Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Everyone Else

Meet Nati.

Nati has lived in Sevilla for her entire life. She likes gazpacho during the summers and hot chocolate in the winters. She plays the piano and enjoys Strauss, specifically the Blue Danube Waltz. Her favorite movie (seen the year it came out in the theatres) is Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

She has three children, and she studied French, Latin, and German while at university. Now, in her 80th year, she’s taken up English. She’s my one-on-one student for the time I’m in Sevilla. Her English is slightly better than my Spanish (I haven’t tested her French, Latin, or German), so we do a lot of pantomiming. Today we hummed part of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet together.

The Alhambra was moving, the Giralda was captivating, and I loved my little visit to the seashore, but the people I’ve met so far are amazing.

Rosa, I’ve already told you about. Her husband Carlo is Italian and even friendlier than his wife. He loves to talk and lights up when I use any of my little broken Spanish.

Eve, one of my classmates and roommates, is quiet and full of grins. She hates grammar and loves the Oscars. Her sister, Orlagh, is upbeat and engaging with an infectious grin. Hannah, my third classmate, is the only Spanish-speaker in the group. She holds the honor of being the only person I have ever seen to look good in “jeggings” (sorry Conan).

“I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well,” says Henry David Thoreau. Agreed: my own best writing is inwardly focused. Unfortunately for that system, other people are so much more interesting. I wonder how many stories I’m missing by simply being too focused on me.

The Spanish love their dogs. And they love their dogs in cute, argyle sweaters. And I love the Spanish for it.

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