How many times do I tell my kids they should learn from their mistakes the first time?  A mistake is no big deal if you learn from it.  Take Dennis, for example.  At 3 years old, he needed to stick his finger in the VCR, then push “eject” a full THREE times before the lesson was learned.   Thankfully, no one has VCRs anymore, because Dennis has admitted that he would like to give it just one more try to see what it feels like now!

Dennis and I have just returned from our third round of college visits.  We have covered Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, with one more clean up visit (the last one????) in New York City next week.  As we returned from the DC area yesterday, we were tired of living out of suitcases, and just ready to be home.

Lessons learned, and then un-learned.

After helping me navigate out of suburban northern Virginia, Dennis reclined his seat and took a well-deserved nap.  The countryside was beautiful, traffic was light.  I passed a farm stand with fresh produce.  Another farm stand.  “I should stop.”  “I bet those fruits and veggies are just great now!  They’re still not really local at home yet.”  At the Virginia/Maryland border the mental recriminations grew in volume, but I pressed on.  I didn’t want to wake Dennis up.

Maryland was also dotted with Mom and Pop produce stands, piles of corn on the cob and peaches visible even at 80 70 mph.  “Wouldn’t it be great to show up with a trunk full of ripe fruits and vegetables?”  The cruise control stayed on.

By Pennsylvania it was too late.  Rock and roll dominated the radio stations, and hills and trucks did battle on the highway.  The billboards for sheepskin coats did not appeal as had the previously announced cherries and berries.

Lessons learned, and then un-learned.

I have three times walked on the Camino de Santiago (click here for details), each time, re-learning that life is about the journey, not the destination.  In the end, we all have the same destination: a flat line on a portable monitor.  What matters is how we live the journey.

I missed out on juicy, fresh peaches, and sweet corn on the cob hollering for butter and salt.  Why?  For no good reason.  Darn it.  Finger in the VCR…

Summer wine pick for the day is another lesson re-learned:  go back and take a look at the 2013 El Coto Rioja Blanco (click here).  This is a clean and happy white wine, perfect for enjoying your journey.  Try it outside at a cookout with friends.  Toast to lessons learned once and for all.

About Claire Ziamandanis

Claire Ziamandanis is Professor of Spanish at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. Over her 20 years at the college, she has been a champion for study abroad, establishing the first affiliation for Spanish students, and then working with the Study Abroad office to open the doors to students from other majors. Claire loves travel, food, wine and Spanish but not necessarily in that order!


  1. If it makes you feel better, Camila and I did NOT miss out on some wonderful peaches that she bought at Costco earlier this week. We savored them and devoured them a couple nights ago. The next day Costco called her to tell us that they may be contaminated with listeria. “No one has gotten sick yet, but…..” hmmmm….. but you did pull them from the shelves and manage to call everyone who bought them with a credit card. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  2. I do the same thing on drives, especially the long one from upstate NY to DE to visit friends. Thinking to stop at roadside stands, but pushing onwards because I’m usually driving by myself and I just want to get there already! Next time, next time, next time . . .

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