Parking, Snacks, and Kisses

KISSING, CHEEK TO CHEEK
Now that we live in Sevilla, we have learned that the appropriate greeting and farewell to friends (and sometimes acquaintances) is a kiss in the direction of a check.  Not just one cheek.  Both.  When Jerry said good-bye to Margarita Saturday afternoon, he gave her Spanish kisses with a bit of a flourish.  Margarita laughed (we seem to have that effect on her) and looked at me and said.  “He’s so snobby!”

We realized we had yet another thing to learn, so asked why his kisses defined him as snobby, and she explained that he didn’t even touch her.  His face was somewhere to the right and left of hers as he noisily kissed the air.

So, Jerry tried again.  He held Margarita’s shoulders and planted a kiss on each cheek.  She laughed again.

“Well,” she said, “That was like you were kissing granny! Come on, Jerry, somewhere in the middle!”

She explained that one SHOULD touch cheeks, but one should NOT touch lips to cheeks.  If you don’t touch cheeks, you’re being a snob.  If you touch lips to cheeks, you’re kissing grandma. 

Jerry gave it another try and was told he had perfected his Sevillano cheek-to-cheek air kiss.

PARKING, CHEEK TO CHEEK
We took a walk this afternoon in the beautiful sunshine and continuing heat.  Granted, it is no longer 40C (104F).  But 31C (88F) is still a bit too hot for hours of walking in the city… especially if you’re Jerry.  I must make it clear, however, that we are not complaining (much).  This is a lot better than raw winds, incessant rain, or snow. 

TODAY’S TREAT.  HEAVEN FOR ME (HELL FOR JERRY).

We stopped for tapasitas (not a meal, just a snack) at what turned out to be a low-end restaurant.  The food was nothing to write home (or here) about.  Except for the olives.  I love olives.  Jerry does not.

CALLE SOL (SUN STREET) AS IT MEETS PLAZA SAN ROMAN.

After our tapasitas, while on our walk down one of Sevilla’s charming streets, Calle Sol, we passed a temporarily parked car.  The picture says it all.

KISSING THE WALL.  SEVILLANO STYLE.

I Was Born Glamorous

GLAMOROUS AND ALREADY BORED WITH IT ALL.

Another beautiful Saturday in Sevilla.  And our first Saturday as legal residents. 

We rolled out of bed around 9:30, had our first breakfast of Greek yogurt and fruit and then went downstairs to El Sanedrín for our second breakfast of tostadas and café con leche.  I had my half tostada with ham, olive oil, and tomato.  Jerry had his whole tostada with butter and marmalade.  De siempre.  As always. 

While we sat and enjoyed another perfect, sunny morning in Sevilla, Margarita called.  I told her where we were and she joined us about 10 minutes later.  Jerry and I were already having a pleasant morning.  But, seeing Margarita as she headed across the plaza made the sun shine even brighter.

Margarita has lived in many countries.  She travels as often as she can and is enlightened, interested and interesting, funny, kind, charming, well-mannered, free-thinking, independent, and stylish. I think Jerry and I should start a fan club.

ARRIVING.  ON THE PHONE WITH MOM.

We sat and talked for two hours about politics, language, dialects, slang, culture, religion, prejudice, family, roots, tradition.  We laughed often.  If only the world were filled with Margaritas (and her namesake drinks aren’t bad either).

Jerry and I had gone downstairs in the cool of the late morning.  I wore jeans and an old cotton sweater, which became much too warm as the plaza heated up. 

As we sat and talked, I realized that not only was I feeling uncomfortably warm, but I also hadn’t showered or shaved.  I suddenly felt like a slob.  I apologized to Margarita for my appearance.  Her response as she looked me up and down?  “You?  You were born glamorous!”

Another reason to love Margarita.

We Sevillanos Love a Parade

Yes! Jerry and I are officially Sevillanos.  We took the bus today (in the unseasonable heat) to the Plaza de España to visit the Office of Foreigners. Our intention was simply to see if they could give us any information on our residency cards, which we had not yet received and which were a bit overdue.

ACROSS FROM THE CATHEDRAL. SOMEHOW MANAGING TO MAKE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC.

We arrived at the office around 4:00 in the afternoon. There was no line outside the office.  There was no one in the waiting room.  There was no one handing out numbered tickets. The guards ignored us when we walked in. I told them what we were there for and they told us to just go into the office (of Things 1, 2, and 3) across the hall.  We did so and were met by three different staff people at their desks and only one customer.  The woman at the first desk immediately greeted us and told us to just step right over to the other available staffer.  He also greeted us pleasantly.

SINGING THE BLUES.  BRILLIANTLY.

I told him why we were there and handed him the receipt I had been given on our last visit in late August.  He looked at my name and immediately began rifling through a box of residency cards.  This was too good to be true.  And then it appeared that it was (too good to be true).  As he flipped through each of the cards in my alphabetical section, my heart began to sink.  There were about 30 cards and he had already flipped through all but three.  But then it happened.  He hesitated at the third card from the end.  He checked the card against my receipt and handed me my very own, official-with-my-hideous-photograph, hard plastic, finger-printed, signed, hologram-emblazoned “PERMISTO DE RESIDENCIA.”  I wanted to hug the guy.  He then very quickly found Jerry’s card, which was the second one in his section.  Jerry and I beamed. I told the man this was a very important day for us. We thanked him profusely and we left.

GETTING ORGANIZED BEFORE PERSONALLY ESCORTING US FROM PLAZA NUEVA.

Once out on the terrace, Jerry and I high-fived.  We then hugged.  And we then kissed — Spanish style (air kisses to the side of each cheek).  We stopped for a mini celebration of chocolate cake and mango smoothies and then walked home. To our home.  To the address imprinted on our legal Spanish identification cards!

LEAVING PLAZA NUEVA.  LET THE DRUMS ROLL OUT.
THE MOST JOYOUS DRUMMING, EXPRESSING EXACTLY HOW WE FELT.

It seemed all of Sevilla was out to celebrate and serenade us today.  On the Avenida de la Constitución, we stopped and listened to a talented hammered-dulcimer player (at least I think the rickety old — and beautiful sounding — instrument was a hammered dulcimer).  Next up was an incredible guitar-playing blues singer, beer bottle in hand.  After crossing the Plaza Nueva, we came across a large group of marchers in costume.  We thought it was a political rally but soon learned they were performers representing the International Festival of Sevilla Perfopoesía — poets and poet/performance artists from all over the world here for an annual festival.  We just happened to stumble onto the start of the Perfopoética Parade.  Talk about poetic!

A COLORFUL CELEBRATION TO OFFICIALLY WELCOME US HOME.

A Rose by Any Other Name

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EARLY (FOR US) THIS MORNING

It’s another holiday in Spain (or, more precisely, it is several holidays in Spain).  Since 1987, the first holiday has been called Fiesta Nacional de España, but it began to be observed in 1935 as Dia de la Hispanidad (Day of the Hispanicity), which didn’t become an official national holiday until 1981.

THE REMAINS OF COLUMBUS.

The Dia de la Hispanidad was created to commemorate the anniversary of Columbus’s pillaging of (excuse me) landing in the New World, which means it’s Columbus Day.

It is also the Day of the Armed Forces, which is, I am told, usually commemorated with a military parade in Madrid.  Other than that, there’s not a lot of fanfare or flag-waving because it’s all overshadowed by another feast day, the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Day of Our Lady of the Pillar), the patron saint of Spain.

As a matter of fact, two different people told me yesterday that today was a national holiday.  Neither person told me about Fiesta Nacional, Christopher Columbus, or the Armed Forces.  They both told me it was the Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

This morning at around 8, after Jerry and I had decided to snuggle comfortably in bed for another couple of hours, we heard chanting and voices outside.  Once we completed our muttering about the noise, we realized what it was and opened the shutters and doors to the wonderful fragrance of incense and to see another paso in the street below as it headed for the Convent of Santa Rosalía.

THE RETURN JOURNEY BEGINS.

Three hours later, the procession was much larger and included a 50-piece band (Jerry counted) for the return march from the Convent of Santa Rosalía to the Brotherhood of Vera Cruz (about 3 blocks away).  I have great video of the procession and the music, but I haven’t been able to convert the video to a format that will open on my Mac (without having to download new software).  So, you’ll have to trust me that the band was very good.  I wonder if they’re available 29 February 2012 for the first quadrennial Procesión de San Geraldo.

ON THEIR WAY HOME.

El Procesión de San Geraldo

Jerry is a human being filled with inconsistencies.  It is one of the many traits that makes him so especially interesting (i.e., never boring) to me.

He is a perfectionist, precise and careful in all he does.  Except when he’s not.

He is masterful with words and language.  Except when he’s covering all his ducks or getting all his bases in a row.

And he is extremely outgoing, charming, and social.  Except when he wants to hole up at home for days on end and not have to speak to anyone.

So, given the added challenges he faces currently (and temporarily) with a lack of skills to communicate intelligently in Spanish, it’s no surprise that he some days would just prefer to stay home.

AN EXAMPLE
Yesterday, Jerry went to the pharmacy and did well in communicating that he needed to refill some prescriptions.  The pharmacist asked him a question in rapid-fire local dialect.  He thought he understood and, pointing to his head, said he was sorry but he couldn’t remember.  “Un momento,” he said, as he searched his wallet for the business cards I made up containing all our pertinent information.  He showed the card to the pharmacist and pointed to his phone number. The pharmacist laughed and explained that she had asked for his name (nombre) and not his number (numero).  She also told him that she had been a bit concerned when she thought he didn’t remember his name.

So, Jerry has suggested that he might like to become a recluse.  Initially, he said I could “roll him out” once a year just like the locals roll out the statues of Jesus and the multitudes of Virgins.  He suggested that I find at least a dozen very sturdy men to hoist him up, carry him downstairs, and then haul him around town for a couple of hours before hauling him back upstairs.  Of course, he wants to be accompanied by a large band of musicians.  He said I’ll just need to go around in advance to put up posters.

When he told Margarita his idea, she thought it was hilarious and suggested the event be called “El Procesión de San Geraldo.”  Margarita asked if Jerry had selected a date for his annual procession.  He then decided he did not want to have to be “processed” every single year.  So, he suggested Leap Year.  He thought 29 February would be ideal.  He would then only have to be hauled out and dusted off once every four years.

I just looked it up and Jerry is going to be very disappointed to learn that Leap Year is coming up.  He’s going to have to leave the house again in a little over four months.  So, watch for the posters.  The first Quadrennial Procesión de San Geraldo will occur 29 February 2012.

THE FIRST QUADRENNIAL PROCESIÓN DE SAN GERALDO?