I’m pretty sure that my neighbor, Carmen (Marie Carmen) determines what we eat now. She knocked on the door yesterday and handed Jeff another box of veggies. Perfect for a batch of turkey vegetable soup on this rainy Monday. It’s the first time he’s had to speak to her alone. I was upstairs and didn’t run to the rescue. They used Jeff’s voice translation app and I heard lots of laughter. So I figured they didn’t need me.
We spent a chunk of yesterday hauling and stacking wood. I loaded it up into my new wheel barrow, over and over, delivering to Jeff in the shed where he arranged it in neat rows. People pay cross-fit gyms big money for the pleasure of this kind of workout. We were dripping by the end. I am sore today after moving every piece of this wood. It needs to dry for a month before requesting a second delivery to fill up the remaining area. Winter will be toasty on the farm.
Then we got cleaned up to attend a neighborhood gathering. Along with her vegetable delivery, Carmen invited us to come to a small party she was hosting for her neighbors (all vaccinated), funny how vaccines were a hot topic, and some folks down from Santander (also vaccinated) who have a second home a half mile from our house. Carmin keeps an eye on it for them to deter squatters. I’m notifying her when we head out on vacation.
Carmen introduced us to everyone in Spanish. ‘They are the people who have taken our cat. And they even have a bed for him on their porch.’ I laughed but she just smiled. ‘Don’t worry. He has many girlfriends in the neighborhood. You are not the only one.’
We will admit we were a little shy about attending this party. Yet we had to go. Our Spanish is not good, but we grabbed a nice bottle of wine from the fridge and plunged right in. The spread was as you would expect. More than anyone could eat in a week. The 30 year old son of the Santander folks spoke Ingles. He was helpful. Turns out he has a Masters in Aerospace and Aeronautics, and he is interested in working in the US. Jeff enjoyed talking to him and gave him some advice.
‘The big thing is to not give up. Look at us. Four years ago we had no idea we would be living in Spain. A year ago, we had no idea we would live here. Amazing things happen. Just stay positive and don’t listen to anyone who tells you it can’t be done. You just never know.’
Jeff works for a company with deep ties in Aeronautics. And our Ryan has his PhD in an Aerospace related field. So we are going to help hook up Santiago so he can learn more about what his options might be in finding something in the US.
Overall, while we didn’t understand everything, we had a great time on a warm summer evening around a large table under a shady tree, surrounded by fragrant roses, deep blue hydrangeas, and dalias that were bursting with blooms. And that warm honey colored light that finds you no matter where you are in Spain. The company were also warm and welcoming. We didn’t feel like outsiders, at all.
Before we made our way home, Carmen took me on a tour of her gardens. I say ‘gardens’ because she has two large ones. I can now envision where all my meals are being grown. The strawberries are nearly ripe. Fresh strawberry shortcake is in our future. Then she took me inside the house. I had never been inside before. There was all our old furniture neatly arranged. It looks better in her house than in mine. She was very pleased and proud to show me.
A simple, low key night. Spectacularly unspectacular. Just right.