It's the little victories in life, right? Like when you're in a new country where you don't speak the language... at a shop trying to buy your son a needle to take out his splinter... and it turns out that you've either just asked the store clerk for a witch, or told him to go f*&k himself? (Insert crazily embarrassed emoji here!)
Is it terrible that I can't stop laughing about this?
Here were my exact words tonight: "Perdon señor, me gustaria una bruja."
The youngish male clerk with dark hair stopped and stared at me, standing there smiling at him with my two earnest small children.
"Como?" he asked.
"Una bruja para mi hijo. El tiene una..." (here I paused to take out my Spanish/English dictionary and look up the word splinter... "una astilla."
Unsurprisingly, he continued to look at me in a perplexed manner. "Una bruja?"
Something was clearly amiss. I quickly looked up "needle" in the dictionary.
"Ah!!! Lo siento... quiero una aguja, no una bruja!"
The poor guy's face cleared up and he looked greatly relieved as he shook his head firmly.
"No, Señora, no tenemos una aguja."
Completely embarrassing but true translation:
"Excuse me sir, I would like a witch." (Or, according to the Spanish urban dictionary... "I would like you to go f*&k yourself.")
"A witch for my son. He has a... splinter."
"Oh, I'm sorry... I want a needle, not a witch!"
"No, madam... we do not have a needle here."
(In his head he may have added, "...you crazy witch!" LOL.)
Well... like mother, like daughter. I was not the only one making a bashful apology today. Little Angel managed to knock a piece of marble shelving in our AirBNB off a shelf and onto the beautiful wood floor, which obliged neither of us by immediately making a dent. Sigh. We handled it the only way we know how... with a heartfelt crayon apology to the apartment owner and an offer to pay for the damage. This is what it's really like to travel with younger kids. There is a lot of laughter and patience involved.
But, I digress. Here are some photos to catch up on our first few days!
Yesterday we walked through the Mercat Galvany. You know you're not in Kansas (or California) anymore when the crustaceans look like they're doing a dance number on ice while they wait for you to pop them into your paella.
We are also getting used to the rhythm of life here. We waited for 20 minutes behind a woman buying slices of meat at the butcher, just to buy a bottle of water because it was 90 degrees outside and we were so thirsty. Soccer Dude and Little Angel were incredibly patient and it was truly interesting to listen to the woman and the butcher chatting away in Spanish, in such a relaxed fashion, as though neither of them had a care in the world or anything to do besides just enjoy talking about the thickness of a slice of meat together. I found myself using the opportunity as a chance to meditate (very sweatily) and recognize that my American "Let's get this done super fast" attitude is going to have to chill out here in Spain. It is a "vida tranquila" and there is beauty in the slow pace.
Today we took the metro out to visit Agora Sant Cugat, the school where all three of our cherubs will attend this year. Soccer Dude and Little Angel were pretty psyched to see it again! On the way back we saw this cute little old Spanish couple leaving the Metro station and I couldn't help but take their (blurry) photo. I fell plumb in love with his awesome suspenders! It's such a great explanation for the vast difference between Spanish and American culture today. Where in America would you see these sweet folks, other than perhaps a nursing home? I love the respect for age and experience in Spain. Dignity exists here.
We're enjoying our time in the older part of Sarria, and I think we will look for our permanent apartment here. It's an easy commute to the kids' school outside of the city, and yet it still has that Barcelona city magic... here are a few views taken from inside of our favorite restaurant in Sarria, Panino Silvestre... which deserves a blog post of its own! These snapshots give a feeling for the street:
This afternoon we took our first real siesta. Por que no? We had nowhere in particular to be, and it was so pleasant in the middle of a scorching hot day to feel justified in coming back to our lovely cool apartment to rest... knowing that everyone else in town, even the construction workers rebuilding the sidewalk outside of our windows, was doing the same. Little Angel got a good nap and was a bit more perky tonight than she's been in several days. A/C is a real gift on a day like today.
At home if I'd awakened from an afternoon nap, I'd probably feel groggy and guilty for having "wasted" the day. Here, when we awakened at 5pm from our siesta, we knew the day was young and stores were just opening again for their final shift until closing between 8 and 9pm.
The sky was still bright with daylight. Soccer Dude, Little Angel and I took a leisurely stroll down to the Jardins de la Villa Amèlia... lovely parallel gardens just a ten minute walk away in a different corner of Sarria. We wandered through a somewhat hidden "passage" that led us into the center of a lovely group of apartments (photo top-L) and then cruised by a gorgeous civic center (photo top-M) that looked more like a palace.
The gardens of Villa Amélia tonight were full of families, small children, puppies and elderly folk strolling or sitting in wheelchairs. The atmosphere felt felt extremely safe. We saw no litter, smelled no foul scents, witnessed no animal waste, not even any homeless gents catching a snooze. Just a lot of regular moms, dads and grandparents hanging out together while teaching their kiddos how to ride bikes; and encouraging them to have courage... to go a little higher on the swings.
I can't explain any of it yet... what are the deeper realities and inequities in Spanish or Catalan society??? Of course they exist, and in time we will understand the dynamics around us better. Still, we are truly happy... and there is a lot to learn!