you'll notice the blog archives here are mostly filled with blogging that was meant to keep my friends in the loop as to my adventures in europe. it's been three years since the beginning of my most recent trip across the pond so i thought i'd recall and rehash a few things that happened on my two trips to spain (july-august 2004 and january-july 2006).
the most enduring things from spain and europe that i continually think about if not daily, then at least weekly:
people i knew there (and still keep in contact with)
places i went (specifically bigger cities that are in the news)
spanish fútbol (most notably my team sevilla)
that's it, i guess. and hmm...that's not such a novel thing, either: to have "people" and "places" as two of my most-often evoked items. that seems pretty consistent with what traveling and living abroad is. so i guess the novelty i was aiming for has not been met; yet i am not discouraged in my blogging objective.
"people" comes up this week in particular because i talked on the phone to some of the people who were cornerstones of my two experiences. paco and pilar gómez were my host family (read: grandparents) during my summer in toledo. they were wonderful hosts and very kind. they genuinely care about the progress of the students that stay with them, and thus are very warm and encouraging for rough spanish speakers. this is also evidenced by paco's righteous anger and refusal to give students the password for his then newly-acquired (in 2006 when i returned for a visit) wireless internet. the unfortunate girl who stayed with them that spring received all of paco's ire when she would talk to her boyfriend back home on video chat programs until 3 am. you should have seen the bags under his eyes as he explained with open exasperation (as the spanish are known for) how little sleep he had been getting with all her chattering down the hall. he just wanted her to speak spanish! "es que estos americanos creen que están de vacaciones cuando aquí. ¡y no es así, aarón!" [these americans think they are on vacation when they come here, and that's not true!] he told me yesterday. paco's grandpa tendencies only make him more adorable though, as i could go on for hours.
the second "people" that i talked to this week was bahiya, my friend from sevilla. we arrived in sevilla from different parts of the world: she being born in morocco and having studied in pennsylvania, was preparing to enter a masters program at georgetown. and i, of course, from the midwest with no real aspirations for anything post-college. there are a few people in life that i have found that i can be friends with without the slightest effort or intention. that was a special connection that i shared with bahiya. i guess i don't know about her end of that, but my view of our friendship was (is) one of effortlessness. i think we just understood each other very well. both our senses of humor and our more serious moments of conversation meshed with ease. so we caught up with each other last night. it had been a year or so since we last spoke on the phone. it's just a genuine pleasure to know her as a friend. we have lots of good memories, to be sure, but more than that we found a lot to enjoy in our friendship. the picture below shows how much fun we were always having together with our other friends.
i think that's enough for this one. i'll probably continue this series of memories on occasion as i also read through my journal from the sevilla trip over the next 6 months. below are photos of paco (and pilar) and bahiya. ¡hasta luego!