This evening we will spend with our beloved friends, Barto, Montaña and their daughter Patricia and some other family friends. They have a house in town, and a farm just outside of town. This will be our first time to get to see the farm, and I am very excited.
Everyone is being so kind and generous to us, and we have a schedule that I will share when I get home and have more time. But I feel like the prize of a lottery being passed from family to family. My Spanish is minimal and deplorable, I am embarrassed to say, that I just did not have time towork on it before this trip, and now I am paying for it. Most of the people who we have spent time with have less English then I do Spanish. Usually by the end of our time together we are communicating very well between noises, hand gestures and our few common words. Today fortunately both groups have at least one person who speaks English. That will be less stressful. I have very little time alone, but when I can sneak off, I walk around the growing town and just revel being in this exotic and glorious country. People never say anything bad about anyone else. It complicates matter a bit, but it is refreshing. Dinner never starts before 10 and we never get home before midnight. Then are expected at Paco y Teresa´s casa by 10 the next morning. We do get time for siestas, and the casa has such thick walls that it feels like the home is airconditioned, but there is a lot of cty noise, for such a small town, and so our sleep is quite restless. There is plenty of time for sleep when we get home.
We are having a truly wonderful time, and as physically and emotionally difficult parts of this journey are, it is worth every single moment. Every single moment. It was very hard physically on Dad, but he is being a trooper. He does get a little worn out, but he keeps trying. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the sister cities, Bradenton and Barcarotta exchanging visitors. Barcarotta is already preparing for it. I hope Bradenton also understands how important this anniversary is to the people here. I hope Dad does not want to come for it. If he was in better physical shape I don´t think I would be able to keep him away, and he can not do this travel alone, regardless of his physical shape at this point. He is amazing at 86, but still, this is a major undertaking to get to this small town.
They are having a terrible heat wave here, and outside it does pretty much feel like living in a hairdryer, thank you Truvy from Steele Magnolias, the line fits perfectly. But inside these very old casa´s the walls are at least 2 feet thick. Seriously, 2 feet thick, minimum. The streets are very narrow, so again it helps to block direct sun on the houses, and well, everything is set to survive the extreme temperature changes here. From their lifestyles, to the food they eat, to how they construct their buildings, etc. And this is from centuries and centuries ago.
Also they have a very laid back life style, so if they say to be somewhere at noon, they will get up and get ready about noon, and may not show up for an hour or more. It may be the hardest part to adjust to, because you are off kilter a bit at all times, not really sure what is going on, and then add in the communication challenges. I could get very used to this, but I am always worried that I will not be where I should be and insult people.
The other challange is that each person who has us, feels they must out do the last one. The food is fabulous. Absolutely fabulous, and I am getting to eat so many things I would never have access to in the US. And such care and display on everything. And the quantity is huge. I spend most of my time here, saying ¨muy bueno¨ and then ¨no mas¨. They also love courses here. First is fresco questo, jamon, olives, potato chips and bread. the second course is Insalada mixa, thrid course is soup, 4th course is omelet, 5th carnae (meat), 6th is aged cheese and fruit, and then something dolce. At this time of year mostly ice cream. But they only feed us like this at lunch and dinner. The rest of time they make the international sign for eat, comar. You always have something to drink for you, and they are all disappointed that I can not have vino or the beollota (acorn) liquor that I do love. Breakfast is smaller with fruit, juice, leche, pan (bread), sweet things, maybe ceral and coffee. They squeeze fresh oj for us each morning and they make me a pot of tea. Their kindness and generousity just overflows. They are gentle and sweet to everyone and for years I saw such respect for the elders. I see as the next generation is taking on the challenges of this world, that the relationship is shifting between the elders and the younger people. Where they used to always defer to the elders, they now forget to make they feel as respected, but at home, the elders are still adored and revered.
The relationships between husbands and wives also seems to be different then in America. Divorce is still not something that is at all commor or accepted here, even though it is legal. They are strongly catholic, and very much their families revolve around their faith. It appears to make very strong personalities and strange bedfellows to my American eyes, but it works very well for them, and lets me see some amazing relationships that have lasted for 40, 50 and more years, and the people are very confident in their relationships so they can be themselves. I wish I had half the confidence in myself and the ability for someone to love me so accepting.
Tomorrow is Sunday and it is the celebration of Corpus Cristi. This is where they will cover the streets with flowers and parade the Jesus statute around town. People will crush together along the roads and sing and cheer and the priests and choir boys will be decked out in their finery and sing their sweet beautiful voices as they celebrate their faith once a year for this festival. People who do not go to mass regularly will fill the cathedrahls here to overflow. I love being with these people as they so openly express their faith. My beliefs are so polar opposite of theirs, but the joy, love and radiance you see in their faces is something to behold. They do not question my faith, I respect their rights to theirs, and even love to be there to see them practice theirs, so I feel so grateful to be here for this most important day for them.
Our afternoon hosts should be here in about 20 minutes, that is one hour after the scheduled time, but the extra hour of peace and quiet and the opportunity to use Davey´s computer has been wonderful. I love that time here is so different then our country. It makes thie magical place feel so timeless. Time actually moves differently, more in tune with the environment of this place. Less put on my human, and more connected with the planet.
We are seeing so much and making such amazing memories and I feel so very very grateful for this time. With beloved friends and my father, and with and for myself. You can not help but have a bit of a prespective change while you are here.
I am here
Life is so much more in the moment
you can not help but be grateful and awed by what a wonderful planet we live on
and it is very revealing that when they do the world news and weather, Canada is not mentioned at all, and the US is almost an after thought.
It is an ugly world with so many horrible things going on that we do not see in the US. But it does make me realize that we are rather vain in our country. We think we are so very important. Here, yes the US is a place where it holds a special place. But to the average person outside of the US, we not much more then a novelty.
Somehow I find that refershing to have not to be the best, the leader, the evil country that leads the world down a horrible path with our excess and technology. We are the teenagers, tolerated, appreciated, but not the world. Their news tells so much more about everywhere but us.
I hope to post many of the photos I have taken once I get home, but for now it is time to go to lunch at the old monastery, now a parador (museum, hotel, restraruant). Love to you all.
I miss you all and wish we could get to be here together. It would be so much fun for these two worlds I live in to come together.