Monday, July 8, 2013

Return to the Other World I Live In

How to even begin to recapitulate my trip to Spain?

How do I explain that it was one of those sublime places I will carry in my memory and heart forever...and that it changed me in imperceptible ways I did not expect?  How I do explain that what I did and learned in Spain and who I met there feels a lot like the irrelevant little pebbles that come before an avalanche?  How can I explain the paradox of being somewhere that makes me feel so small and insignificant, but yet fills my heart with joyous understanding?

How indeed!  How can one unknow what they've come to know?  It's impossible to do so - and I wouldn't want to anyway.  So then the next question is: How then do I live now?

That is the question I'll grapple with (and blog about, likely) as I readjust to life back here in the US.

For present, though, let me start with these "big ideas" and a few pictures.

1. Spanish people walk a lot.  Or they take the bus.  There are some drivers, but with the closeness of the streets and buildings, it's simply easier to walk. 

The view from our dorm balcony down Calle (street) de Teresa Gil

And when you walk most everywhere, you catch scenes like this...

The region of Galicia in NW Spain - the sun goes down on the Atlantic Ocean

2. Spanish people have cell phones, true.  But they do not text and drive, or text and walk, or sit at tapas bars because it has Wi-Fi.  And what is Wi-Fi to scenes such as this?

The UNESCO city of Segovia - and the Roman-era aquaduct

3. Spanish people dress nice.  It's not a vanity thing, either; they genuinely care about their appearance and making good first impressions.  I did not see many Spaniards wearing pajama pants, sweatpants, or even jeans.

4. Spanish kids stay up late, having tapas with their parents.  The Spanish culture embraces families being together.  Again, I did not see a lot of Spanish children wholly absorbed in any electronic devices.  They played or sat quietly.

5. The Spanish elderly are everywhere, and they are active.  I saw many couples walking about, arm in arm, casually strolling around the plaza or sitting on benches, chatting with friends.

The Plaza Mayor near our residence - Valladolid (Castilla y Leon province)

6. The Spanish value relationships and people.  They'll talk over tapas for hours, they appreciate attempts of people trying to speak their language, and they'll smile and switch over to a broken kind of English in an attempt to communicate with you.  They dote on their children, but do not absurdly spoil them.  They don't say excuse me or sorry very often, but it's not because they are a rude people, it's because there's an understanding that we're all jostling about for room on this planet; it's the way things are and not necessarily worth apologizing for.

I haven't begun to touch on the food.  The food!  The wine!  The culture!

That means more blog posts!


  1. Heather, you are making me miss Spain very much! Even just from your first post you have captured the magic that is Spain. I can't wait to read more about the rest of your journey!!

  2. Yay! I've been looking forward to these blogs so much! Can't wait for more!