How long did you date?

José: We are still dating.

Patricia: A year and a half. My dad had passed away in September 1994, and then we got married in September 1995. Actually, we married here, a civil marriage first, then we went to Spain to do a religious wedding, the real wedding with friends. But because of my dad’s passing, we did a small wedding, which was nice.

What were you doing here in Washington?

Patricia: I came because my uncle used to work for the Spanish Embassy. The plan was to be here for six months, study some English, then get back. But I ended up staying here. I took some classes, went to Montgomery College. Then I finished at University of Maryland University College. Meanwhile, I was working for my embassy, the commercial office. In the process, I met José.

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Why did you move to Bethesda?

Patricia: My kids used to go to The Woods Academy.

José: My wife told me, ‘That’s the school we want.’ It has the values we like, the size we like. She liked that school a lot.

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Patricia: Our kids were already going to that school [before they moved to Bethesda 12 years ago].

José: They were going there before we moved here?

Patricia: Yes.

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José: Right, because I used to take them to school every morning. [Laughter.] Anyway, she wanted to make sure we were close to the school. I grew up in a place where I would walk to school every day. And for me, that was very important. I have a feeling that every single child should grow up in a small community. It’s so funny. You would think that in big communities, you are more protected. But in small communities, you feel more in sync with the community. The first time in my life I felt really alone was in the heart of Manhattan when I was 21.

So did they walk to school?    

José: Oh yeah, every day.

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And did they feel part of that small community?

Patricia: Yes, just the fact that they could walk to school helped them with independence, helped them with…

José: Finding mushrooms…

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Patricia: Finding mushrooms on the way.

José: In Bethesda. Oyster mushrooms, in the woods.

Are there still mushrooms in the woods?

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José: Sometimes they show up. Don’t tell anybody.

Do you like living here in Bethesda?

Patricia: It’s been great living here in Bethesda. It is so easy to access D.C. and everything that D.C. has to give you, but at the same time being in a little bit more quiet space.

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Is there anything you don’t like about it?

Patricia: There is something I don’t like about it, which is we cannot walk everywhere. We do not have walkways [sidewalks].

José: In America, we need to do more to make sure places are walkable. Where I grew up, every morning we would go for bread. Every day that we needed fish, we would walk to the fish place. I think that’s beautiful.

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So what do you do here in Bethesda as a family on the weekends?

José: Well, it has changed over the years.

Patricia: When my kids were little, we used to go all the time to Imagination Stage.

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José: That was huge. I think that was very important. I think that is one of the best theaters in the country. It takes a village to make something like that happen. I like to go eat crabs at Bethesda Crab House.

Patricia: But don’t tell anyone.

Where do you shop for food?

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José: We like to go to Potomac Village.

Patricia: The two places [Potomac Grocer and The Market at River Falls]. We don’t shop only in one place. We kind of go to different places.

José: Farmers markets. The one in Bethesda.

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How often do you go there?

José: Every Sunday. I buy eggs.

Patricia: We have boxes of onions and potatoes.

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José: And things like mozzarella, the beans when they have them, the bread.

Patricia: Lots of fruits, vegetables, cheeses. The cheese guy is fantastic.

Do you go out to eat much at restaurants in Bethesda?

José: We don’t.

Patricia: We used to go out. We were just talking the other day [about] how we haven’t been going out that often lately because José is traveling. When he comes [home], we usually do more dinners at home than going out.

Do you go out to lunch at all in Bethesda?

Patricia: I’m running around all day. I don’t have much time usually to stop for lunch. Sometimes I just go to Jaleo. Jaleo Bethesda is almost like my other dining room.

Do you cook a lot at home?

Patricia: José cooks. I feed my family. Which is different. And then José comes, and he’s like, ‘So, what are you making here?’ [She gestures toward him.]

José: Don’t touch me.

Patricia: You are so funny. How were my vegetables yesterday?

José: Terrible.

Patricia: You ate them all.

Is she a good cook?

Patricia: I have no idea how to cook.

José: After 25 years. That’s great. That’s going to be good for this story.