oregon, where I was rooted for ten years. My next permanent address (for over two years) was in Avignon, France.

All along, food has played a central role in making and maintaining connections with the places I’ve lived and people I’ve met. Through cooking and eating, I have not only experienced distinct cultures, but also have fed my nostalgia and shared my ever-expanding tastes of home with old and new friends alike. I am blogging as a way to share the food stories that inspire me, and to take part in a greater conversation about food and culture around the world, exchanging recipes, reflections and ideas.

On another level, this blog is a chronicle of my Spanish education through a largely food-focused lens. To be honest, the fact I live in Spain still surprises me sometimes considering I spent over twenty years of my life learning and teaching French. I continue to see myself as a Francophile, although my bond with Spain grows deeper each day.

While my French education began in the classroom, I am learning Spanish via immersion.  And some of my most memorable lessons have occurred in kitchens, around tables or with my elbow propped on a tapas bar, fork in hand.

Through food, I have begun to absorb Murcia’s geography – its seafood-rich coastline, its vegetable-abundant valley and its rugged interior known for tender lamb and hearty stews. I have learned recipes from local friends and shared recipes from my past, a process through which we have not only filled our bellies but have also built friendships. Food has been essential to my ongoing adaptation, helping me feel closer to home.

Why “go with curiosity”? Curiosity is my fuel, central to my daily life and travels. And writing is my favorite tool for further exploring those observations that begin with a Hmmm.... I started this blog as a place to share the experiences, mostly culinary, that fascinate and delight me, both in my immediate surroundings and the places I visit. I also see this space as a forum for discussion and exchange. So thank you for visiting, and please pipe in.

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