Another Week’s Wanderings

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How do you summarize a week? It’s not events or stories. It’s a feeling. This was a good week, or god I’m glad this week’s over. But feelings are held within stories. Perhaps a week, all seven days, is best explained through micro stories, snap shots of your life, snippets of emotion that while entirely unrelated, somehow form a week.

The nurse at physical therapy knows me now. I’m lying on my table, doing my exercises and he grabs my foot. “How do you say this?” He holds onto my foot. “Su – suje – sujetar?”. His grin spreads across his whole face and he hits my calf. “Perfecta!”

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I finally hit my stride with my high schoolers. My halloween presentation started with a list of vocabulary and then slowly worked into the story. The kids weren’t talking over me, they were following along. When the story is over the kids look at me sceptically, “that’s not true” they say.

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Entire families poured into the square, gradually overflowing from the sidewalks to the streets. Parents push their baby’s in strollers and greet neighbors with kisses. Most surprising is the abundance of teenagers. Teenagers are taking a part of their canceled day of school, to protest government funding cuts from education and the introduction of Catholicism into classrooms.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the protest is that nobody seems angry. People are laughing and joking. It lacks the tension and passion that are so prevalent in American demonstrations. Strikes and protests are common in Spain, people joke that they’re a party. In America people don’t pay attention to their government until something disastrous happens. Could this horrible change have been prevented if we had been paying attention before? Yes. But now that it has happened we are out raged. We take to the streets, angry and spiteful.

But in Spain they protest before disaster strikes. They strike before people feel like shooting off guns. People are calm and educated. Spaniards comfortable with participating in democracy because they’ve been doing it their whole lives, since they were baby’s in strollers.

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Wandering among the 200,000 palm tree’s in Elche, and climbing the 300+ stairs to the top of a tower to look out over the trees and the city. At the top I realize I’ll have to go down them on my bad knee, that means I’ll be going down the stairs left leg first the whole time. But I find another gimp and we set off down the winding stairs together.

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Elche also boasts the biggest river in the Providence of Alicante. In California’s central valley we worry about our water resources. But this is the biggest river in the providence of Alicante. Their secondary river bed is rather optimistic, don’t you think?

Spending three hours with Spaniards. They don’t really speak English, and they’re certainly not all about trying to. So I get to speak Spanish. I stumble and grasp for words, watching their faces for recognition or confusion. There’s a lot of laughing at mistakes and needing clarification, but by the end we’ve developed a natural report and I forget that I’m not speaking Spanish.

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