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Learning the Spanish ways

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So even though we just went through 24 hrs of say what? we had just gotten to the house & needed to explore our surroundings. Who cares that we were exhausted & didn't have our bags. I was happy to be here with such wonderful & caring people as my family to enjoy this place. As soon as we walked around, we were mesmerized by the view of course but also there were more animals to be encountered, besides the horses, goats & sheep, we had seen on our way up. On the actual property of the cottage, there were donkeys, a turkey, 2 female peacocks & 1 beautiful male, 2 cats, 4 dogs, & a few alpacas! They belonged to the nice English couple who owned the property & lived next door. He was your normal looking man & his wife was reminiscent of "Magda" from Something About Mary, kinda hard to say how old they really are. For those who haven't seen this movie & don't understand the reference, picture an older woman who has been tanning for hours, daily for years & is darker than I am but in a wrinkly leathery fashion. I am not trying to be mean just making an observation. They both were vegetarians & grew most of the food on the property, like cauliflower, eggplant (known as aubergine to them), broccoli, raspberries & other goodies.

There also were beautiful flowers, plants & trees like cactus & aloe & also beautiful stone everywhere to appreciate. As we were getting acquainted with them a couple of their dogs wanted to meet us & check us out. Since we had arrived, they barked at us & let us know this was their home. I was gonna introduce myself to them so they would know me & not bark EVERY time. A large, light brown shepherd mix approached & opened his entire mouth around my arm. Now normally this would have been BAD but in his case that was his way of saying hello & as I interpreted "shaking your hand". It didn't hurt in the least, this was Fat Boy- named after Fat Boy Slim ;-) Another dog that made an impression on us was this shmedium (Elida word for small but medium) terrier/shepherd mix who was super cute & reminded me of my Virgil but also reminded us of Cheeto- CAndy's dog. I would call him Cheegil but his real name was "Suerte" which means "luck" in Spanish. I started thinking this was our little bit of home or like it was a Spanish mirror view of our real home, like Alice In Wonderland. The other 2 dogs stayed closer to their house & we only saw them when they approached the car, barking. One did sorta bite at Corrie so I knew to keep a watchful eye & to go slow in getting to know him, especially around the kids. Also to approach us, was a sweet, black & orange cat who loved to be petted- her name was Twinkle & had been given to them by a little girl who couldn't keep her. This is kinda interesting to me because Joe & Caroline's cat's name is Sparkle & Twinkle really liked Caroline (missing her little girl). Yet another similiarity! Can you hear the Twilight Zone music playing?
Okay, so the houses were beautiful- 3 bedroom's in the main house complete w/a bidet or as the kids first called it- a butt washer. There was a full kitchen w/a washing machine (this is where its kept in Spain), there aren't dryers (only for the rich, I've been told) so clothes dry outside w/ sun & air. There is a fancy clothes dryer contraption located outside (pic to be included). Decorating the house are tapestries with Spanish, Middle Eastern & Mediterrean accents, LOTS of handmade pottery & wall hangings made from the alpaca hair by Di, the owner of the property. The casita where I am staying is a smaller version of the Casa Grande (big house), similar in fashion, except I have a bigger kitchen, ironically. Lots of windows & shutters to let the sun in & look out at the amazing view. There is also a BEAUTIFUL BLUE tiled pool located outside, in between the houses for us to enjoy. I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting poolside & or swimming with the kids. There are some moths, flies, & gnats which luckily for me aren't causing a problem for me in the skin department, for all who know me- I am hypersensitive to bug bites. They all are a nuisance because they're not just flying around, they try to land on you & the gnats bite. There are also wasps or yellow jackets that REALLY like hanging around the pool, so there have been MANY killing sprees. Joe, Caroline & I have both been stung- that hurts!

On the road, we encountered a local shepherd & his MANY goats walking (I mean like a 100) so we got out & made his acquaintance. Regarding Spanish language; I am fluent but am learning there are quite a few differences in my dialect & theirs, Corrie knows a good amount & Andy knows a few words, & the kids know a little from what they've been studying at home but hadn't gotten a chance to use. The shepherd wasn't too sure about us, but when he saw how excited we were to see all the goats, especially the kids. I made the effort to start a conversation with him & asked if we could touch the goats. He grabbed one in particular & motioned for the kids to touch it. We talked & took pictures for a couple minutes realizing that our car was blocking the road & that there were goats behind our cars waiting for it to move, so they could move along. The goats were used for milk & cheese purposes, mostly had bells on & could be heard from far. I asked him if he knew all their names & he just looked at me; I explained I was making a joke & he laughed. Now I can be both shy & outgoing, so its been interesting talking to strangers while also practicing my Spanish, that I only speak with my mom & the employees at the Mexican restaurants, so we ALL are learning! We hiked down & up the road getting a sense of the land & met another local; an older gentleman who was throwing bread scraps to about 6 or so different dogs. The dogs are all different breeds, super cute but sadly malnourished, the vet tech in me wants to run tests on them & make them better. They lay in the middle of the street sometimes & we have to wait for them to move. There was a dog furiously barking at us that reminded me of Cujo, who luckily was chained up. The man threw a scrap at him as we passed the dog, he said it was to quiet him down. The kind man proceeded to follow us & talk to me & Corrie. At this point, I realized he was in a happy drunken state & that his wife was also following us. I thought to talk to her so she didn't get any bad impressions from us. We left & went to the closest town to us, Villanueva de la Concepcion, which is about 20 mins driving from the cottage. We ate dinner at a restaurant named Xebar, where an English couple who owned the place, embraced us & our American ways. She made her first Grilled Cheese sandwich for Joe. I had some Spanish olives, grilled chicken with lemon juice/garlic & a side salad. Oh & a red, tiny hot pepper with a might kick!
We head home to wind down from our big adventure here & to settle in for the night so we can prepare for the drive into the big city, Malaga for kids' 1st day of Spanish lessons. I accompanied Andy who was driving into Malaga, to retrieve our bags from the airport. I couldn't let him go by himself down the crazy road down at NIGHT. So 45 mins or so we are the airport trying to find someone that will help us at AirEuropa. There was a lady named Irene who had called regarding our bags. So all we had to do was find the office & Irene, sounds easy enough? We found the office next to other airline offices but no one was there, I was afraid we had missed her. I notice that there are people in the other offices so I proceed to ask this woman who wasn't helping anyone on the other side but was sitting playing on her phone, possibly eating a snack. I begged her pardon & asked if she knew where I could find Irene. She rolled her eyes at me, got up, mumbled some Spanish to me, turned off the lights & left. Yes, seriously that happened! WOW! So I find someone else & ask if people stay in these offices & he said no they come & go which was comforting that Irene was still there. He said that she was assisting someone else at the moment. So now we wait for Irene or anyone else to come back to this office. In the meantime, we people watch all the different ethnic groups passing through the airport. I now assume that everybody speaks Spanish here but also a little bit of other languages to since they have to communicate with so many ethnicities. Two Asian women approach our area, one younger & maybe the other was her mom or aunt. The "mom" walks up to me & in perfect Spanish talks at me about why there isn't anyone in the office. I kindly tell her that we are supposed to wait for them but that there is help available. She states that the younger lady had lost her passport. I nodded in understanding her dilemma. Irene shows up & she speaks some English too. Yes, I understand Spanish but definitely feel more comfortable speaking English with details of the important kind & also Andy wasn't completely in the dark. They speak really some real fast Spanish too! We only had 1 bag out of 5 that had been located & was there. As we were talking to Irene, in between a pause of words the Asian "mom" starts barking at Irene about the lost passport. We all look at her like she was being rude & to wait her turn, she looked at us completely oblivious. Irene kindly told her she'd be with her in a moment, after she got our bag. She had never thanked Irene for being nice to her while she barked at us. Turns out the ONE bag they managed to get to us, was Joe's- not any of the adults. Ha! We were speaking to Irene about what had happened & the next steps...Asian "mom" starts to bark again, this time it was enough- Andy stopped her dead in her barking & told her to wait. This was so awesome because you could tell no one had ever put her in her place & she definitely NEEDED it. Irene had a smile on her face which said to us, she had wanted to do that but couldn't. Our bags were hopefully on a flight here tomorrow...Going to sleep was harder than I thought for how mentally & physically tired I was.
Waking up at 7:15a was hard but excitement quickly set in for the start of the day & week. We drove into Malaga which is a bustling city, lots of people heading out & about. The kids' school was on a main street, which was good because it was easy to find but bad because parking sucks. Corrie & I bring the kids into the school, where we are taken to an outdoor garden area of a table & a canopy with a dry erase board. We leave & head to find Andy & get us some breakfast. Across the street is a grocery store that is connected to a pastry/sandwich shop. Corrie goes to buy some apples & then we go to pay. The cashier rolls her eyes at us & says in Spanish that they didn't have a price or weight on them. She was speaking so fast, I had a hard time tuning it in. I tell her how I was unaware of what to do, she rudely shows me the scale & how to work it. I didn't think to look at the apple to find out if it had a sticker so I put it on the scale & just hit the first apple (manzana) button I see, thinking it wouldn't matter. OH boy, now she goes back & hits the right apple button & we leave. And then in comedic fashion, as I grab the apples roll out of the bag & into the street. As I try to pick them up, I drop them again. Yes, that was all ridiculous... We find Andy & give him the apples, his first words "Did you guys roll these down the stairs?" I crack up laughing & we try to tell him the story...
We have about 2 hrs to kill while the kids are in school so we find a parking deck, which is super small but interesting because once you enter it, you are informed in numbers how many spots are available on the floor you're on. Also there is a light for each parking space indicated by a red (occupied) spot or a green (open) spot. So you don't have to go driving around getting fooled by scooters in spots & thinking they're open until you get to it. You just look up towards the ceiling & look for the green lights. The floors seem like they've been recently waxed making squeaking noises as you turn the tires. The cars seem to all look the same, they're small, basic & cheap looking- they're sole purpose is efficiency. There are NO SUVs, we laughed at what they would think about the Gladstein's trucks. The Spaniards park super close & crooked in these spots as well. We find a beautiful outdoor shopping area nearby named Marques de Larios (pics included). We walk around there window shopping, people watching & taking in the city. People are usually in groups, conversating at tables & being close-knit it seems. One of things I've noticed is that people like to sit & talk with their families & friends- especially the senior community. This gave me the feeling that this was a friendly & talkative community, especially since the locals I've met, only 2 had been rude. As we got around it seemed like people didn't really want to talk to us; when Corrie would approach with broken Spanish, they wouldn't try in the least to understand her & she was saying the right words too! I felt so bad for her :( When I would talk to people, it seemed like it was better but there was still an abrasiveness that I felt. This would start to now be the pattern & I wondered if this was just the air about the Spaniards. Maybe they seemed rude because they were pressed for time, stressed from something else, irritated we weren't local or that we were American. Maybe they were taken aback by our way of trying to be polite rather than the usual manner of stating things.

We take our first bus ride to pick up the kids where you must get off at back door. The kids are happy & we meet Oscar, their teacher. He is young, nice & has that teacher vibe about him-we talk about how they did the first day. There are 3 other girls in their group which most seem to be from Germany? I think. Two that are older & one about Caroline's age. We take the bus back to the shopping area & eat lunch. We watch a man paint with solely his finger on a small tile of glass beautiful scenes of nature. The cashier was actually nice especially when we dropped pop (I mean soda for non-Mid westerners) on the floor. Okay now it seems like I just happened to run into a bunch of rude people at one time & that had established a pattern. Once we're at home, its pool time for the kids (none of the adults had swimsuits), Corrie went into on an excursion into town driving my car (that I didn't want to drive & she preferred since it was a stick/automatic) to buy groceries. After dinner, we hoped for a call regarding our bags---no call. I tried to rest but with so much going on in my head, it took me awhile to wind down. And so I tried to keep track of my daily info so I didn't miss a beat (this is for both of us) & prepared myself mentally for interesting week, now that we had done a couple things at least once.

Posted by enunez7 10:33 Archived in Spain

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Wow, Elida, nice journal....lots of details. Sounds like a gigantic adventure. So glad you 5 are all there together....the hard parts are almost always easier with more on your team! I'm sure this will smooth out as you learn the local ways and are seen around even more. Thanks for all the newsy news. Love, Shari

by Shari

I can't wait until the next exciting episode!! One request, though. Please don't mention Magda again while I'm consuming a beverage.

by Nancy

Thanks for the comments! I'm enjoying reading them & getting the feedback :-) Hopefully, the pictures are showing up okay?

by enunez7

The photos are great, Elida!

by Nancy

Wow...what a full few days....

by jacki

WOW...your pictures are beautiful...They look like postcards..

by jacki

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