Sunday, September 28, 2014

Perfect Endings to Amazing Beginings

Where do I begin,
How can I explain,
This endless love I have for Spain.

My bike takes me to the edge of the world and on the other side is another world, worth discovering.





I've changed my scale of awesome, the highest level possible: Spain. And this weekend has been very Spain. (Yes I did just repeat Spain in every sentence, the name alone brings me joy)

Soccer is Life! No Really.

I have many loves in my life. Reading books in cuddly p-jamjams, doing cartwheels in the rain, starting to dance when the moment just calls for a random dance party, but playing soccer is one of those loves that has never left. So my first question after receiving my host country was Where and how soon will I be able to play! Luckily I had the help of well connected parents and my first week here I tried out for a team in the second national division. For me it's all about the passion. You've got to want it or why play? There is no lack in the passion pool here. We start each practice with pure sweat. Sprints, push ups, crunches gahh I love it! (And this is the point where most people tell me to hush up with my hyperactive self but it's my blog so all you couch potatoes let me speak!)

The best part about being on a team, a whole new group of friends. These girls are beyond nice, they help me with the Spanish soccer terms and laugh at all my attempts to be funny. (Score!) On Friday's we practice from 8:30-10:30 pm I have to take a bus home so I usually don't arrive until 11 for dinner(Eating crazy late, but when in Spain do like the Spaniards and eat the baby octopi!) The girls had taken English and were trying to have conversations with me. It was nice not to be the only one stumbling over words. At the end of the night I received a round of hugs and see you later's! I was a part of yet another family that just keeps growing.
No this isn't my team, we have cooler uniforms (;
Oh and the game? Well being new and unofficially on the team I could only watch. The way it works here is 16 and up can play. So our team consisting of 16-18 year olds (some of which remain under 5 feet) are going up against fully grown fully muscled "women". Seriously I could not believe the size of these lady's! But we held our own after a nail-biting 90 minutes we managed the win 2-1! Next weekend it's off to Irun!

Now let's take a bus ride to Zuasti, the home of my other brother, Alberto.

Zuasti Festivities

If you it doesn't burn a little, you're
not doing it right.
Let's see how do I put this without overselling it... The entire day was perfection! I woke up and did some yoga, preparing for a long day/night starting with a sunny carnival/comida. Rows of tables, the young, the old and the awesomely teenager all enjoying a neighborhood picnic. The boys cook paella and the girls make desserts (Kind of adorable!). Sitting around the "camp fire" I listened to tales of drunken adventure, thinking in a year I'll have all these stories of my own, all these Spanish adventures and you're along for the ride!

After a few hours in wooden chairs I'll be honest my butt was numb. What better way to cure a numb butt? Why hop on a bull! We are in Pamplona for goodness sakes! Riding a mechanical bull was on my BucketList so trying not to look like a 5 year old, I rushed to the inflatable circle that surrounded the coolest of little kiddie carnival rides.  Feeling alive the next escapade was soon too come, my love, soccer.

I emerged in my brother Alberto's man-sized soccer clothes and tennis shoes fit for a 10 year old boy. I was the only girl so a lot of people were watching la Americana play. Boys will be boys, tricks to impress the ladies, but at this point I was no longer a "lady". The boys said I was good and told me I could play with them anytime, I felt like one of the guys! (maybe it's because I was dressed like one) When I said I had to go change and make myself look like a girl for the parties tonight I got back "Eres muy guapa" > You are very beautiful. I was blushing (or maybe I was red from all the chasing) Either way compliment well taken. I went back to the house to get ready for my first real Spanish fiesta!

Peaceful before the bull got his buck.

 Midnight in San Fermines (Chiquito)

There is time, on a clock, and then there is Spain-Time, whenever you feel like it. We began a long evening of mischief around 10pm in la bajera (last blog post give it a look) Here's the thing, I don't know the right Spanish music. Before arriving I compiled playlists with all kinds of salsa and Latin pop only to find I had all the wrong songs. So I simply smiled and pretended (like all good exchange students do) as the room filled with the sing/shouting of 30 or so wild teenagers.

Amidst a conversation with the 3rd Alejandro I'd met this week (how will I remember all these names) an American song began to play. All my new friends wanted to know what "American dancing" is (please anything other than Twerking!) Never do I question whether or not to dance, the answer is always YES. Up off the couch and out onto the dance floor flew the Latin-Irish-American girl shaking her culo like there was no tomorrow. Worked out for me, I was supposedly "a good dancer" (extra points)!

We were approaching 1 in the morning and guess what, this was just the beginning. Dancing, singing, cheering I never felt happier to reintroduce myself a million and one different times to the million and one new faces. We marched through the streets of the old city a pack of friends, or a group of family, to me it felt like both.

From the roof of my house the city comes to life around me.

And this, dear readers is where I leave you because like all grand tales of adventure, a little mystery is what keeps the story alive.

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