Spring has definitely sprung in Granada this month. When we arrived in the middle of summer there was some green about, and the fall was beautiful with its changing leaves, but we had no idea what a kaleidoscope of colors awaited us come March. After a truly cold and pretty brown winter, la primavera has been not only welcomed, but savored.
The beginning of this past month started quietly. Jason and I both decided to study for an official intermediate Spanish certificate and we applied ourselves to a regimen of classes, intercambios and reading and writing in Spanish. I also decided to update my resume in the hopes that a Language Arts teaching position will become available for the fall. Putting a resume and cover letter together after all this time was pretty time consuming and I appreciate the advice I received from my family and friends. Now we just need to work on Jason’s! One of the things that I did mention in my resume was how I am volunteering in the English class at Colegio Gomez Moreno. I was able to get the English teacher here in touch with the librarian and Spanish teacher back at St. Alphonsus Parish School in Seattle, and they coordinated a “pen pal” exchange. It was so fun to be in the classroom when my kids received their letters from Seattle! Thanks again to Jennie, Krissy and Maria!
Mid-way through this ninth month Jason’s brother and sister-in-law came to visit and we had the best time! Eric and Mary could not have picked a better time to come, with the weather and the foliage what it was. We took them on a couple walking “tours” of Granada, including a tapas night, and they visited the Alhambra. Over the weekend with the kids in tow we went go-kart racing and to lunch at a really unique farm-to-table restaurant out in the vega. In fact, I think we had some of our best meals in Granada so far with them! Hiking in the Lecrin Valley and exploring small pueblos eventually concluded with a trip to a beach house on a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean. From there we spent an afternoon in Rhonda and a night in Sevilla. We had such a great time with them and are so thankful they came to visit!
After leaving Eric and Mary in Sevilla, the five of us traveled to Lagos, Portugal on the Algarve Coast. Well, I though Spain was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen, but Portugal is not far behind (and may be a little ahead in my book…shhhh!). We spent four days in a quinta or farmhouse in a fruit orchard and had so much fun playing in the (freezing) pool, on the beach (once we waded across the river to get to it) and visiting the “end of the world,” the Western-most point of continental Europe. Halfway through our visit, friends from Granada who are originally from Australia joined us. Little did we know they would convert one of our children into a lover of Vegemite and teach Matthew the nuances of cricket. Just like Gabi’s emerging love of sushi, it’s so funny that we had to travel to Spain to experience and appreciate Australian culture!
The week that began with us in Portugal was Spain’s Semana Santa, which is the week leading up to Easter. Please, please click on this link to read all about the spectacle. It’s so hard to describe briefly, but what I will tell you is that during the week leading up to Easter different brotherhoods from various churches around the city parade their floats or pasos of Jesus at different stages of his Passion, and ones of his mother Mary, through the city at all hours of the day and night. We were back in Granada in time to see several processions and they were an unbelievable sight. Between the pasos, the penitents in their capirotes, and the official mourners in their lace mantillas, it really is unlike anything else in the world. I have a friend here who, after seeing numerous processions, says she kind of wishes she was Catholic!
And then the month, which had started off so quietly, ended with a bang, or I should probably say, a crack. On the Saturday before Easter Jason decided to go for a bike ride in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains outside of Granada. It was on a trail he’d ridden a few times before, but when he was about 3 miles from the nearest road, and out of cell-service range, his bike slipped, and in trying to keep himself from going off the edge, he ended up falling and fracturing his fibula and basically dislocating his ankle. It wasn’t too long before a runner and another mountain biker came by and were able to call for help, but because of the remote location, it took about four hours from the time he fell, to being carried on a stretcher down the hill by six firemen, to finally arriving at the hospital. He stayed there briefly, but we ended up taxiing to a different hospital where they determined that the extent of his injuries would require surgery. He had the operation on Monday afternoon and now has two metal plates and several screws holding his ankle bones in place and some wire sutures repairing his ligaments, all wrapped up in a nice big cast. He is to be completely off his foot for about six weeks, so he will be focusing on increasing his upper body strength maneuvering around our hilly, cobblestone streets on crutches. On the upside, for Jason anyway, he now has a lot more time to work on his Spanish, while I, unfortunately, will have less.
Por supuesto, we will have to adjust a few of our travel plans over the next 10 weeks in Spain. Overall though, we are just thankful that Jason’s injuries were not worse, and we are hopeful that by the time we are ready to leave Granada, he is mobile enough to manage the demands of our long journey home (starting at the end of June). I’m sure, despite everything, we will still have many interesting stories to share in our post next month! ¡Hasta proximo mes!