Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Great White Morning

Snow is falling on the meseta.  I feel like I am joining the rest of the northern hemisphere in its cozy indoor cocoon. I am leaving all the outdoor, crunchy-underfoot fun to Paddy and the pilgrims, and keeping to the house today.

Yesterday was my outside day. I traveled down to Palencia, our provincial capital, for a big pre-Christmas shopping trip. I bought heavy cream and Brussels sprouts and leeks, yerba maté and Oloroso sherry, a mobile phone for Paddy and little goodies for all the neighbors. The crowded streets were lit up with the complicated, lacy decorations the Spaniards do so well, and the arcaded Calle Mayor was charming as a holiday card. (There were even carolers, and a guy roasting chestnuts!) I wish I´d brought the camera, so I could show you.

Then I met with Marta, who wants to do a Spanish-English "intercambio" with me. Her English is about as good (or bad) as my Castellano, and she is about my age, and we just like each other. It should be fun.  She wants to work on her written English. I need to work on my spoken Spanish. It is already productive, as my adjectives and pronouns are beginning to match up a bit better, gender-wise. I think.  El, ella, sí, se, lo, la, las, los, este, esta, ese, algunas, toda, esos todos -- All those. Them.

And then there are the real challenges. What does  "dawn´s tumbling brightness" mean? What does Kenny Rogers mean when he sings, "You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em"? All answers in clear, concise Spanish, please.

The sun was set by the time I was done at her house. (In Spain the sun does not "set." It "puts itself.")  I tried to hurry back through the pretty streets to my car, but the temperature had dropped. Breathing in was like a knife to the chest. Ducking into a warm, crowded tavern wasn´t a great idea either, as the sudden temperature change and the cigarette smog sent my lungs into spasm. And so I had to just walk very, very slowly, and concentrate on not panicking. What a bore.

When I made it home I was whacked. I think I pushed too hard, too early.
When I woke up this morning the snow was falling, thick and heavy. (these are photos of the views from my bedroom windows: front and back. Gotta do something about that garage door!)  I felt good, and the house was a cluttered mess crying out for a cleanup.

And so that´s what I am doing today. Indoor things. Girly stuff, mostly:  thawing fillo dough to make baklava, putting away piles of folded, clean clothes that clutter our bedroom so, stacking the towels in the bathroom a bit more neatly, discovering treats I bought in Belgium languishing in the bottom of a bag. There´s so much good stuff here I can´t even remember what I have!

I am trying to plan a Christmas dinner, but so far we have only two confirmed guests. So... If you agreed to come here for the feast, please let me know ASAP so I will have enough food for you. Or invite yourself.

Otherwise, I shall be forced to eat all this baklava myself. Or feed it to the chickens. Or pilgrims.


Jo said...

Hi Rebekah, how cool that you're getting snow too! We're in Astorga now, (pigging out on local chocolate) minus Rachel since Leon, and there's 10cm of snow everywhere which makes walking very beautiful and uphill very difficult... But managable! Wish I could spend Christmas at Moratinos too... Baklava sounds wonderful. But I'll probably be somewhere near Sarria... Haven't worked it out yet.

Much love, Jo.

claire bangasser said...

Ah, to drop by the Peaceable for a glass of eggnog or sherry or port... Or maybe bring the bottle myself. I will just have to astro travel and scare your pets (it is said they can see those things)...
Enjoy your day of quiet in the comfort of your home under the snow.
Un abrazo.

PS: Jo, I so would like to be where you are. Maybe I'll have to astro travel there as well.

Brett said...

Looks cozy...

Anonymous said...

"El sol se pone por el Oeste". You are right, this a very strange way of saying that "the sun sets in the West". Good luck with all those genders, pronouns and tenses. At least you don't have to deal with all those evil English prepositions like on and in. Merry Xmass from 45N 93W! Tino

Rebecca said...

Hi Rebekah, from where I am sitting, in swalting Singapore, the snow looks really cool and inviting. I would absolutely love to be where you are. When I was walking in Oct I was so hoping I would get some snow. Maybe another camino, another year. Enjoy and have a most wonderful Christmas.

Keep well,
Rebecca said...

wish you all were here. I just discovered an amazing stash of really good vino...
This is the trouble with good friends. They are always at least 100 km. away when you make a real find.