Thursday, May 24, 2012

virgen del rocío ii

Today marked the first day of the romería.  Watching the fireworks from my balcony....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

radio tuesday

Corazón de melón, de melón, melón melón melón melón melón 

Friday, May 18, 2012

la virgen de rocío

I know I was complaining about my lack of inspiration in my last post...but hey, I have my good days and then my bad.

Last Saturday morning I went to my first-ever mass in Spain.  I was invited by a family from my school to a very special event for their church's virgen, the Virgen del Rocío.  The Romería, or procession, de la Virgen de Rocío, takes place in Huelva, Andalucia, and is one of the most important in the country.  Over a million people will be there next weekend.

So each city in Spain has a sisterhood of this saint (as well as other saints), and the sisterhood of Rocío happens to be at La Iglesia de San Millán y San Cayetano, the church I am looking at now from my balcony, which also happens to be the one in front of my school whose inside patio we use as a playground.  My school, unlike most charter schools in Spain, is not at all religious (especially considering the wide array of ethnicities that belong to it), but it is admittedly poor and resourceful, and we are very lucky to have this space for our use.

Anyway, when they invited me I clearly had to go, because if one word could sum up my third year in Madrid, it's neighborhood.  Living and working in the same neighborhood is a luxury here, and I have never felt like such a small-town girl in such a big city.  I skip down the hill to school in the morning with my students, I walk home for lunch and a nap, I know a great part of the people I pass in the streets.  It is a beautiful, beautiful thing that I sort of can't believe I'm giving up (I officially gave notice in my school last week, more on that to come later...).   I am not religious, but sometimes when I look out over my balcony, see the rooftops, the clotheslines, the chapel, I can actually feel my soul fill up with energy.

Enjoy the photos and video...

Inside the the corner is the "float" (for lack of a better word?).  Because the chapel of Rocío is in Andalucia, the typical outfits are flamenco-inspired...colorful, ruffled dresses with huge flowers on the head.  The men were dressed sort of like cowboys.

The choir.  The music was probably the best part of it all.  Going along with flamenco/gypsy theme, the choir was complete with a Spanish guitar and a flute.  I didn't realize people sang like this in church.  It's like the gospel music of Spain.  If you have never heard the way flamenco music is sung, scroll down to watch the video.  

My students :)  Also, the mother in white and red, a seamstress who works from home, literally dressed all the neighborhood women.

They blocked off Calle Embajadores to bring the float out; it took 10 men to lower it down the old church steps.

One of the main reasons I see the oxen pull the float. 

Once out on the street, people threw rose petals from the balconies.  Just lovely.

My only regret about taking this video is not having started it earlier...

"Reza por nosotros, Madre, por tus hijos Madrileños..."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

things and more things

Sorry I've been out of the loop lately.  Keeping up with this thing is no easy task...  I find it harder and harder to come up with things I feel like writing about considering this blog was initially about Spanish culture, which has become my own adopted culture, and the novelty is no longer quite so apparent.

But I woke up exhausted today after nine hours of sleep (weird how that happens), so I'm here this morning thinking I will just see where things go while I drink my iced coffee that literally has four teaspoons of sugar in it.  People would appall at my dosage in the US, and this actually delights me.  I just want to make one thing clear to all my friends and family out there, particularly the ones who use Splenda instead of regular sugar (which is pretty much everyone): I eat copious amounts of toast every morning, I lather them all with butter and jam, and I use regular sugar ALWAYS.  I'm not the slimmest of creatures but goddamnit I live well.  Thank you, European lifestyle, for granting me such pleasures. Lots o' carbs, lots o' sugar... no car, no problem.

Which leads me to my next update-ramble, which is that I have taken on a new perspective on city life, that being the perspective from my bicycle seat.  I have to admit that this is a total love-hate deal....Madrid was NEVER meant for bicycles, and it is literally a challenge to find semi-safe but quick routes to get around the city.  Nonetheless, the wind in your face is always worth it, even after you slam on your brakes, skid, and then fall in avoiding a clueless pedestrian kill.  I don't know which team I route for anymore...vehicles are my enemy, but I think pedestrians are my ARCH enemy.

But when I'm not trying to get around in a hurry, I can enjoy outings to places like Casa de Campo, this huge park on the western edge of Madrid.  This park is amazing because it is literally a huge sprawl of countryside just a 10 minute ride away.  It reminds me of a park near my childhood home, Dekovend I think it was called, where in my nine years living nearby I never ceased to discover new hidden areas.

We actually went yesterday as it was a holiday in Madrid--San Isidro, patron saint of Madrid.  I love this holiday because not only is it celebrated over a span of five days, but I love the costumes that come with it. People dress up as "chulapos", a word that comes from "chulo", which means cool.  Madridleños sort of have the reputation of being some cool cats.  Anyway, adults and children alike  wear typical outfits that I highly recommend googling this minute.  So many people dressed up like this around the city all weekend makes you feel like you took a time machine to the past.

Well, the coffee's gone, my eyes are a little less heavy, and I'd better get a move on. That's all for the moment, until next time...