Felisabel drove me home, as usual, and she told me she had been thinking of me the night before. How so, I asked? She went with a few friends for tapas in Plaza de Gavidia, and sat near a group of two american girls and several Spanish guys. One was lively and laughing, well-dressed, and continually ordering beers and chowing down on tapas, while the other sat silent and sulking. She grabbed her friend’s shoulder and said, “That´s the one I have been telling you about. Esa es mi Cat. That´s my Cat.”
If there are two typically Spanish things, it’s futbol and fiesta.
8:50 – From my table besides the window in La Sonata, I ate my tostada and had my coffee listening to tambourines tingle. Women in short flamenco dresses with stiff leather boots and men sporting straw hats emblazoned with their hermandad stood around smoking, greeting friends and making sure they had everything together. Many wore green and white (the colors of Triana) braided necklaces bearing a round, silver image of the virgin. Triana and Olivares joined about ten other hermandades that day in camino to the Aldea de El Rocio, as the small municipality is called, and it is among one of the most famous. Sevillanas played and the hermanos filled the streets. I walked to the bus stop and watched carretas join a long line, all numbered, waiting for the official salida at 11am. Sadly, the simpecado, which is often pulled by bulls, had not left.
Most people make the trip to El Rocio on foot, choosing to sleep in the fields at night and leave the trailers for storing food and drink and taking refuge during inclement weather. Rocieras, another version of Sevillanas, keep the troops motivated, and some go on horseback or carry the carretas with tractors.
9:50 – The bus driver pulled into the first stop in Olivares and said, this is as far as we can go. I was easily a 15-minute walk from school, with heels and with treats for my students, so I trucked along the town’s main street until I ran into the trailers. Olivares’s hermandad is also well-known, but the carretas are simple, pulled by tractors and briming with smartly-dressed Olivarenas who waved to the people gathered on street corners and on balconies as if it were their maiden voyage. Since school had been cancelled for the first two hours, I met a few of my compis in front of the hermandad’s church, Nuestra Senora de las Nieves, and watched the remainder of the parade go by.
10:30 – Two of my students, Rocio and her cousin Carmela, were missing from my first class, and even though I had a few days left, they had already said goodbye to me. The rest of the school day was fairly normal: classes, private lessons, and by the time I left Jaime and Maria’s, I was exhausted and feeling stressed.
10 pm – I arrived to Kike’s house exasperated and with three boxes of brownies still to make. I was greeted in the plaza with shouts of ATLEEEEEEETI and VIVA ER BETI! Sevilla FC and Atletico Madrid were duking it out that night for the championship of the Copa del Rey. Kike watched while I poured over boxed brownies with scant cooking supplies. Sevilla won 2-0, and I could have cared less. The city of Sevilla, however, did care, and car honking, screaming and red and white fireworks continued until 3am.
Pff, I’d take siestas over virgins any day.
For a video of the salida of the Virgen from her temple, click here
In Spanish, like in English, there exist many tenses. If you’re an English speaker, you might say, My name is Cat, and I’m writing a blog entry. The first half is present simple, used for facts, habits and every day occurrences, while the second refers to what one is doing at this very moment; in other words, the present continuous.
Translation: If I get lost one day, look for me in Triana. Don’t go to my native Asturias; perhaps you’ll hear the sound of bagpipes sighing in magical resonance. Look for me in a tavern in Triana, where our friend Paco, who smells of basil, gives us a good wine to drink of humility and temprance. IF I get lost one day, there you’ll find my soul.
Triana, me tienes enganchada. I live in Triana.
If I have learned anything in Spain, it’s to not believe anything until it’s signed, sealed and delivered. Or, in the Junta de Andalucia’s case, signed, stamped and hand-delivered. But even without that piece of paper giving me a job back, I know the chances are less than a finding a Spanish vegetarian. I’m out of a job come the end of the month.
I did expect this all along, and I’m ready for something new. Really. I mean it. But it’s hard walking into my school, ticking off days, cleaning out my endless papers and lesson plans knowing that my days are numbered. No “Hola, Bicho Medio Gato Saborilla” greetings in the morning, no more having my tostada ready and waiting when I eat at the bar down the street.
I’ve been telling my coworkers and classmates little by little so as not to overwhelm myself or cry or both. Most expected me to come back, and I’ve gotten a lot of sympathetic looks which remind that, even when I feel distraught and worthless, I’m appreciated.
In the meantime, I’ve been exhausting every trámite possible to stay here. I keep running into brick walls head-on, really, but I’ll keep going until I get something. Forty-three CVs and counting…desearme suerte!!