The Great State of Santacoda?

Last night, we had a tapas dinner in La Alameda neighborhood with our warm, charming, funny, and fascinating Sevillana friend, Margarita.  Margarita teaches English and Spanish, but our rapid-fire American English at times leaves her a bit confused.  In January, while trying to fill a lifetime of information into a few brief meetings, we told her about Jerry’s childhood in South Dakota.  As part of Margarita’s studies, she learned about all the states of the USA and all their capitals.  (She’s probably more informed than I am.)  But, because we were speaking so quickly, she didn’t clearly catch the words “South Dakota.”  So, she admitted last night, immediately after we left in February she began to do research on the place she thought Jerry was from.  She said she became more and more frustrated because she could find absolutely no reference to this placed called “Santacoda.”  After a couple of days, the light bulb went on, “Hmm,” she thought, “that sounds an awful lot like South Dakota.”


What a warm welcome we have felt in this exceptional city.  We are so glad to be back here and to have decided that this will be our home in Spain.  The counter-person at our favorite breakfast place, Nostalgia, (remember “dos especiales, por favor”?) recognized us and welcomed us back with a huge smile and warm greeting.  Thursday night, we had dinner at our favorite restaurant, San Marco, the place we visited every Sunday when we were here in January/February, and one of the servers remembered us and even offered to treat us to after-dinner drinks.


Our friend Alberto, who had been visiting family far from here for 12 days and only just returned for two days before heading off again, still managed to schedule an appointment for us with a rental agent he knows.  He met us for drinks before introducing us to the agent and he then raced off.  He is so kind.  The agent was great and showed us the one and only apartment she has available and, unbelievably, we fell in love with it.  So, we may even have a home!


I had my own Margarita Moment (Santacoda) yesterday while talking with the agent as we were leaving the apartment, which is part of the top floor of a former private palace.  I told her in Spanish that we were very interested.  Well, I MEANT to tell her in Spanish that we were very interested.  What I in fact said was that we were very interestING.  I realized my mistake and started to laugh and then corrected myself (interasado, not interesante).  She laughed, too, but said she agreed, we WERE very interesting.


Also, we told Margarita that Thursday evening when we walked by Rodilla, a very good chain cafe, the counter person remembered us and excitedly welcomed us home.  Margarita said, “Ah, Rodilla.  Si.”  Jerry thought she was correcting our pronunciation of the name, so he repeated, Arodilla.  I then had to explain… to him and to her.  This is certainly going to be entertaining!



On our way to La Alameda with Margarita last night, we passed an antique and collectibles store.  It was closed, but the lights were on and, from across the narrow street, I noticed what looked like the Parachute Jump sitting on a small table in the window.  I excitedly crossed the street to get a closer look.  Yes!  It was an actual working replica of the Parachute Jump from the 1939 New York World’s Fair.  The Parachute Jump visible from my mother’s apartment windows.  The Parachute Jump my mother got to ride with her friend Harriet in the mid-1940s by “picking up a couple of sailors.”  So, now I’m trying to keep myself from going back to the store to buy it.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

18 thoughts on “The Great State of Santacoda?”

  1. I think I would find myself standing in the streets, day and night, marveling at the architecture, bold old and ultra-new.
    So, so gorgeous.
    And, of course, the food.

    Now I'm hungry!

  2. Looking good, Mitch, VERY good.
    I reckon that before very long you'll be creating a first class gazpacho. (El mio SIN ajo, por favor!) – And you'd better start practicing those daily siestas in order to 'blend in' to the Spanish lifestyle. Or maybe that's just a myth.

    Santacoda? = Holy ****! (Holy 'tail'? Enough said!)

  3. Bob: I think my new look is agog! It's unbelievable!

    Raybeard: Jerry is already good at gazpacho. I, on the other hand, screw up microwave oatmeal. We've already perfected our afternoon siestas! And I think Santacoda is briliant and should be the 51st state!

  4. Hello Mitch, your blog is absolutely awesome. Please keep blogging and sharing your experiences with us!!
    I´m a bit jealous because you didn't choose Malaga (my city), but Sevilla is a wonderful place with charming people.
    You both are gonna flip out when Semana Santa arrives,even if you are not religious,scenery and traditions there are so interesting.
    I hope read more "Santacoda moments", here in Andalucia you are going to have a lot of them, specially with "señoras mayores" and in local little shops, i wonder funny misunderstoods.
    You are very welcome to my country and don´t forget visit Malaga area in a future,we have a lot of interesting things down here.

    Little advice: Ask Margarita teach you some typical andalusian expressions and use it with locals, if you do it, you will get their hearts in a blink of an eye. Sevillians are "muy sentíos".

    Good luck and have a good nap!

  5. Hola Jazintosh! Welcome to my blog and thank you for your very kind and generous welcome to your wonderful country! And, yes, Margarita is already trying to teach us to use Sevillano expressions. Malaga is a very beautiful and fascinating city. We look forward to spending time there when we're not so anxious to get things accomplished here. Thanks again!

  6. Spain does modern bold architecture better than anywhere else I think (just look at Valencia)!
    That space in Sevilla looks awesome – I love it.
    Step away from the parachutes Mitch – you just downsized remember?!
    Congrats on finding a new apartment.

  7. Craig: I agree regarding Spain and architecture and I've only just glimpsed a bit… I especially love the contrast of old and new. And thanks for the pep talk and reminder about down-sizing. I really needed it. $250 for a toy Parachute Jump! NOT necessary! The photo and experience are enough!

  8. It's a sign! Is it not?

    As for the historical context crowd… I have no sympathy. If they had their way, Notre Dame would never have been built in Paris. It was so NOT in context with the surrounding urban fabric of the time. New York would not exist. I mean, really.

    It sounds like you guys have found your home. At least for the time being. Does Mitchell ever stop moving? 🙂

  9. Walt the Fourth: I absolutely agree!

    As for me, no, the blog title will always be appropriate. Even when I'm not "moving," I'm on the move. And as soon as I'm no longer on the move, I'm moving again.

  10. Siri: And I look forward to hearing about what's going on with you both in San Diego… and Sirious Design… and Sole of Sweden. Pretty full plate!

  11. Love the modern market place, even when historians are against it. Life is progress, architecture is too.

    You can still name your new digs "Santacoda Palacio"

  12. Love that waitstaffs are recognizing you and welcoming you both back warmly. If I know anything about you two, it's that you make friends wherever you go.

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