This is exactly where I’m meant to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to do.
Where to even start, I’ve been in Spain for exactly two weeks and it already feels like home. Here’s the short list for those who don’t want to read this very long, but necessary, blog post: moved into my apartment, my landlord’s mom adopted me, I celebrated my birthday with my new Spanish family, lots of afternoon cañas (beers) and siestas, visited Avila-Spain, ate like the queen of Spain.
Home sweet home
Who can say they signed their first apartment contract in Spanish? Me. I officially have a place to call home for the next nine months, or maybe more?! My cute little piso is about 100 meters down the street from the school where I’ll be teaching. It has all the necessities, including a washing machine in the kitchen-typical Spain.
There aren’t enough nice words in English or Spanish to describe this woman who has adopted me and treated me like one of her own daughters. (I am renting Monica’s old apartment, and Ana is Monica’s mother.) From the moment when she called me after I had put a down payment on the apartment to tell me that she’s giving me one of the tv’s from her house, I knew I hit the jackpot. She has done so much to make me feel so comfortable so quickly. In Ana’s words, “If you had a car, you could just come live with me”. She has quickly become one of my greatest role models because of her unconditional love and caring nature. I know some of my fondest memories will be going out for afternoon beers before lunch at our ‘regular spot’, her teaching me Spanish cooking recipes, and having lazy days watching telenovelas and siesta time. She’s the best and I love her so much
No one should have to celebrate their birthday alone and I don’t think I ever will. Ana and Monica picked me up early in the afternoon to take me to Ana’s house. (she lives in the next town over, 10 mins away) And much to my surprise there was a grandiose meal, champagne cider, cake and candles! Oh I am so lucky and fortunate to have met these amazing women!! After the best meal I’ve ever eaten, it was time for tv and siestas. Later that day for dinner Ana and I met up with Monica, her boyfriend and his family. Lots of beer, wine, and jamon iberico later, best birthday celebration I could have imagined.
Feria de Fuensalida
Ana called me up Thursday morning telling me to pack a bag and that I’m going to spend the weekend with her at her house. I could never refuse her company or the delicious food that she cooks so of course I said yes. Our favorite afternoon ritual is to start prepping and cooking lunch then head to the bar across the street for a few beers. Being that she has been a long time regular at the bar and now I am too, we order two beers and then the following two are ‘on the house’. It’s these small town relationships and connections are what I love about spain. So we hear that the next town over is having parties to celebrate their patron saint. Ok-imagine fourth of july festivals, lots of kids rides and attractions, food, and music. Ana and I decide to go to the concert that was recommended and arrive an hour early because we expect it to be crowded. After asking a few teens to give us directions to the concert venue, we arrive to the plaza with two stages set up and Ana says, “Que cosita más fea” <what an ugly little thing>. We were two of 8 people in the entire plaza waiting for the band to come on. She just kept saying, “If it’s bad, we will just leave and go eat churros and chocolate”. The first band started playing around midnight and when they opened by singing the famous Disney Frozen song, Let it Go, I knew it was going to be an interesting night. After meeting a couple of Ana’s friends, we all started dancing and it turned into an incredible night. We had so much fun dancing till 4am when we decided it was time to head home. It was a blast signing to all the songs and dancing around with her.
Sunday morning I took a day trip to Ávila with Monica, Sergio, and his family. It’s a small medieval town and home of Santa Teresa de Ávila. It’s a beautiful city that gives any visitor a view into the past. In times like today where we anxiously await announcements about advances in technology, it’s incredible to see technologies of the past. I could have spent all day in the church exploring every nook and cranny of the incredibly intricate design and handiwork of artisans. Chasing three kids around the town was fun but after a long morning of walking around and a delicious lunch, naptime in the car ride home was much needed for me as well as the kids. I am constantly amazed and humbled by the generosity of my new family to take such good care of me and show me all around Spain.