February 6, 2017 by Ynnsie
It’s Monday. Day 17 for us in Sevilla. Sunny and mild – like May in Toronto. J is on the terraza finishing his lunch and maybe dozing in the sun. He is jubilado after all – isn’t that a great word for retired?
Today is presenting as the kind of day I had in mind back when I imagined a long stay in a sunny, smallish, southern Europe city. What I couldn’t know was how every element of the itinerary would be so pleasing.
(Sorry if this sounds like crowing – it’s not as if we claim responsibility! Seville was wonderful before we got here. But I figure we ought to share word of our good fortune since you, dear friends and family, have listened kindly to our tales of woe over the last couple of years.)
My morning OJ was rushed because we were meeting up at 10 o’clock with our new profesora de espanol. We’d spent much of the weekend swotting, as the Brits say. Wanting to skip the whole hola! me llamo Lina stage, we wrote up verb charts and reviewed our Radiolingua gleanings. It paid off – we were the best students in the classroom. Profesora Mercedes said so! (Also, the only students. :-b)
Language learning counts as fun for both J and me. We have different strengths as learners – J has more vocabulary in French than I do, for instance, but my ear and accent are somewhat better ( I think he’d agree – watch the comments to see if a battle ensues). We’re picking Spanish up at about the same pace.
J, however, is having a small problem now with Italian popping out of his mouth.
One of the reasons we chose Spain over Italy as our southern Europe target is that J studied Italian at night school for several years. He would always be ahead of me there as a language learner.We wanted to come to a place where we would both be newbies. But his Italian won’t make way for Spanish.
It doesn’t happen all the time, but many of the little words that bind ideas together – but, and, or, this- they come out of his mouth as ma, e, o questo, etc. And he has a lovely but un-Spanish way of prolonging the accented syllable, style italien! Since he’s a keen student from way back I’m sure this will straighten itself out. It must be said that, as in French, he is expanding his Spanish vocab muy rápido – mas rápido que yo!
After our 90 minutes with the talented and animated Mercedes, we grabbed a couple of Sevici bikes and found a new path home. The rabbit-warren streets brought us up behind the ancient local market. We picked up some Andalusian meat specialties for dinner (artichokes stuffed with a mixture of pork and chicken) along with instrucciones for how to cook them. Which we hope we understood.
We also bought greedily from the fruit and veg stands. Apparently much of the produce comes in from Portugal or North Africa, and it’s wonderful. Fresh tomatoes, strawberries, eggplants. Red peppers ready to burst their skins. Tomatoes that have scent. Perfect artichokes.
Now all we need is someone to cook it for us!
That’s a problem that trails us in all our travels. Whatever I cook comes out tasting more or less as it would were I in Toronto. Not surprising but frustrating, because I want produce bought here to be transformed into the dishes of here. But I don’t know how, and nobody is leaping forward to be our chef. There is a cooking school we saw, over in another market – en inglés, no less. Must investigate.
J has gone off into the sunny afternoon. No siesta for him, he’s trying again at the Oficinia de la Extranjeria to put in his papers for a residency permit. And I have the afternoon to gather a few freckles or to start my homework de espanol.