Makespace for the Tolentino 3
The weather in Samos, Greece was living up to it’s billing: warm, bright, fresh. Brenda’s skin was bronze from a week of bathing in the sun and saltwater. I watched her from the beachside cafe while enjoying an afternoon drink with friends. She was perusing an outdoor stall that she had been eyeballing for a few days.
[Tweet “The weather in Samos, Greece was living up to it’s billing: warm, bright, fresh.”]
She found it to be a convenient time to break away from me and was finally able to give it a look. It was run by an elderly man, dark leather-like skin, and a good disposition. The old merchant gesticulated while they conversed (and I’m sure haggled) over what looked from afar to be copper coffee grinders or spice mills of some sort.
Her Valentino Silk Scarf worn as a headpiece…
I can tell she was pleased with her transaction as she walked toward my direction. She was wearing a pair of beige knit drawstring shorts slung low below her waist with a tanktop, in which her orange bathing suit was peeking out of. Her Valentino silk scarf worn as a headpiece, coupled with the Aegean Sea breeze, made her look as if she came straight out of a 1970’s copy of LOOK magazine.
I was having Ouzo with water, a cloudy yet refreshing drink. She had a smile on her face, so I took my last drag of a cigarette, bid my friends adeu, and got up off my seat to meet her halfway. It was only our second trip abroad with each other, but I knew that this was the girl I wanted to see the world with.
Mercado De San Miguel in Madrid
Mercado de San Miguel, which is located right off the Plaza Mayor was a short walking distance from Plaza Santa Ana, where our hotel was located while visiting Madrid, Spain. This covered market was Bailey’s favorite place to eat in town. She, like most locals had an affinity for certain food vendors; her favorite being a purveyor of cured meat named Mas Gourmets.
It was our third straight day going to the market, so she knew to take a quick left as she entered to get to where she needed to go. She was seven years of age at the time, and her mother and I had a difficult time keeping up with her. She was small for her age, and was capable of weaving through people so as to get her position on line.
[Tweet “The nice Castilian gentleman who had gotten used to seeing her in the past days, acknowledged her with a smile from the far side of the counter.”]
The nice Castilian gentleman who had gotten used to seeing her in the past days, acknowledged her with a smile from the far side of the counter. Hand sliced Jamon Iberico was her standard order, and he was pleased to prepare it for her. She was an adorable little gourmand, with her baby teeth still intact, tearing through the parchment paper to get to her delectable fatty treat.
She considered the market one of her favorite landmarks and requested that I buy her a t-shirt with the Market’s name on it as a memento. From that day onward, every time she wore that t-shirt, it reminded me of that specific episode. An episode I replayed over and over again in my head.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
“Andrew!”, called a voice from afar. I was in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, in Milan, Italy with my then girlfriend, Brenda. She had just arrived that morning to join me. I had been working in Milan for over a week and I had gotten used to hearing my name spoken with a certain Italian inflection.
So it caught my attention when my name was called out with an American cadence. It was our friend, Lorena from back home in the States. She credited hearing Brenda’s distinct laugh as the impetus to her backtracking to find us. The three of us walked around a little, made plans for the evening, and parted ways.
[Tweet “That incident made me feel like those expats I read about in novels; bumping into friends and acquaintances, while in a foreign land. “]
That incident made me feel like those expats I read about in novels; bumping into friends and acquaintances, while in a foreign land. An expat, that is something I wanted to be. Brenda and I continued to walk. We decided to go over to Paper Moon on Via Bagutta for lunch. The Cotoletta alla Milanese didn’t weigh me down as it would often do, because it was an atypical summer’s day in Italy.
I was comfortable in my New York City de rigueur of a black longsleeve t-shirt worn with jeans. On our way back to the hotel, I spotted an Hermes shop that I got Brenda a gift from a couple of years back. There wasn’t much for me to afford there at the time, but I wanted to get her something, so I brought her back a deck of playing cards.
She loved those cards so much, that she would hold card games in her apartment with her girlfriends, just so she could whip the cards out. Due to my career in fashion, I frequented Milan many times throughout the past twenty years; but my favorite memories are still that serendipitous moment at the mall, and that day I purchased a simple gift of playing cards that brought so much joy to the most significant girl in my life.
Throughout the years, the three of us have collected many mementos dear to us from our travels. One of our traditions is picking up a Christmas ornament everywhere we visited as true keepsakes. All of this traveling may have never happened if Brenda and I weren’t so influenced by novels we have read through the years and have duplicate copies of.
I’ve been known to try to replicate excerpts from some of my favorite Hemingway novels when in another country. Both Brenda and I have been in the fashion industry for so many years, that though we covet certain pieces of clothing; due to being around it so much, we tend to not have much of an emotional attachment to clothing; in one season, out the next. Then we had Bailey.
It seems as if every piece from her early years are associated with benchmark moments in her life. We have lived in a typically small New York apartment in the NoLita neighborhood for many years; so we have a penchant for purging every so often due to lack of space. But..we still have managed to accrue our fair share of things.
This past September, after 20 years of being in one industry, we have decided to play our cards (not the one’s from Hermes), by leaving the security of our jobs and home to pursue a lifelong dream of traveling the world. In doing so, the first step was to leave our home.
[Tweet “we have decided to play our cards (not the one’s from Hermes), by leaving the security of our jobs and home to pursue a lifelong dream of traveling the world”]
Fort Lee, NJ
We are bridging the gap between now and our departure date in July, by living with family. First with Brenda’s sister and her family just down the street from us, and then to her Auntie Amy’s in Fort Lee, NJ.
We have decided to do this for multiple reasons. First, it certainly helps us with our savings. Second, we are able to spend quality time with family before leaving for an undetermined period. Lastly, in some way, it starts preparing us for a nomadic life.
Leaving it Behind
We are leaving it behind; but who do we entrust our possessions to? The easy answer, “with family and friends”. However, most of our family members and close friends are also challenged by space. We are already putting them out by living with them, we don’t need them to be guardians of our “stuff” as well while we’re gone.
We are not comfortable with traditional storage units, as I have had less than pleasurable experiences with them. The thought of buying boxes, packing them, marking them, lugging them over to a warehouse, was already giving me agita. We also didn’t have time on our side, as we decided not to renew our lease, which ended just two months after our decision.
Hustle and Bustle of NYC
The bustle in New York returns when the calendar flips from August to September. Brenda, Bailey and I joined the rush as we sped off to get Bailey to her violin lesson on time. After a quick sprint, we caught the uptown subway immediately. The two of them were able to find a seat and I got caught behind a crowd and had to stand a few feet from where they were.
I can tell Bailey was chatting up her mother about something, and as I looked over to them, they averted my attention toward an advertisement for a place called MakeSpace. It proclaimed itself to be “your closet in the cloud”. The advertisement was aesthetically pleasing, which led all three of us to take out our devices and take a picture, so we can remember to look into it later on.
MakeSpace‘s beautiful website
When we got home, we logged onto their website immediately, and found the website to be even more aesthetically pleasing than their subway campaign. It was quite easy to navigate as well. We were all hooked.
We are going to be nomads, and we needed a virtual closet; this company does just that. It’s as if they tailor made their services for us. So we decided on going forward with them.
We got a gift!
I didn’t need to get boxes, they hand delivered clean green bins over to me. I had two weeks to pack them, and all I had to do was call them for pick up; which meant no trip to a storage space warehouse. I didn’t need to be too detailed with how I marked my bins either, as they take the time to take a visual catalog of the things I have packed.
It was everything a busy and nomadic family like us needed. What was most valuable, was that it was a company that knew how to engage. They were sensitive to the fact that these were our belongings and that entrusting it to them was a big deal. From drop off of bins, to pick up and everything in between; the service was nothing short of perfect. The people involved were professional and very respectful.
Moreover, they were nice; really nice. We had our pick up made the week of Thanksgiving and a really nice gentleman named Jose, handed us a turkey. This was old-school hospitality, which is an anomaly these days.
Traveling the World
We will be traveling the world, and will need to change out clothing every once in a while, with changing climates and all. Our closet is ready whenever we need it; and because there are uploaded photos of what’s in our bins, we can pick and choose which one we want delivered.
If we can’t make it back to the States, and need something from the bins, we can have the items delivered to a trusted family member or friend and they can in turn ship it to us, wherever we may be. Much better proposition than having them rummage through boxes in some storage facility.
In pursuit of a dream.
Leaving the apartment wasn’t easy. We are filled with anticipation in pursuit of a dream; but one can’t help feeling melancholy about the dream that was built and will be left behind.
Brenda and I packed a bin of archives; in that bin were our favorite novels that inspired us to travel, all the Christmas ornaments we collected on our trips, a pack of Hermes playing cards, a very worn kid’s t-shirt which reads Mercado de San Miguel, and a couple of copper spice mills/coffee bean grinders. I’m heartened with the fact that I know these “valuables” are in good hands.
[Tweet “We are filled with anticipation in pursuit of a dream; but one can’t help feeling melancholy about the dream that was built and will be left behind.”]
Traveling with my girls.
That little seven-year-old daughter of mine, that finagled me into buying her a t-shirt, is now almost eleven. She is suddenly considered tall for her age and has her adult teeth grown in.
She still considers Jamon Iberico the king of all hams, but she has long since grown out of that t-shirt. I’m having an even harder time keeping up with her these days, and now the world will need to try to keep up with her too.
That girl with the bronze skin and copper grinders continued to walk towards me and has been by my side ever since. I will now see the world with that girl.
Try to MakeSpace in your lives and join us in our journey as we travel the world, one dish at a time.
MakeSpace services the entire continental United States! At the moment, they do not ship internationally or to Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico (they’re working on it).
We loved MakeSpace so much, we’ve partnered with them after we became customers. They have offered our readers a $25 credit with use of our promo code here: $25 credit
Please check out my interview with MakeSpace.