167 – The Turn of Another Year

My fifth Christmas in Spain.  I thought that must be wrong, but it’s not.  Four and a half years since I bought my house, three and a half years since I retired and moved here full-time.  Such a short time, yet it feels like forever. Continue reading

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166 – Catching Up

 

First of all it was remiss of me not to thank you all for the lovely thoughts and messages you sent following my heart attack.  I really did appreciate every one of them – “the kindness of strangers” means a lot.

Since then I’ve been doing a lot of catching up.  Trying to slow down, catching up with old friends, and catching up with long-delayed tasks. Continue reading

165 – Irredeemably Grumpy

Some people are easy to like.  Belén, for example.  Kind, generous, pretty, gorgeous eyes, and she works more than 40 hours a week as a volunteer, cooking and serving meals for homeless people at Los Ángeles Malagueños de la Noche.  One of life’s special people.  So when it was her turn to need something, dozens of strangers who had never met her were willing to help. Continue reading

162 – Friendlessness

She’s not at all an unpleasant woman.  Not as far as I’ve seen, and nor does anyone mention they’ve found her difficult.  A bit grumpy at times, but then this is not the life she had imagined.  Perhaps a bit judgemental, not really willing or able to see that nobody else wanted to be there either.  Doesn’t participate in group activities, seems to sneer slightly at the art and craft workshops.  But pleasant enough, a nice smile, easy to chat to. Continue reading

161 – Possessive Pronouns

Language is cultural as much as grammatical.  The Spanish don’t say “my” as much as we do.  I don’t know if that’s a cultural thing, something to do with not wanting to boast, not wanting to appear too proud, or what.  It felt odd at first, but you become accustomed to it.  “The head hurts me” to the doctor.  “The tooth hurts me” to the dentist.  No need to say “my tooth” – after all, nobody else’s tooth is likely to hurt me.  Continue reading

157 – Just an Everyday Birthday

Suddenly Paqui began to sing. The room fell silent, and even the aggressive guy in the corner, who had been talking to himself and shouting randomly, looked up and listened quietly as she sang a saeta. It was Mercedes’ birthday and twenty of us gathered to celebrate with her. She received her gifts with gratitude as enormous as her smile, and she closed her eyes tightly to make a wish as she blew out the candles. People laughing and chatting – smiles that could light up the darkest of spaces, the darkest of lives. Paqui finished her song and received applause, shouts of “¡Óle!” and a hug from Mercedes. Continue reading