Thursday, October 3, 2013

Where are the Thursdays?

Torre de las Damas, Alhambra
Hola! Estamos in Sevilla, España! We have been in Spain almost two weeks and our time here in Europe is coming to an end, which is a little sad, a little scary, and a little welcomed. Spain is not how I remembered it, it is better. When I was 20 I was fortunate enough to tour a little bit of Europe after studying abroad and after college, I did it again at 22. Both times, I started after living in Ireland and then hit the road. When I was 22, I set out to hit the places I missed the first time, so I went to Spain with a friend and met up with two other friends. We really only stayed in Barcelona with a day trip to a beach town, but that time in Barcelona was epic. I felt both inspired (mainly by all of the Gaudi architecture and a male flamenco dancer on the street), independent, young and adventurous, and most of all I felt free. I partied with friends and completely lost myself and at points my right mind in Barcelona, and I always remember it as one of the times where I truly threw caution to the wind and the wind carried me right along. I remember my high school spanish coming back to me and feeling excited and proud when I could get myself around Spain. But my Spanish this time around has made me feel so incredibly pleased with myself, I can't help but give myself a nice pat on the back.
Alhambra
This trip to Spain has been completely different but also, so beautiful. It is still the same laid back place with a very big bohemian vibe and style, delicious food, and all of the passion I love to hear in this language. But we definitely started this trip with high class. Mike and I were given a week stay in a time share in Madrid by two friends (one who is from Spain, hence the sweet hook up!) for our wedding. Of course, this meant we were coming to Madrid come hell or high water. And since we were going to be in Madrid, why not check out Andalucía before heading to Morocco? And even though we felt like it would be too much cramming to get the big hot spots in Andalucía in a week, we did it and it has been more than worth it.
In Granada, we stayed with a married couple about our age that we found through airbnb.com. He was Italian and she was Argentinian and we have decided that we really like this mix. (Two very close friends in New York are the same mix!)They rent out two rooms in their enormous four bedroom apartment and it was super laid back and the company was welcomed. Mike and I are doing great for being almost 8 weeks out, but company is definitely rejuvenating. And then a young couple from Australia came who had booked the other room. Both were classical musicians, one playing with an orchestra in Germany. After a day of seeing the Alhambra, one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life, and intentionally getting lost in the Albaicín neighborhood, and seeing another amazing Cathedral and hearing the nuns choir practice at a beautiful monastery (another favorite of the trip), we had three delicious tapas (for free in Granada!) and went back to the apartment where all of us sat up drinking tea. We swapped stories about respective countries and our interests or experiences with the "The East" as "Westerners" (which obviously included Ralph Macchio and The Karate Kid.) We talked about economic crises and compared rents (which puts a lot in perspective when we admit New York rents) and talked about Monsanto and which side of the road is the right side of the road?! It was a wonderful night making new friends from all over the world in a place where none of us was really from.
Granada
Cathedral at Cordoba
I was sad to leave Granada. I got very quiet and I couldn't explain why. I had just come over a travelers hump in Madrid (which was cured by a night out at an American diner with burgers, Brooklyn beers, and criticizing the photographs of America that hung on the wall), but this was different. I ached for something I couldn't put my finger on. Friends? Family? Home? Maybe just a home? When our bus reached the bus station to take to Cordoba, I felt as if I physically could not pick up my bag. For a second, I felt like I didn't have the strength or even the will to pick it up and move on, again. But we did and we will.
Cathedral at Cordoba
Cordoba was a beautiful little town and the Cathedral there was also unlike anything I had seen before. It was a Basilica turned Mosque turned Cathedral. It was haunting to walk through these two clashes of religions and actually see the physical scar left on the warring of two peoples, two religions. Deep down, don't we all kind of want the same thing? And yet, what is a Cathedral or a Mosque or a Basilica. Sure, it is homage to one's God, it is a place to worship, it is a place to inspire beauty and create a curiosity, possibly a yearning to know "God." But isn't it also the manifestation of man's ego laid out like a set of marble and stone legos for all to see...my castle is greater than yours.
Cathedral at Cordoba
We are now in Sevilla and I love it. We went on a walking tour with an awesome free guide who works for tips and I am now in love with Spanish history. It was also nice to hear English for so long and to engage in our own language with other people, too. (Even people from Queens and Brooklyn!) But I have to say, I love the Spanish language. A couple years ago, I took private Spanish lessons in exchange for free babysitting. 2010 was a rough year, though, and because of a series of events, I unintentionally quit. But I have been amazed out how much vocabulary has come back to me and how well I have gotten around. I even sent an international package home. I picked up a Spanish grammar book and remembered some of the verb tenses and I have been able to understand so much and communicate enough that people assume I speak it fluently! I, of course, do not and the minute they speed up their words, I am lost, but being able to communicate in another language has felt very empowering and freeing. Muchas gracias a mi profesora. However, for the life of me, I cannot stop asking where the Thursdays are. ¿Dónde están los jueves? I hope by the time I leave, I can remember that jueves means Thursdays and huevos means eggs. But today, even in English, I didn't know where the Thursdays were. I spent the entire day operating as if it was Wednesday until Mike finally caught on and checked his calendar to make sure that it was indeed, Thursday. Maybe tomorrow someone can finally tell me where they keep all of the eggs.
Us, Granada

2 comments:

daleboca said...

qué bueno que hayas usado tu español tanto. excelente trabajo! podemos continuar cuando quieras! besos a los dos.

Carmen said...

buenîsimo! hay huevos y jueves por todo el mundo. que los encuentres todos! les quiero