Sunday, April 17, 2011

recuerdos de denia (memories of denia)

I recently wrote a contribution to a book of memories commemorating the twenty-eight years that students from my alma mater--myself included--studied in the sweet and lovely city of Denia, Spain. The program will be moving from that eastern point of Valencia's coast to Oviedo, and I'm certain the new location will be wonderful, though much colder, and without the people and fallas and streets of Denia that I loved.

I have about a million things that I could say about that beautiful, deep, full semester of my life, the spring of 2007 when I was a sophomore in college, wide-eyed and ready to embrace the world, but for today, I'll just share the reflection I wrote for the book.

Oh Denia. Was it really so long ago?
All of my lovely neighbors
María, me and Maite
Cuando considero mi semestre en Denia, la primera cosa que viene a mi mente es la gente: mi querida mamá española, la hermosa Maite; su amiga María; mis vecinos; los amigos que conocí en la iglesia; mis profesores. Es verdad que hay un mar increíble, calles bonitas, un gran castillo y el formidable Montgó, pero últimamente, estas personas son mi Denia.

Maite, mi madre española, influyó mucho mi buena experiencia en España. Comíamos juntos, me enseñó como hacer una buena tortilla y íbamos a los cafés para meriendas de pan tostado y café con leche. Ella compartió conmigo no solo su piso y comida bien preparada; también compartió sus historias, su sabiduría y su amor.

Y compartió sus vecinos. La mesa de mis vecinos era una buenísima aula de clase. Mientras comía un gran plato de paella, escuchaba sus voces, cada uno tratando de hablar más fuerte que los otros, y aprendí mucho de su país y su cultura. Pero también aprendí las cosas que solo se puede descubrir a través de una amistad: las historias personales, las raíces de su cultura y las razones porque le aman su país.

Y yo también me enamoré de España, de Denia y de cada uno de estas personas queridas.

When I think about my semester in Denia, the first thing that comes to mind is the people: my dear Spanish mamá, the beautiful Maite; her friend María; my neighbors; the friends I met at church; my professors. It's true that there is an incredible sea, lovely streets, a castle and the formidable Montgó, but in the end, these people are my Denia.

Maite, my Spanish mamá, had a tremendous influence on my good experience in Spain. We ate meals together, she taught me how to make a proper tortilla española and we went to the cafés for pan tostado and café con leche. She shared with me not only her flat and delicious meals; she also shared her stories, her wisdom and her love.

And she shared her neighbors. The table of my neighbors was an excellent classroom. While eating a plate heaped with paella, I would listen to their voices, each one trying to talk over the others, and I learned about their country and their culture. But I also learned the things that one can only learn through friendship: the stories of their lives, the roots of their culture and the reasons why they love their country.

And I also fell in love with Spain, with Denia and with each one of these dear friends of mine.

No comments:

Post a Comment