The space-in-between (and some perfect empanadas)

I’m in the air somewhere above the Atlantic.

Argentina (where, for a bit over 3 years, I’ve been learning to live the life I want) is behind me; England (where, for 43 years, I struggled to live the life I thought I should want) is about four hours ahead of me. C., the man I love the most, is in the seat beside me, watching the Spanish-dubbed Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp romp through their very own Wonderland. My parents are driving through the early hours down the M6 to meet us. I’m wrapped in two blankets, cloaked in the ear-plugged peace of a British Airways night flight, and filled with a tranquility that surprises me, but that is oh-so welcome.

This is my third trip back to Inglaterra since I first flew to Buenos Aires in 2007, and it will be the longest so far (if we stick to the dates on our tickets). As I wrote in my last post, I’ve done the absolute minimum of planning, barely making any arrangements or promises, thus keeping the sense of freedom that I now know I need for joy. I’ve also avoided the pre-departure emotional roller-coasters that were once a habit: I remember last year’s slightly nostalgic walk from the last milonga before my departure (minor dramatics) and I recall the year-before’s alarmingly emotional upheaval, as illustrated by my reaction to simply being on a plane headed towards Britain (major dramatics). That I can now sit here with a calm and happy heart, tells me mucho. If you read those two past posts, I think you’ll feel the change in energy. Getting gradually more balanced, no?

In all my life, I never found it easy to leave a place. I used to be the sort of person who’d run back to re-check the door was locked (twice), or phone a friend from the airport to ask them to go and do it. I’d get in the taxi and let my mind run over every possible thing I might have forgotten, until I found something… and I always found something.  If a re-check was impossible, I’d sometimes allow myself to worry about the thing for days into my travels – not constantly or too overtly, you understand, but kind of secretly, in moments when I was alone or in moments when I didn’t think you’d notice. But, of course, the people close to me always noticed, because you can’t be fully present when you are worrying, can you? I’d appear distracted  and sometimes be intolerant too, because someone I love would want my attention and I’d be preferring to devote that attention to the pointless, time-wasting fears and frets of VOD. How damn daft is that?

Preparing to leave Buenos Aires this time, I made the decision I just wasn’t going to do any of that stuff. And I didn’t. It was that simple. I had one wobbly day when I was exhausted from working too hard towards the publication (still aiming for the coming weeks) of Happy Tango and realised that I wasn’t going to be able to do everything I’d hoped to do in the days available. But, as is my new way (determined to change old and joyless patterns), I accepted it and relaxed my thinking accordingly. I didn’t get all my work done, so I was right in that matter, but the world sure kept turning. I’m on the plane and I’ve told my Mum I’ll be working next week. Life goes on.

In addition to accepting that I wasn’t going to fit all the work in, I played a bit harder for good measure. Me and C. got invited, by one of the most generous-hearted people I know, to learn how to make empanadas with a top cook called Teresita who lives about an hour from Buenos Aires. We ended up dancing tango for the assembled guests, C. got gorgeously talkative (on a few sips of some rather super Argentine vinos) and I got to eat heaps of mini-pasties that tasted as if they’d come straight from empanada heaven. If you fancy an off-the-beaten-track foodie experience while in Buenos Aires, check out the photos of our fun and Teresita’s website to find out about the sort of cool time you could have.

And any last tangos? Well, I did them too. Had to savour being in the arms of those ‘milongueros I love the most’ before hitting the dance floors of the Reino Unido, didn’t I? But, I’m looking forward to a spot of UK tango, I confess. Got some research on the gift to be doing and I can’t wait to get started. I’ve even got other tango bloggers sending out pleas for me on that score (Mark, you’re an angel). Here’s my own request. Brit boys, please ask me to dance and show me that you know the secret… that’ll be wicked!

I’m now two hours away from touchdown, so they’ll be bringing the breakfast out any minute and I’ll have to sign off. But, I’ve done what I needed to do. I wanted to write this post in the air, in the world of zero responsibilities, where I’m in neither of the lands I love. I figured that up here, where my thoughts can’t be distorted by being in either one place or the other, I’d be able to see my latest truths. And I do.

In this precious ‘space-in-between’, I’m not thinking beyond hugging my Mum and Dad in Terminal 5 and checking out the World Cup TV schedules in the Radio Times, asap — gotta make sure that Carlos can get to watch the Argies win their group games and that I can watch England win theirs. And, that is it. No worries. No frets. No looking back. No looking forward. No VOD.

Hey, I have exactly the life I want! There. Here. Anywhere. Now.

Fact is, tonight (and tonight is all that exists), I am truly grateful to be flying into the dawn above the beautiful, British corner of The Universe that for the next few months will be our home.

22 Replies to “The space-in-between (and some perfect empanadas)”

  1. Hi sal
    Welcome back to the UK, are you sure you turned of the gas?
    Sorry couldnt resist it !!
    Now that you are VOD free and over here I will look forward to sharing the gift with you somwhere sometime on this trip and also getting a copy of your FIRST book.
    Thats positive for you

    1. JB, Ha bloody ha!
      Won’t stop as gotta get that book to print. But see ya soon, I hope. Planning to be at the Tango Tangk milongas ( weekend of 25/26/27 June if that might suit, though realise it is possibly a bit of a trek for you guys… anyway, will post further tango plans as they firm up!
      Besitos, SC

  2. Hi Sally,

    I don’t know about more balanced, but definitely calmer and more in the moment. It sounds like the meditation etc. is paying off. At this rate you’ll be more Zen and Buddhist-like than Leo Babauta at

    It’s tempting to think you’ve reached your destination but of course the journey goes on. Enjoy it 🙂


    1. Hello Mark,
      Yeah, I like Zen Habits – cool blogger, eh?
      No, there’s no destination, as you say my friend, just the journey… though it seems that my journey is enabling me to touch calmer places within. That surely must help when the road gets rockier. I am enjoying it, that’s for sure: Rachel’s organic low fat vanilla yogurt with Dorset Cereals honey granola and fresh blueberries for breakfast – heaven. Honestly, being faced with the vast range of foods in a British supermarket leaves me wondering whether I won’t put on about ten kilos while I am here… 😉

      And you, keep enjoying your adventure…
      Hasta lu chico,

  3. What a beautiful post. What a fabulous idea to write in the air, between our two lands. Wish I could feel that calm so high above ground. Had tears in my eyes as I read about your impending hug with your parents – made me wish I was coming too (perhaps I’ll use my ticket after all…). Wishing you the most amazing time, taking it all in fully. Much love, J-A x

    1. Ah, thank you for your happy wishes, dear J-A
      Yes, we who know what it is like to fly towards our parents after months apart from them, know… don’t we? Tears in the eyes, I understand.

      Spent today working on the manuscript layout (as it rained outside!). Almost done, almost done… thanks in HUGE part to you. So you are very much with me in these first British days. Very much. And that is fab!

      Warmest of hugs, SC

  4. Good to read about your thoughts on the trip over – writing must have helped to pass the time, too. Shame you missed our summer – it was on Saturday!!
    Hope we can meet up when you’re here, don’t forget to contact me if you need any help or a bed for the night.

    You should get a good welcome at Bramshaw. As you will remember, the floorcraft outside of BuenosAires generally leaves a lot to be desired. I think that a few of the Leaders at Bramshaw are beginning to understand what a difference it makes, though. This last weekend it was the tea dance and I decided that I would only dance with Leaders who respected the ‘line of dance’ and I had a wonderful few hours of lovely dances.

    Take Care


  5. Hi ChristineH,
    As we came in to land (on Saturday morning) the pilot said, “It’s the hottest day of the year so far for the UK”. It was. It seems to have rained ever since! Still, my mum’s garden looks so beautiful and the rain will keep it that way, so I ain’t complaining.

    Excited to go to Bramshaw. Me and C. always get a fab welcome from all our friends there, and Steve and Debbie are always so very kind to us. We love Bramshaw! It really is our UK tango home. 🙂 Ta for all offers, too. Just playing things by ear for now. No firm plans, in the interests of freedom! Ha!
    Glad you had a happy time at the Tea Dance. Sounds super.

    Warm hug, SC

  6. I hope that you and Carlos have a fantastic trip Sally!!! And I love that you wrote that post from the space-in-between. I love space! In art I look at and in my own photography I am always fascinated by “negative” space- but I don’t like that term because negative or empty space simply makes me wonder about the beautiful potential of that space. Go and enjoy your English space and I’m crossing my fingers for Argentina, England and Italy in the initial rounds.

    .-= Christine in LA´s last blog ..6-6-2010 =-.

    1. Hi Christine in LA, so cool to know that you are reading 🙂
      In the air, on that plane, I saw myself in a very special space, outside of both my two physical lands and yet oh-so-comfortable in my own skin. It was quite powerful and something I will think about a little more when the work on this book is done.

      I think spaces are beautiful and they exist in tango too, in the pauses, the waits… ah now I’m off on another train of thought! But gotta get some sleep, so won’t write more now.

      Warmest of hugs and thank you for your good wishes.
      Here’s to the Mundial!!! SC

  7. Hi Sal
    lovely that you are here! Enjoy it all. Have fun. Perhaps our paths will cross. If not have to wait till September!

    1. Hi Helen, will let ya know if I am coming your way, otherwise, as you say, you’ll be coming mine… September will be here before either of us know it! Thanks for your happy wishes 🙂
      Big besos, SC

  8. “Here’s my own request. Brit boys, please ask me to dance and show me that you know the secret… that’ll be wicked!”

    If we end up in the same milonga you can count on it that I will ask and that I will try… I have something else for your “gift” research too =D


  9. Ah, Ms. Sally, how lovely! (And your older posts too!) I only got to spend a short time in Buenos Aires, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, because it was almost exactly a year ago that I went, and your beautiful posts are making me miss it still more.

    Enjoy a wonderful trip!
    .-= AccidentalTangoiste´s last blog ..OMG, shoes! =-.

    1. Hello AccidentalTangoiste!
      Apols for delay in replying – been doing my head in getting to grips with Adobe Acrobat Pro… the techie side of book publishing! Dreams and the reality of dreams eh?
      I’m so glad my BsAs posts bring the city back to life for you. I love writing about such a glorious place, and its tango. Writing about it reminds me how fortunate I am to spend so much time there.
      This time around in the UK, though I miss a few things about Buenos Aires, I am finding that I am truly happy to be here. Green and pleasant Shropshire. Mum and Dad. Lots of smiles.

      Thank you for your good wishes 🙂

      1. No need for apologies; the fact that you’re not chained to the computer means that you’re out enjoying your time in England–which is excellent, and exactly as it should be!

        Keep having fun!
        .-= AccidentalTangoiste´s last blog ..OMG, shoes! =-.

  10. This is such a moving post, Sal. A great idea to use the space in between and the time. I am getting used to employing that zone for thinking whenever I do the trip. It’s been so different, every time.
    I’m glad you’re enjoying the bounty of the UK’s supermarkets and getting through those final few pages and stages. Nearly nearly there. I’m rooting for you from here and can’t wait to see you there for a wonderful joyous collision of the two worlds!
    Much love Helen

    1. Hello dear H.
      Nearly there, my friend. Nearly there. I am so close now I can smell the pages!!! Pleeeeeeeeeeeease.
      Just a few techie things to sort out (she says breezily) and I’ll be doing the uploads. A proof copy next week is my goal. Cross fingers for me.
      And you let me know as soon as where that joyous collision of our worlds might be!
      Huge love, SC

  11. hi sally,

    good, good that you are writing this blog up in the air. i wish you and carlos a fine time in UK. hopefully england and argentina will have a face-off match in the World Cup.
    .-= Marvin Tejada´s last blog ..Parachute =-.

    1. Thank you for your kind wishes Marvin,
      C. is watching the first World Cup game as I type! Here’s to a great tournament for both the Argies and the Brits!
      And at last the sun has come out in England, and so I hope our summer has arrived.


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