Gimme Some Oven

I’ve Been Dying To Tell You Something For Awhile Now…

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In just 3 months!

And I’m thrilled to finally tell you all about it today!  ???  Seriously, I’m the worst at keeping secrets, so it has been killin’ me to keep this on the DL these past few months while while we have been wrapping up some logistics.  But I’m happy to say that our plan is now officially a go, and in three short months, Barclay and I are going to be packing our bags and flying across the ocean to our new home sweet home in Barcelona.  And we cannot wait to get this adventure started.

So for anyone interested, here’s the FAQ on our big move!

(And quick spoiler alert: In case any of you were wondering, hakuna matata — I’m not quitting the blog.  ?  All things Gimme Some Oven will totally be continuing here just like usual while we’re in Spain, although you can definitely count on some new tapas recipes comin’ your way soon!)


Wait — what?!  You’ve moving abroad?!?  How long have you guys been planning this?

We’ve actually been planning this move for nearly 9 months now.  And believe it or not, we’ve actually been talking about it ever since our first date, when we were amazed to learn that we both dreamed of living in a Spanish-speaking country someday.  I think we figured that a move abroad might happen somewhere down the road, maybe 5-10 years from now.  But the more we talked about it, the more we realized that our stage of life right now — both of us in good health, no kids yet, flexible jobs — made so much sense.  Plus, we loved the idea of starting our marriage off with an adventure, and knew it would force us to lean on one another and grow in ways we might not experience with all of our amazing support systems here at home.

So anyway, we settled on the idea of moving to Spain around the time we got engaged (last Christmas), and then we have been working on the logistics to make it happen ever since (<– slowly working, that is, since simultaneously planning a wedding and moving houses and putting a house up on the rental market turned out to be a lot of work ?).  Now that we’re home and everything else has wrapped up, though, we’re excited to finally have the bandwidth to primarily focus on getting things ready for Spain.  And of course, making the most of our last 3 months in Kansas City.  ?

So when are you moving?

Tentatively October 1.  We may have to bump things back a few weeks if our visas are not ready by then.  (<– We had to wait until this summer to apply, since my name change affected nearly all of our application documents, passport, background checks, etc.  So we’re cutting things a wee bit close with the visa application timelines.)  But if all goes according to plan, we’ll be there in less than 3 months.

How long will you be living in Spain?

Right now, we’re planning for about 2 years there.  But who knows, we’ll see how life unfolds!

Why did you choose Spain?  And specifically, Barcelona?

Good question!  Both of us have spent considerable time over the years studying Spanish, but are not yet completely fluent.  So when we started talking seriously about living abroad, it was a no-brainer for both of us that we wanted to choose a Spanish-speaking country in hopes of making some significant progress with the language.  We considered just about every Spanish speaking country in the world, and narrowed things down to Costa Rica, Argentina and Spain.  But while the latter two would have been awesome, Barclay and I both just really really love the city of Barcelona.  We love the vibe there, we love the incredible food and wine, we love the people we’ve met, we love the creative and international and friendly feel of the city, we love the public transportation, we love the climate.  AND some of the next places on our traveling bucket list (Portugal, Greece, Iceland…) and some of our favorite countries (France, Italy) and the country where Barclay runs a hand-washing project (Mali) all happen to be a short flight away from Barcelona.

Oh, and did I mention Spanish food and wine?!?  ?

For so many reasons, Barcelona feels like the perfect spot for us at this point in life.

So did your impromptu trip to Barcelona last February have something to do with all of this?

Hehe…yep.  ?

Some have you may have noticed that we did exactly ONE touristy thing while we were in Barcelona for a week.  Ha, well, that was because our time there was actually spent scouting out the various neighborhoods in the city where we might want to live.  We did some research before we left, and narrowed things down to four neighborhoods that sounded cool — Gracia, Born, Eixample and Poblenou.  Then we basically just picked one neighborhood a day, and took ourselves on an all-day walking tour around each one to soak up the vibe of the streets, the restaurants, the shops, the public transportation, and the people we met.  Of course, I also made Barclay stop and take a peek in every market and bodega and cooking-related store that we passed, so that I could get a sense for what it would be like to go grocery shopping in Barcelona.

And it was a huge success!

We learned a ton about each neighborhood during our trip, and also picked up lots of really helpful information along the way about life in Barcelona (and moving to Barcelona) from some kind folks we met.  More than anything, the trip just fully confirmed in both of our hearts that this was definitely the city where we wanted to be.  We were so glad that we went!

Do you have an apartment picked out in Barcelona?

Not yet.  From what we’ve learned, the rental market is hot in Barcelona and places get booked quickly (and are move-in ready once they go up for rent).  So our plan is to stay in an AirBnB for our first few weeks there, and hopefully book a longer-term place quickly once we arrive.

That said, my new favorite hobby is browsing Spanish apartments online, and I’m dying over the amazing tile work and architecture in so many of the homes we’ve seen.  Can’t wait to find a good one of our own!

Do you both speak Spanish?

¡Si!  Well…at least somewhat.  ?  Barclay is nearly fluent (he uses Spanish regularly at work, and also studied for a semester in Ecuador) and I’m decently conversational (studied in Costa Rica for a few summers in high school/college).  So I definitely have much more to learn between the two of us, but we’re both ready to do lots of practicing.

That said, both of us have always studied/spoken Latin-American Spanish in the past.  So Spain Spanish will be a different ballgame.  (Hello, vosotros verb conjugations. ?)  Also, both of us are complete beginners when it comes to Catalan, the primary language spoken in Barcelona.  So I think we’ll stay busy with lots to learn.

Do you already know anyone in Barcelona?

Interestingly, my first-ever AirBnB stay six years ago was in Barcelona, and I hit the jackpot there with two amazing hosts (hey Mark and Sandra! ?) who have stayed in touch and who finally got to meet Barclay in February.  Can’t wait to hang with them more.  Then we also spent time on this last trip with our neighbor, Joan, whose family lives nearby in Lloret — and they couldn’t have given us a warmer welcome.  We instantly wanted to adopt them as our Spanish familia, and feel comforted knowing they’ll be close by.

Other than those great people, though, we will be totally starting from scratch socially…which is probably the thing about this move that most excites and most overwhelms me, especially considering what an amazing circle of friends we will be leaving in Kansas City.  But, we already have a handful of friends-of-friends whom we’re looking forward to meeting.  And Barc and I are excited about being intentional about inviting new people over for dinner parties, and venturing out around the city regularly to try new things and meet new people.  We’re also weirdly excited about scouting out our favorite neighborhood coffee shop and yoga studio and church and restaurant where we can become “regulars” and get to know the crowds there.

Hopefully we’ll find our kindred Spanish spirits there quickly.  But while we transition, I’m so thankful to know that my favorite person will be there right by my side every day.

So…what are you going to do about the blog?

Guys, I’m going to keep blogging like usual…just from Spain!  ?????

Honestly, probably very little will be changing around here.  I’m planning to keep posting the same kind of recipes here each week, all with normal fresh ingredients that you could find just as easily in the U.S. as in Spain.  And the blog business itself will stay based in Missouri, so I look forward to continuing work with some of of my favorite U.S.-based food brands while we’re away.  And my talented videographer, Laura, will continue making recipe videos here for the blog in Kansas City.

Really, the only difference you’ll probably notice is that the stories you read and many of the recipes I share will be inspired by our daily life in Spain instead of Kansas City.  But that said, I am definitely excited about doing a deep dive into Spanish cooking while we’re there, and promise to report back to you with all that I learn.  And Barclay and I have also been toying around with the idea of doing some vlogging while we’re there, in order to better share with you some glimpses into our daily life in Barcelona and travels around Europe.  (Is that something you’d be interested in?)

Anyway, I’m really excited to keep the blog going like usual.  And honestly, I have all of you to thank for that.  You are the ones who make it possible for me to do what I love to do everyday.  And — since all I really need is a kitchen and a camera and a computer to make it happen — you all are in large part the ones making this sort of international move even possible for us!  So from the bottom of our hearts, Barclay and I both say THANK YOU for helping this little corner of the internet continue.  We’re excited to bring new life to it from our new little corner of the world.

And what’s Barclay going to do?

We’re still TBD on that one.  For the past five years, Barclay has worked with Unbound, an amazing international non-profit based here in Kansas City that has offices in 20 different countries around the world (including Spain, actually).  We’re hoping that he will be able to continue working there in some capacity while we’re in Spain, but we will see how things shake out.

For sure, he will be continuing his work with The Wash Project, a really beautiful handwashing non-profit that he founded in Mali.  You can hear a little more about that project in his TEDxTalk.  (So proud of him. ?)

And what are your plans for the dogs?

Eeee…I’m excited to say that we’re bringing them with us!!  Spain seems to have pretty friendly policies for welcoming foreign dogs into the country.  And honestly, our hearts couldn’t bear the thought of leaving our two best buds here at home, especially after Henry recently (and very suddenly) went blind.  So we’re working with our vet to gather all of the paperwork, and plan to either bring the dogs with us right from the start, or a friend has also offered to fly over with them a month after we arrive.  Either way, we’re really excited about our little family of four exploring Barcelona together.

Now we’ve just gotta teach these dogs some Spanish…

What are you doing with your houses and all of your stuff in Kansas City?

Well, our loft downtown has always been a rental, so we will be letting go of that lease at the end of September (and bidding a fond farewell to the kitchen that has been my home sweet home these past five years).  Then we have decided to put Barclay’s house on the rental market this August.  We actually decided to try offering it as a furnished rental, since we have a ton of furniture that we weren’t interested in selling or storing.  So we’ll see how that goes!  The movers are actually showing up today to move most of the major furniture in the loft over to Barclay’s house, so we are going to be making do with an ultra-minimalist home here for the next three months until we move to Spain.

But otherwise, we’re planning to sell both of our cars, and as much remaining stuff as possible.  We’ve already Marie Kondo-ed our places, and continue to be in major purging mode, which feels incredibly freeing.  Thankfully, apartments in Spain are mostly furnished, so we won’t have to take much stuff with us or buy much when we arrive.

It’s feels great to minimize!

What kind of visas are you applying for in Spain?

Because unemployment is currently so high in Spain, work visas are very hard to come by.  So we are applying for what they call “non-lucrative” visas, which require that our employment be based in the U.S. (not Spain).

We are squarely in the middle of finishing said visa paperwork right now, which has been ridiculously complicated to round up.  (Think: expediting FBI records and new passports, making doctors appointments, collecting bank records galore, purchasing Spanish health insurance, plus 10 other things…and hiring notaries and certified Spanish translators to validate everything.)  One of my friends who moved to England years ago joked that applying for her visa had felt like a full-time job, and now…we get it. ?

Thankfully, we are making good progress.  And once we travel to Chicago in two weeks to turn everything in, hopefully it will all be done and go smoothly from there.  Fingers crossed!

Are you going to be coming back to visit the U.S. while you live in Spain?

TBD — probably occasionally.  We would like to come back and see friends and family once a year.  And since both of us travel for work, we may occasionally pop back on short trips here and there.  But for the most part, we want to focus our travel time while we’re there on Europe, and the long list of bucket list places we’d like to visit there.  And of course, spend lots of time traveling around Spain itself!

WOW.  So how are you feeling about the whole thing?

Right now, I think it’s safe to say that we’re officially feeling all the feels.

Mostly, we’re just feeling incredibly excited and lucky that we have the opportunity to take an adventure like this.  Plus, we’re so excited to get to move abroad together.  We literally nerd out about all of the Just-Thinks every day.  (“Just think, babe — soon we’ll be taking dogs for walks along the beach!“… “Just think — soon you’ll have all of the Spanish ham nearby that you could ever dream of.” … “Just think — soon we’ll be taking a siesta at this time in the afternoon!” … “Just think…soon we’ll be able to hop on that 6-hour train to Paris anytime we’d like.”)  Plus a thousand more.  We are excited about all of the tiniest details.  And more than anything, so excited to just be swept up in the newness of a brand new place with so much to explore and so many new memories to be made.  Can’t wait.

That said, it’s also sinking in just how much we are going to miss our friends and family here back home.  And how much life we’re going to miss out on here while we’re away.  It’s been those little moments where it hits us most — like, freaking out upon hearing one of my best friends is pregnant with twins…and then realizing I won’t be here to meet and snuggle them in January.  Or realizing that this may be the last Easter we celebrate at our amazing church for a few years.  Or calling up friends on a hard day for an impromptu happy hour…and then wondering how long it will be before that’s possible with friends who know you well in Spain.  There are a thousand big and small things we’re noticing lately.

But, that’s the bittersweet goodness about our life in Kansas City — we love it so much, which simply means we’re going to miss everyone here so much.  ?

With each passing day, though, the reality of this amazing adventure ahead is starting to feel more and more real.  And we absolutely can’t wait to get there and get it all started!!!  So thank you in advance for following along on the blog and coming there with us.  It’s an extraordinary gift and a comfort to know that you’ll still be here with me, and I can’t wait to share all about the highs and lows of our adventure here along the way.

Love you all.  And cheers to new adventures ahead!

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175 comments on “I’ve Been Dying To Tell You Something For Awhile Now…”

  1. What an exciting way to begin your marriage! I am so happy for you. My hisbsnd and I have been to Barcelona twice and we think that it is a fantastic city. I am looking forward to your Spanish blogs and lots of new tapas recipes.

    Don’t forget to try Barcelona’s special holiday treat – nougat. Delicious.

  2. Sounds fabulous!! I love adventures, too!

  3. That’s awsome!! Looking forward to awsome new recepies ;) Best wishes and God’s protection with you both!!

  4. Wow. Latch on to the pinchita spices and learn what’s in it. We lived in Rota de la Frontra in 1970-1973. Beautiful country. The Alhambra, Ronda, et al….. and wine, fresh off-the-wheel manchego cheese, cristy bread. A picnic ready to go.

  5. Oh my gosh how exciting! What an amazing adventure as newlyweds. So glad to hear the blog will be continuing! ?

  6. Your fantastic recipes brought me – and keep me coming back – to your blog. So fun to share in your Kansas City adventure from Southern California, and it will be even more fun to see it unfold in Spain. Our family spent a year in Australia, and while my husband and I have both traveled quite a bit, nothing compares to living in a new country. The enthusiasm your blog shows will only be matched by the joy this amazing time will bring. Congratulations for having the courage to leave behind what is near and dear. You won’t regret it! Many blessings to you both.

  7. Wow, I came here for a salad recipe and then got hooked reading about your personal life. Congrats on the impending big move! I can’t wait to live vicariously :D

  8. How exciting for both of you ! You’ve picked the perfect time of life to embark on such a life adventure. I look forward to reading your posts from Barcelona . It is a wonderful city in which I’ve spent too little time in.
    Great news.

  9. How wonderful for both of you! I lived as an ex-pat in Japan for 17 years and 3 in China and you are doing the right thing, looking to live in native area. So many people live in an “American bubble” and never really become part of the culture. I did learn in Japan and China to volunteer, you can help others and you will learn more than you will from any textbook or class. Life as an ex-pat will be more exciting and interesting than you can ever imagine!

  10. Oh my gosh this is so exciting! I’ve traveled to Spain a few times and Barcelona is by far my most favorite city! I wish you both many blessings in this new adventure and can’t wait to see your posts giving us a peek and trying some of the recipes! Buen viaje!!!

  11. Congrats on your recent marriage and kudos to you both on your adventurous spirit. Reading between the lines, it sounds like it’s important to you to follow God in all your ways, and hopes, and dreams. Hoping you’ll pack and take with you the timeless wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6 and Jeremiah 29:11-13. Have fun!

  12. How exciting! Have been following your blog for years now, and actually took some of your Barcelona tips into consideration for our recent visit! We also fell in love with the city – can completely understand the want to move there! Looking forward to more tapas recipes in the future. Best of luck!

  13. Hi Ali, I have been following your blog for quite some time now (I absolutely love it!). Not really sure how many followers you might have that are actually native from Barcelona (but here you have one!). I don’t actually live there at the moment, my life has taken me to the UK with my american husband, but I do go back quite often to visit family. So, just wanted to let you know that your news have been quite exciting for me! It sounds like you have a lot of things worked out already but if you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask! Hope that you have the most amazing time in Barcelona and hope that you get everything sorted in time for the big move!

  14. Congratulations!! How exciting, wishing you both so much joy in your new journey!

  15. Wow, congratulations- you are “living the dream”! Can’t wait to “tour” Spain through your blogs, not to mention the great recipes, too! Best of luck to you two on this next chapter Together!

  16. Congratulations! I visited Spain a number of years ago and fell in love with it. I am somewhat envious but wish you both the very best in this new chapter of life, your new home and very much look forward to hearing new stories and seeing new recipes. Have a wonderful life!

  17. This is such exciting news! I thought that may have been why you went to Spain earlier in the year, but then you mentioned renovating the kitchen in Barclay’s house, which seemed like such a big thing to do if you were going to be leaving it. Good red herring there!
    I moved from Australia to London for 3.5 years and my favourite thing was being able to go to a different country for a long weekend. I definitely recommend Iceland in winter, Croatia (Plitvice Lakes, Mljet Island and Dubrovnik were my favourites), Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Switzerland (Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen and Lausanne), Bergen in Norway (the Norway in a Nutshell train trip is a great way to squeeze a lot into a short amount of time) and Berlin.
    I look forward to reading all about your travels and everyday life over in Spain. And some tasty Spanish recipes too! My favourite tapas dish is Albondigas, just in case you needed a recipe to start with ;)

  18. So happy go hear your news! We love Barcelona also. We recently moved back from Egypt, after spending nearly 6 years there, and miss living abroad so very much!!! Good luck and enjoy your experience!

  19. Felicidades! What an exciting adventure!

    I watched the TedxTalk. What a beautiful example of using the gifts God has given us to serve others. Just by asking one simple question and having the courage and conviction to act on it, your husband (eeeeee!) has changed the trajectory of that entire village. Does The Wash Project have a website? Is there somewhere I can donate?

  20. CONGRATS! I studied abroad in college and lived in Madrid. Gorgeous country. So incredibly happy for you and even more excited for the recipes to follow. Best wishes! ¡Buena suerte!

  21. Congratulations on your new adventure! If you have a chance try to visit the island of Malta. Beautiful place to see and so much history. Ben Franklin visited there (very old sign on the wall of a building) in Valetta. We lived in Alicante where our son was born. Lovely people and so helpful. Best wishes to you both.

  22. How exciting! I can’t wait to see your blog posts about your adventures in Spain and around Europe. Living abroad is something I’ve always wanted to do. You’re inspiring! :)

  23. Amazing news! My sister, her husband and 3 teenage children just spent 6 months living in Barcelona just because they could and wanted an adventure! We visited them in April and fell in love with the city! We ate at some of the most incredible restaurants there – one being Disfrutar! You MUST go there – most incredible dining experience! I’ve never commented on your blog but have been making your incredible recipes for years – many of my go-to’s! Enjoy Spain!!!!

  24. Way to go!
    Your reasoning for going now is perfect!
    Go for it! Be safe, be happy and God bless!

  25. How awesome! Congratulations to you guys! Can’t wait to read about all the new adventures!

  26. How exciting but a big surprise! Also SO glad you’re continuing your blog but would think you would because you’re too good with it! I’ve been a coordinator to some exchange students from Spain and they have all been some of our favorites! We also know a head cook, originally from Spain, who worked for a catering business next door to our business for years who was amazing! He prepared lots of food for events for a little thing we have every year here in Augusta called The Masters Golf Tournament! He moved back to Spain after he retired about 3 years ago. I wish you two the very best and lots of adventures and happiness! ?

  27. So envious – one of my favorite Cities in the World! Art every where!! What a great way to start your life together.
    Our favorite Tapas Bar was SAGARDI Cuiners Basco – and the gelato shop across the street was also amazing!

  28. WOW!! Sooooo happy for you both! Ali…I stumbled on your blog one day looking for something different. I was so intrigued that I stuck around. NOW LOOK AT YOU!!! My husband and I have been to Barcelona several times. No wonder you fell in love with it! Wishing you all the best on your new adventures…and all the wonderful tapas you MUST share!! God speed to you both on the wonderful journey you have chosen!!

  29. You says you were going to do this and I am so excited for you two. What a wonderful adventure. I love the way you shared the news and the photos. You two are amazing and I know God is going to bless your lives together.

  30. I’m so excited for you guys and – not gonna lie – just a teeny bit jealous! I would be VERY much in favor of vlogs about your life there! Congrats you two and look forward to following your adventure!

  31. so happy for you #LivingTheDream

  32. How exciting for you both!!!! Living overseas is an adjustment but it’s well worth the time and effort to do so. I’ve never been to Barcelona, only Malaga, Marbella and Mallorca. Spain is a beautiful country and I am looking forward to learning some new international recipes from you. <3 If you find yourself in northern Italy (Aviano) and need a place to stay, our door is always open. We've been here 1 1/2 years and plan on staying at least 10 years. Best of luck to you. I know God's got a wonderful plan for the two of you. Rely fully on Him!!!!

  33. wow, good for you, all the best to you.

  34. Congratulations! That’s such exciting news!

  35. WOW!!! Congrats!! Enjoy your new life and keep us updated. :-D

  36. Hi Ali! I found your blog recently and I´m loving it :) But when I read this blog post…OMG I am SO jealous!!! I´m Spanish but I´m currently living in Germany and I miss my country SO SO much :( I don´t get used to living here…I can´t wait to go back soon… I actually had to leave cause I couldn´t find a decently paid job (I´m an architect and everything that has to do with construction was highly affected by the crisis). Anyway, I´m studying to become a certified dietician (my real passion) and once I´m done, I´m planning on going back to my city (the beautiful Valencia!) and open a small Nutrition Clinic :) I wish you the best in Barcelona and… who knows! Maybe in some years we could meet up somewhere and have a tea :) If you need any help/information in Spain, let me know :) Maybe I can help you out! :)

  37. I am incredibly happy for all 4 of you!! To say it will be an adventure is a total understatement!! I’m looking forward to your blog posts & the incredible recipes you will be sharing. Pictures, pictures, pictures of all the places you will visit….that is number 2 on my list of things I’m looking forward to.
    I wish you all the very best on your adventures! You are so lucky in so many ways, my friends…..may all you see & do & experience be everything you wish for!!!

  38. Hooray to you!

  39. Congratulations! Or as we say here in the Middle East “Mabrouk!” Off on a wonderful adventure. Ali, we cant wait for all of the recipes that will be inspired from your wonderful new geographical location.

  40. Hey Ali! I’m one of your silent followers (and I live in Barcelona!) You are going to enjoy the city a lot for sure :)
    Welcome and please let me know if you need any help or advice form a local

  41. Lovely news and I am so happy to hear your pups can come with you! Enjoy the amazing adventure.

  42. Wow. Talk about changing your entire life in just a few months…marriage, moving in together , and then a huge international move!! Congratulations and best of luck! Looking forward to some interesting recipes and techniques!!

  43. What an exciting adventure! Best of luck to you both, and I can’t wait to share in your adventures through your blog!

  44. So excited for you and B! This will be an amazing journey for you both and I can’t wait to follow!! Let me know if you need anything in the meantime friend. <3


  45. So very excited for you both! Can’t wait for all the new recipes and to be able to get to know Spain, and other parts of Europe, through your eyes and menus!

  46. Congratulations – the entire world is for all of us to experience and enjoy!

    I lived in Marbella, Spain for five years. We spent a lot of time in Barcelona, Sevilla, Cadiz and Ronda. Every day to experience something new is life changing. It took me six months to realize my face moisturizer was actually milk soap! Limpia de leche!

  47. I read your blog, I usually just skim over blogs and read the recipes but yours caught my attention. I want to wish you and your hubby good luck in your upcoming adventure and stay safe!!!!

  48. How exciting to be able to move and to another country. So exciting I’m jealous.
    I vacationed in Italy last year, we are going to Greece in September. Next year hopefully Spain and Portugal. You will have to give me tips on where to go and what to see.

    Wishing you both the very best.

  49. So happy for you two! What a wonderful adventure and I must admit it’s what my husband and I dream of doing some day too. I’m glad to read about everything you’ve been doing to prepare; it helps to hear what all is entailed to move abroad for a short time.

    Thank you for sharing and looking forward to your blogs from across the pond.

  50. May God watch over you both and keep you safe for always.