But then we go to town and are immediately reminded that we live in Spain. Not only are we presented with the reality that our mastery of Spanish has stalled, but there are so many scenes that just were not common in our suburban life in the U.S..
Today we needed to drive down to Órgiva to check the mail and pick up some packages from the business where we have things delivered. We've had some very heavy rains in recent days and the road down the mountain is a mixture of deep puddles, mud, and treacherous grooves. It is an adventure just getting to the tarmac.
On the way Sam received a call from the Correos man. He had arrived to deliver a package, but the business was closed and he wanted to know what to do. Sam told him that we were thirty minutes away but we would hurry. Vamos rápido! The man said that was no problem, and he would wait. We raced into town and Sam jumped out of the car to meet the delivery man while I went off to find a parking space.
It was a busy day in Órgiva and we couldn't figure out why. Last week was a holiday week, but this was just a Tuesday in October. As I drove past the church a large crowd was gathered and nearby a hearse was hidden behind massive wreaths of flowers. Clearly someone had passed and it seemed that the entire town had gathered for the funeral.
After parking I met up with Sam and together we went to do our various errands. The business where our other packages were waiting was closed until 12:30 and we had a few things to take care of. On the way to the Post Office we passed the funeral procession. Traditionally the hearse slowly drives to the cemetery and the people follow behind on foot.
Next we stopped at a new-to-us bar for coffee. We each had café con leche and the man added some cocoa on top as a nice touch. Our total bill was 2 euro and 20 cents. We tried to give him 3 euros, but he refused anything beyond the 2.20.
The street to the Post Office is very steep and towards the bottom we could hear a strange scraping sound. When we arrived we saw that a large truck carrying heavy equipment had gotten stuck on a side street. Now in an attempt to reverse, some part of the vehicle was scraping along the high wall that frames one side of the street.
|Not gonna make it!|
Finally we returned to claim our packages. As we approached the business, a man went past the Farmacia on horseback.
|Not unusual to see in Órgiva|
The sign indicated that the business would re-open at 12:30. We waited until 1:10 when a man happened by with a key and let us in to get our packages.
Returning to the car we passed a man who peddles various items for a living. He is always smiling and walks around town enticing people at outdoor cafe tables with his solar powered lamps, belts, and dish towels. We have several of his items and today he greeted us like old friends, without trying to sell us anything since he knows we already have the full collection.
Yesterday we drove to Pitres, a small village to the east of our place. The builder supply there has made several large deliveries of materials to our property and we wanted to pay our bill. While there we also picked up a few items. One particular item comes in several sizes and we were not sure which we needed. The man gave us two packages and told us to bring back whichever one didn't work, and at that time we could pay for the one that did work. We insisted on paying for at least one package before we took any home with us. And then he sent us away without paying our larger bill; he didn't have one prepared and he promised to email us when it is eventually ready. We tried to imagine such an exchange in our previous lives and just couldn't. The trust and kindness we experience here is like that of my childhood in small-town Pennsylvania; but business just doesn't work that way any longer in the U.S..
And an anniversary...it was ten years ago this month that we first visited this part of Spain. The draw was a description I had read of a B&B in a tiny village called Ferreirola. The words told of an enchanting collection of cottages behind a blue door. When we arrived there we were already in love with las Alpujarras.
|Sierra y Mar - as enchanting as promised|
Yesterday we went back to Ferreirola, walked past the blue door and took a short walk. It is a walk that we return to several times a year; a place where we are always happy anew; with each other, with Spain, and with all that is good in this world.
|In my happy place|