Last night I was busy coming up with lesson plans so I didn’t have time to post about the rest of my weekend so I will do so now.
Sunday we went to my host mother’s parents’ house in Arroyo (a nearby, smaller village) for lunch. Five out of the seven children were there along with their spouses and children. We were a total of fourteen people. We arrived around 1:30 and then went to the bar in the nearby village to tomar un blanco. This is what the Spaniards call their pre-lunch alcohol that they traditionally drink. Because it was the weekend, martinis were included (I’m still limiting myself to beer and wine). Typically when we drink before lunch it includes a small plate or two of French fries. Today aoli potatoes were served. I talked with my host mother’s sister and brother-in-law for a while in Spanish (even though they can speak English very well also). For some reason, the people I meet who can also speak English are easier to understand. Maybe their Spanish is more grammatically correct or perhaps they understand better my need for them to enunciate and slow down.
We returned to the house for lunch. Sunday lunch at the parents’ house is always at 3PM exactly. There was bread and red wine already on the table. The first course was rice with mussels, shrimp, red peppers and some sort of spice that made the rice a bright yellow color. While the rest of us ate, the abuela of the house was in the kitchen preparing the second course. This seems to be traditional for this family because my host mother does the same at home. The second course was steak fillets. Then the fruit was brought out followed by espresso and then mini desserts. Some of the men finished the meal with whiskey.
A funny moment during the meal was when I commented about the difference in meat eating in the US and the brother-in-law next to me (different than the one I had talked to in the bar) asked me if I was from the US. I don’t know whether to pride myself on looking Spanish (I can’t credit my speech, I didn’t say much) or if he simply wasn’t observant of who was sitting next to him.
The meal was served on beautiful white porcelain that had red designs on it. It fit the room well which had beautiful molding, lace curtains, and nice dining room chairs. Unlike many of the homes of older people in the US, it was ornate and beautiful instead of just looking out of style (like houses from the 70’s do).
The Spaniards have no concern whatsoever for mixing types of alcohol. Beer, wine, whiskey. One meal. Before, during, and after. Don’t forget the shot of caffeine from the espresso. They always comment on how little I eat and drink. I keep trying to explain that alcohol is not legal for me in the US nor is it drank in such quantities so they really don’t want me to have more.
After we finished eating, the familiar smell of cigarette smoke filled the room. My host father smokes after every meal and quite a few of the other men were also smoking. In the US I am very sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke but here in Spain it has never bothered me. It smells sweeter and cleaner. Some of the men played cards while everyone else hung out and talked or went to the living room to watch TV. The setting sun lit the room and I regretted leaving my camera at home.(I didn’t want to take pictures and look like a tourist for my first time eating in their house). I impressed one of my host mother’s nieces by drawing Spongebob and Patrick for her. We stayed in such a manner until seven when we returned to our home.
Later in the evening we went to three different bars with a couple friends and drank a beer at each (notice I said one beer). By the time we were at the third bar, I was really thirsty so I ordered water. Someone commented on how rare that was. Outside of lunch and dinner, I rarely see anyone drinking water. Some of our companions were ordering coffee (which seems to always mean espresso here) and it was after 9PM at night.
When we returned home, we ate a casual dinner. Lunch is definitely the main meal here and although we eat dinner together it is typically lighter (if there is such a thing here in Spain) and simpler to prepare.
Everyone here is so kind to me. All of my host family’s friends are friendly and ask me if I like Aguilar and the food. Always the food :).