Paul McMahon: And It All Ends With A Whimper, Not A Bang

The much ballyhooed final installment of PMac’s Big Adventure is online. If you missed the first two parts click here to read them.

Now that the PMacs have landed in Seville, I hope to hear more about their expatriate adventures. I think a periodic Letter From Seville is in order.


And It All Ends With A Whimper, Not A Bang by Paul McMahon

When we last checked in on our heroes, it was shortly after their third Covid test in five days, and while they were holed up in the charming confines of the Hilton Dulles Inn. Will they make it to Seville before their 72-hour benchmark on their most recent Covid test expires? Will their already departed luggage be in Seville once/if they arrive? Will Ms. Pmac have grounds for justifiable homicide when the inevitable happens and she wrings the neck of our beloved hero? These, and more questions will be answered on the third installment of When the Yat Turns!

So, we depart the Dulles Inn and make it to the similarly named airport. The agent at the United desk takes one look at us, and proclaims, “You guys look tired as hell. What are your names, and I’ll look up your info while you sit over there”, as he points to a lounge area. Without any hesitation, we agree and sit our asses on the cushioned chairs while he reads over the narrative of Team Pmac. After about 20 minutes, he emerges with boarding passes in hand, and $40 in airport vouchers with a request that we use them for a much-deserved last drink on American soil. Ms. Pmac grabs the vouchers, looks at me and then retorts, “what about his drink?”

So, we (I mean she) get our throats sufficiently quenched, and head to the boarding gate for our flight to Frankfurt. Kinda feels like a high school reunion since we recognize several other faces from the 48 versus 72-hour Covid test debacle from the previous day. Not wanting to sit for two hours and face another bout of excruciating rejection, we decide to have our boarding documents prechecked at the gate and are even more euphoric when we are told that all is in order for our sojourn to Deutschland.

We arrive in Frankfurt, check on the status of our previously departed bags and are advised that all are found and will accompany us on the trip to Seville. We board the plane for the final leg of our odyssey and arrive in our new homeland at noon on Easter Sunday.

In keeping with the religious nature of the day, miraculously all of our bags are awaiting us in Seville. While we had braced ourselves for an elongated visit with the immigration authorities in Spain, we departed the plane, grabbed our bags, and proceeded to hail a taxi and in less than 20 minutes. So far, so good as expatriated Sevillians.

Now, one slightly overlooked aspect of this adventure is that we booked our apartment without ever having physically visited it. The intricacies of obtaining a Spanish visa include that you submit proof of a minimum, pre-paid, 6-month apartment lease. We spent hours scouring various internet-based listings before we settle on our new home, smack in the middle of the old town section, an area that we had visited and loved in the halcyon, pre-Covid days.

One thing that we failed to take into account was that many of the streets in our new neighborhood are inaccessible by today’s modern vehicles. Hell, they are inaccessible by yesterday’s older vehicles, since street widths are often no more than 3’, sidewalk included. The memories of those streets came flooding back when our cab driver announced that we were at the end of our journey but faced a seven-block walk with the familiar 4 pieces of luggage, dog in a carrier, guitar in a case and 4 carry on pieces.

Undaunted, we (I mean me) carry our freight several pieces at a time and block to block, until we reach our new home. And discover that the elevator in our new home can only fit one person, and one suitcase per trip.

Ms. Pmac readily volunteers to be on the receiving end of our newfound freight forwarding company, while I feed the bags on the ground floor. When I accompany the last bag on my maiden voyage to the apartment, it finally hits me. The front door to the apartment is open, so I can view the inside of our place and I’m met with the vision of my wife staring out onto the town square located three floors down. I quickly join her and share that same panoramic vista and am simply overcome with a sense of exhaustion and relief. It was a hell of a journey, one that neither of us could ever have predicted (and, maybe would have opted to stay state side if we could), but the pay off made it all so worthwhile. We are home, ladies and gentlemen.

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