Court Jester

The saying goes ‘In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.’ That saying is playing out in our household every day. It seems I have been the anointed one. Sort of. With my horrible Spanish, I am put forward by Jeff and Emilie to ask for directions, make dinner reservations, speak to a pharmacist for medications and all the rest. Clearly, their lives are in my hands – Fools!

Today, I took Emilie to my hair salon. She needed a trim and I had made an appointment for her before she got here last weekend. I brought my grocery trolley so that while they were doing her hair, I could pop over to the Mercadona across the street and get groceries.

We pushed the button to be allowed across the threshold. This is something so foreign to me. Needing to be buzzed into a business so that I may begin my pieced together questions/instructions for Emilie’s beauty experience. In the US, we are always looking for ways to take any little the friction out of doing business. If we had to buzz people in to the lamp store or beauty salon, I think they would go out of business swiftly. But here? Totally normal that the sign says ‘Abierto’ yet the door is locked.

So I said my piece and looked over at Emilie who was rolling her eyes at my broken Spanish and my gesturing. Oh yeah – the light went on in my head – now I remember what it was like to have a teenager around. Since she’s been here, I’ve come out of my room on a daily basis to a look of ‘You’re going out in that?’ even though the words are left unspoken.

The first night, Jeff tried to explain to her about some of the more subtle differences that arise while living in Valencia. So she could be somewhat culturally sensitive. I know she was tired but we got a lot of ‘yeah, I know – I’ve been to Spain before.’ But she has never really lived here, Jeff pointed out, and then promptly gave up.

After growing up in a large home, ‘El Compartimiento‘ has not impressed her. I think it was as much a shock to her system as it was to Jeff’s that first night. But Emilie will adjust, just like he did. And now he likes it because we have just what we need, and no more. He feels lighter and says so. I knew he’d get there.

Sleep has helped Emilie. And a little retail therapy was a temporary balm. But today, at the salon, I got just a little scoshe of satisfaction leaving her there to fend for herself after the eye roll, while I went to forage for food. While I walked the aisles plucking baked goods and meat from the shelves, I wondered if I’d come back and her head would be shaved or her hair would be three colors of the rainbow. Neither of these scenarios would have made her very happy.

But alas, it seemed she muddled through and Pili did a great job at making her look like her. Perhaps in the future, I’ll anoint a new one-eyed king. When it comes to needing to interact, Miss Emilie can use her limited French and broken Spanish and find her way. But I’ll still keep the Pharmacy – I’m no fool.

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