Yesterday was a watershed day for us. In many ways. I’ll let Jeff tell his own story of purchasing a tractor in town. He ventured out alone and came back smiling. But that wasn’t our only bit of fun. There was more.
Our neighbor came back. She knocked on the door in her apron and wellies carrying a bucket and rubber gloves. I was pretty sure she had come to clean our house. But no. She was ready to make good on the promise of helping us dispose of our unwanted furniture. No grass grows under her feet. And I know this is true because Jeff saw her out hoeing in her garden early in the morning, before she knocked on our door. I still don’t know why she had brought a bucket and rubber gloves.
We Spang-Galle-glished our way through a conversation. Learning Spanish here will be easier. I use it in every interaction. And I have to speak it. There is rarely a back up plan. Even with my friend, Concha, we use both. Often, she speaks Spanish and I answer her back in ingles. Or visa versa. Jeff’s Spanish is improving, too.
With Carmen from next door, I’m pretty sure we are friends now as she input my details into WhatApp. Then, we marched through the house and I pointed to what we didn’t want. She gave me the thumbs up for things she felt would sell. Then we went out to the barn and performed the same operation.
She asked me what time she should have the furniture guy come to pick it all up ‘so as not to disturb you.’ We agreed on a time and she left. Two hours before that time, she came back with her son and grandson. They (and Jeff) moved everything out on to the front lawn. This was a huge help for my continued unpacking and furniture arranging. The son and grandson, age 12, both spoke some ingles.
Eventually, the truck showed up and they loaded it all up. It’s nice to live in a place where the truck can pull up to the front door. In the midst of this, she brought me over a folder of papers related to the land our house sits on. They used to own it many years ago. And also, other documents related to the incorporation of the area and the town.
Now our house is starting to feel like our home. Less of the sellers things. We had been home all day dealing with the furniture deal, and yet I got a text that the internet technician had tried, yet again, to come and deliver our equipment, but we were not at home. What?!? Something was wrong. So we headed into town to have a conversation with Movistar. I wondered which of our crazy addresses they had. It seems something was lost in the translation. It turns out, the address was the wrong street, the wrong house number, wrong phone number, and a host of other words that I had never seen before. Jeff needs internet for work today. So we sorted it out, hopefully, knowing he will likely be tethering to his mobile to fill the gap for a day or two.
By this time, it was dinner time. We were near Concha’s cafe and thought we would have a quick bite. But, when we got there they had closed the kitchen down.
‘Don’t worry. I will make you a little something. Maybe just some meats and cheeses’. Then she disappeared to get our drinks. What came out of the kitchen 20 minutes later was a feast.
Salad with fried goat cheese. And a charcuterie that is now Jeff’s favorite.
‘I could eat this smoked sausage every day.’
I reminded her that she had said ‘something small’. Concha just laughed. ‘This is small. In Galicia we eat. It’s cold here.’
It was getting colder. The sun was setting. Time to go home. We turned down our treelined lane to the road filled with people clearly out for an evening stroll. We waved as they parted to let us pass. We walked back to the gate to lock up for the night when the group passed in front of the house. We greeted them but they had another agenda.
‘Are you the Americans?’ She asked.
We said we were.
‘They are saying in town that Americans from Valencia bought this house. (I have no idea how they can identify the house since the internet installer can’t find us) We are from Valencia. We run the Albergue down the road. Is it true you are from Valencia?’
I have never self-identified as ‘from Valencia’ so it felt strange. But I said we were. She told us their names. Mar and Carlos.
‘Where in Valencia?’ She asked.
When I told her Benimachlet, their eyes lit up.
‘We are from Alboraya.’ Carlos told us. ‘Near Patacona.’
It was the town next to Benimachlet. We know it well. It has our favorite cafe and restaurant.
‘You must come down and visit us. We are only 20 minutes walking down this same road.’ She turned to the other people walking with them and explained we were from Valencia. The women blew me kisses. We said our goodnights and headed for the house. While we had been in town our next door neighbor had walked back across the field. She left us fresh produce from her garden on the front porch.
Jeff laughed. ‘I guess Martina was right. Once they know you, and that you are staying, you’re in.’
With full bellies and full hearts, we slept soundly. And we woke up this morning smiling. We loved Valencia, and still have many good friends there. But we wanted to feel part of a community. And, it seems in just 5 days, that’s exactly what we got.