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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 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 Black food bloggers out there doing amazing work right now, 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?
Wishing you lots of love and prayers for your IVF journey!
Rooting for your little embryo!
Praying for you and Barclay for a successful IVF journey!!
Thank you for all the links to get educated—I’m working on that too. Keeping you in my heart and cheering for your embryo—you guys are going to make the BEST parents!
Best of luck with your IVF.
Prayers that your little embryo “sticks!” Yes, Just Mercy the movie is great, but the book is even better. Also, I highly recommend your readers visit The Legacy Museum in Montgomery, AL, for an insightful and impactful look at systemic racism in the US and in our criminal justice system. The Equal Justice Initiative also is based in Montgomery.
Yes, yes and yes to all Sharon said!!! The book IS even better and the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace are so profoundly moving, sobering and educational to experience. I listened to the book on CD and hearing Bryan Stevenson do the reading was very moving to me. The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton is a memoir by one of the prisoners on death row Bryan Stevenson assisted and well worth a read as well! I look forward to checking out the links you shared and love that your parents are joining you in growing and learning!
As for your transfer, my heart is with you big time and I am praying for that little embryo to implant and flourish!!!
You just keep giving me reasons to be so thankful for your website!!
Hope everything will go well and you have a good news.
Genuinely so happy for all of you.
GO LITTLE EMBRYO GO! ❤️
Thank you for this beautiful, meaningful, and uplifting post. First, congratulations on your PUPO designation. May it become PREGNANT very soon! I’m writing this from the US and I’m so grateful for the courage and strength of all of those people determined to make a change that’s been way too long in coming. Seeing the pictures of Barcelona, my second favorite city (NYC is the first) is almost eerie. Could you stop into Escribà and just have something chocolate for me? All the best to you and Barclay, and your sweet dogs.
Sending good wishes your way. The very best of luck to you both?
Stick little bean, stick! I’m on the other side of my IVF journey but reading this post brought back all the feels. Sending hugs and sticky vibes ❤️?
So happy for you!
Sending you very positive wishes for your IVF journey. I’ve been going through the process for almost 6 years now and COVID almost derailed our transfer at the end of March. We persisted and our results are very strong right now. My heart goes out to anyone on this journey, especially now. Stay positive, stay healthy, and know that you are not alone. Wishing you all the best! Thank you for your posts and recipes!!
Your embryo news is better news than a new recipe! ? All the very best to you “three” from Montreal, Canada??.
My fingers are crossed for the little embryo! All the best wishes from Germany :)
Lovely, uplifting post, full of love and compassion. Wishing you and Barclay the best of luck in your journey towards parenthood.
Sending prayers and good thoughts your way! My daughter has two amazing little boys because of IVF….
Thanks for the food blogger links–I’ve been working to diversify the bloggers I follow, and your list was super helpful! Also, I enjoyed the quarantine update; it’s so fascinating to see how differently this has been handled in various places.
Best of luck, stay safe not sorry. Love you’re posts. Been missing my sushi too. Local food wagon lost their sushi chief and had no one experienced to continue, then all this hit the fan.
I love your posts! I love hearing about your life and seeing your amazing pics. I love to travel and love photography so your travels and pics are my favorite. I love the little life you are praying for. I will pray with you! Quarantining from PA!
Thank you for using your platform to talk about BLM. ?
SO happy for you, Barc, and Whipple (that’s what I’m calling your little embryo…lol). I’ll be praying to St. Gerard for your little family. Que Dios te bendiga a ti y a tu familia❤️❤️
Everything produced by the 1619 project is phenomenal. If you haven’t already, be sure to follow Layla Saad too. Her book will change your life.
Payer for you during your IVF journey, wishing you the best
Prayers for a very healthy, very sticky little bean! <3
What a beautiful couple and sending crossed finger wishes for embryo success!
Your positivity is so uplifting! Best of luck to you, thank you for sharing your journey!
I am a 72 year old white male and don’t often get excited. But when I saw the image of your embryo the words “Oh my God!” involuntarily escaped my lips. Congratulations you two. What timing, eh? Considering the method used, if it’s a girl may I suggest the name Ivy?
Thank you so much for your comments and, of course, the recipes. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Can’t wait to see the little one.
Best wishes for a great outcome with your IVF. Sending good vibes your way!
I’m really happy for you guys, God bless your little embryo!!!
Cheering for you from Guatemala <3
God bless your young lives…and that embryo…a/k/a a gift from Heaven!
Thank you for your voice and for spreading awareness about the black experience today. I enjoy making your dishes (which are always delicious) and I don’t know how to explain the feeling of warmth and love it gives me to see your words in this post. I relate to you and your family just as much as anyone else – I love to travel and love to eat. As a Black woman it saddens me every time I’m reminded that not everyone feels the same way, but your post gives me hope. Thank you for not just posting a statement, but for calling out the work that still needs to be done and for also providing readers with resources to discover Black talent and education. I wish you and Barclay continued luck on your IVF journey and pray for peace as you await the news.
Re: equal justice initiative, if you’re ever in Montgomery, Alabama, visit their museum and memorial. I was there last spring and it was incredibly powerful. Sending lots of love and good wishes for your little embryo!
I love your recipes, and now I love you as a person too! Thank you for this whole post. Sending sticky baby dust from Michigan/USA.
Thought provoking post.. made me wonder if listing black cook blogs/books isnt still segregating by skin colour? I mean noone would make a list of white cook blogs? Im not saying your wrong but just wondering if we maybe we all need to stop grouping people by the colour of their skin regardless of wether its a postive or negative way. Would a list of culturally influenced cooking blogs be a less skin colour orientated way of doing this?
Lifting you and your sweet family up while also giving thanks for your quiet, sincere wisdom and warm friendship. Thanks for the BLM lists. I have had no idea where to start to examine my white privilege reality and how to shred those edges to become a better human.
After watching a two night special with Oprah interviewing various people about the racial problem and how to address them. She interviewed Ibram Kendi, and immediately I ordered his book, “How To Be An Anti-Racist”. Being a 67 yr old white woman who lives in Alabama, I have seen racism all my life. It’s just now that I’ve taken the time, and made the effort to explore how it affects my black friends on a personal level. The press briefing from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom, opened my eyes. Today, I’ve read about the Turner Commission Report, that covers “Juneteenth”. You might be interested, but I’m certainly going to search for it online. I feel like most of the foods I grew up with could be considered “soul food”. You might not know it, but I always wondered why African Americans like things like chitterlings, cracklings, and pigs feet. As it turns out, during the days of slavery, the white people would feast on the best parts of the hog, and the slaves were given these leftover by-products. It makes me feel so ashamed.
Best wishes to you and Barclay on your IVF journey. Let us know when you get your blood tests this week..
Thank you for the lovely post. Thank you for sharing about a vulnerable topic such as IVF. Thank you for posting about BLM in such a supportive way. Thank you for highlighting George Floyd, a human being who deserves to be remembered. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with COVID-19.
Dear Ali & Barclay,
I had received the gift of discovering this fantastic site a while ago (so long ago that I lost track of how long!). I cannot express how much I admire you both though I just “know” you through your videos, writing, etc. I have been behind schedule getting updated about how life in Spain has been for you both since “March 16th” (I refer to that date because it was the first day that my little one–not so little any longer, as they say, as 3rd grade has been completed–had to stay home due to the elementary school’s closure). I was so, so glad to read some highlights above (& look forward to resuming reading it soon). Congratulations about the embryo transfer!!! I am solidifying the positive attitude that you are expecting, Ali (ever since I found out about your beautiful wedding, I have been wondering whether you would like to become a mom)! I became a mom when I was in my early forties, so I think there is no such thing as impossible. Also, I know more than one mother who has had success via IVF. I wish you both laughter, love, health (& hope & strength that all of us need to get through the remaining time of this pandemic together), & a wonderful, magical adventure on your way to becoming the exceptionally compassionate, loving parents that I know you will be?
All the best,
I love your recipes and commentary! I am an old friend of Barclay’s from KC, and I just want you to know that I’m rooting for you and praying for a successful IVF. I know you’ll be great parents, and the little one will be very lucky to have you. Stay safe and healthy!
I really enjoyed this! Best wishes you’ll go from pregnant-ish to pregnant. I look forward to an update on that but also life in Barcelona.
It’s been 2 months…any sticky embryos?
Thinking of you❤️???
Thank you for the information and links. All lives matter and we should all act accordingly!!!
It was such a wonderful blog i barely read blogs,but when i search to read the interesting one’s yours appear and i am so glad your blog was not boring.All the best for the baby hope jesus will always stay with both of you and guuide you both through thick and thins.
Months later the image of George Floyd still affects me and brings out a few tears, if only this one man could have been afforded making a positive change while still alive. Seeing his image in Spain makes it more poignant (they’re/we’re not so enlightened here in Split). Anyway, I came for a chicken or bean recipe but am staying for the social commentary.
Let me add Michael Bennett’s book “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable” to your reading list–the insight into college sports alone is worth the read as are his thoughts around taking a knee. As a knitter, I’ve been following Dana Johnson’s “Yards of Happiness” blog (which is also feature on Modern Daily Knitting’s blog), as well as GG Made It, and am listening as the content has definitely changed. I also enjoy Natural Fit Foodie and Jessica in the Kitchen for food. Luvvie Ajayi Jones’ newsletters both crack me up and can be sobering. My views of American style capitalism have been forever altered by reading a couple of the 1619 Project essays when they first came out.
Lastly, your website is terrific–thanks so much–and don’t forget to VOTE on November 3.
I have missed you!! I’m happy that you are all well, and pray for a healthy baby for you both! God bless you!!!