On Mardi Gras day 2017, we were in Passau, far from the parades and costumes in New Orleans, when a special package arrived from Uncle Ken at the Idea Factory.
We named him Rex and he smelled of wood and fresh king cake.
We escaped the German winter with a trip to the Canary Islands. Both paternal sides of my family, the Nunezes and the Deograciases, hail from the Canary Islands. One of my grandmothers was French and the other calls herself Heinz 57 (a little bit of everything).
Although the Canary Islanders, also known as the Isleños, settled in Louisiana from 1778-1783, Isleños culture still remains strong in St. Bernard Parish. My grandfather, born in 1921 in St. Bernard Parish, was a native Spanish-speaker. My father recalls trawling with him in the 70s and 80s and hearing the St. Bernard fisherman speaking only Spanish on the radio. Sometime in the mid-90s, I was selected, though a lottery, as Isleños Queen at the annual Isleños Festival.
You can read more about the history of the Isleños here.
We spent our time in 2017 on Gran Canaria, where the smell of the ocean and taste of fresh seafood eased my homesickness.