Sunday, January 4, 2009
Settling in, in Sahagún
“Well, it’s about time, ‘Mom’! Our public is getting impatient!”
“Sorry kids, but we have been very busy and we don’t have internet or wifi in the apartment.”
“It’s okay, ‘Mom,’ I understand. Maybe you can tell our friends about what we’ve been doing?”
“Thanks, Brown Bear. We arrived in Sahagún last Sunday and were very warmly greeted by our ‘Spanish family,' the Luna-Tovars. I met them in 1982 when I was doing fieldwork for my Ph.D. in anthropology. They welcomed me and my then-twelve-year-old son, Jesse, into their family. And when Gary and I returned here in 1997, they took us in again as family—just as they have this time.”
“Oh, enough already! Tell everyone what you’ve been doing while you left us behind!”
“We settled into a lovely new 4-star hotel in town (only 65 Euros a night) for a few days. Monday we went with Piedad (the 50-year-old daughter of ‘our’ family) to Palencia (about 45 minutes away by car) to finish the application process for our Spanish identity cards. She has been wonderfully helpful! We were afraid it would take months but they should arrive within 25 days. But we can’t leave the country until we get them, so we asked Piedad, her brother, Pedro, and her mother, Paca, to help us find somewhere to stay in Sahagún for a month. Miracle of miracles, they found us a three-bedroom, furnished apartment on Tuesday for 325 Euros a month. We moved in on Wednesday morning (New Year’s Eve)."
“It’s been such a whirlwind! Who would have believed how busy we’ve been!”
“It is hard to believe how much we’ve accomplished. New Year’s Eve we spent with Rebekah (an American) and Paddy (her British husband), who live in a very small town nearby called Moratinos. Then the four of us came back to Sahagún to celebrate New Year’s with everyone at the plaza mayor. Only—nobody was there!”
“Nobody was there?”
“Nobody was there?”
“Nobody was there. Even the bars were closed.”
“So the four of us ate grapes (a Spanish tradition) under the old clock tower as the bells struck midnight. And then we wandered the streets wondering where everybody was!”
“They were at home, weren’t they?”
“Right on, Brown Bear.”
“Of course. Spaniards celebrate New Year’s with their families, just as bears do.”
“But then they go out and party, just like bunnies, right, ‘Mom’?”
“Indeed. Piedad and her husband, Angel, and the visiting cousins and everybody went out after 2 a.m. and partied for hours. I’m told the bars were full of people.”
“Oh, why didn’t I get to go!”
“We didn’t go either, Honey Bunny. There was something wonderfully iconic about these four ignorant foreigners wandering the empty streets crying out, ‘Where are all the people?’”
"Well, you didn't know better. You'll learn."
“Indeed. There is lots to learn. We went to Piedad and Angel’s home for New Year’s Day meal, complete with gambas (shrimp with their heads on)--"
"'Dad' photoshopped us onto the edge of the casserole!"
"clams, mussels, free-range chickens from their backyard, salad with pomegranate seeds and escarole from their extensive backyard garden, homemade flan contributed by one of the aunts… It was a multigenerational affair, ranging in age from Angel’s 99-year-old father to Angel and Piedad’s thirteen-year-old son Marcos, a gifted flute player and actor. Their other son, Alvaro, is fifteen, and loves to play Spanish football (soccer) and work in the garden with his dad. Everyone ate amazingly tasty, high-quality food, drank wine, and then, later, played cards for hours.”
“We missed it all!”
"Sorry. We just want to take it slow with introducing you to people."
“You haven’t introduced us to anyone yet!”
“Yes we did—you met Rebekah today when she came to show us around town and shop at the Saturday morning market.”
“All things in good time, kids.”
“I hope so! Otherwise we shoulda stayed home!”
“And didn’t you go to León Friday?”
“Oh right. We’ve done so much… We took the train to the capitol city, León, and searched out health food stores, etc. to see if we could get such things here. And we can. Organic coffee and veggies, almond milk (in powder), organic teas—the selection is much smaller and you have to go to lots of stores to find everything, but we got everything on our list, including beeswax candles and tea tree oil. Amazing. And there’s even a Pilates/Gyrotonics center, and an acupuncturist, and Tai Chi… Our needs our met! And this Monday evening we’ll go see the cabalgata, a horseback procession (well, it used to be—maybe now it’s on tractors!) of the Three Kings.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“Can we go? Please please?”
“We’ll see. What do you think, Brown Bear, have I written enough for now?”
“I think you’ve caught everybody up to date. So, until later--"
"Wait--there's more! If they go to 'Dad's' blog, http://havingfununtilIdie.blogspot.com, they'll see photos of the whole dinner party with our family! So don't waste a minute, friends--check it out! Hasta la vista---"