Thursday, July 14, 2016

All of the things all of the time, no but for real.

Dear sister,
Sooo..... Doing all of the things this summer was a great and terrible idea. And not unlike the other great and terrible entity inhabiting our public consciousness, there is a whole lot going on behind the curtain. In the interval since I last wrote you (which, yes, has been far to long- sorry!), I jumped from one yellow brick road (at least the trams were yellow) through another tornado, and into a whole new land. And here I'll commend my overly abused metaphor to the depths, and release it from its servitude.
Looking down to the castle, old town and river from the top of the Parque Eduardo VII
(on my way to/from school daily)
Leaving Lisboa (the 20something of June) was hard. It definitely built itself a big home in my heart while I was there. On my last day, I wandered down to the praza do comercio by the river -the port/square that was designed as the welcoming point of entry to the new modern city constructed after the earthquake. On that Saturday, it was full on one side with a giant screen and screaming football fans watching a game of the euro cup (yay Portugal! When they won the other night, I could almost hear the celebrations of Campolide and the rest of the city), and full on the other side with Pride.

I had a bus to catch before things got really going, but still.
It was a pretty perfect way to say goodbye.

Looking down the river from where the praza extends into the water do disembark visitors.
And then there were three days in Seville where I roared through all of the paperwork and bureaucracy that most people who do the teaching year have all of their first month to get through. I couldn't have done it without Elena. But everything magically fell into place, even a great apartment right in the center, so I'll light a candle to serendipity and leave it at that. 

In the office of empadronamiento, making me a resident!
Yes, still that pale after six weeks in Lisbon sun. #spf50always
Seville itself was as enchanting as Elena has been assuring me for the past year, but I'll have plenty of time to regale you with that when the time comes. So, then, to the north! I sometimes think that if I hadn't walked the camino when I was 16, if I hadn't made my way to Santiago de Compostela with mom's old exterior frame 70's (right? 80s?) Jansport, I wouldn't be doing now what I do. I would have followed one of the other life and career paths that have offered themselves to me over the past decade. It's not the only thing, for sure, but... Santiago has been in my heart for so long. And this city, it still feels like she loves me. Or at least, I love her enough to feel a mirrored echo of that emotion returning to me. It's just how I remember, and yet a very different city to an adult than it was to me then. I am glad that it is not my first time here, though, because the whole main fa├žade of the cathedral, as well as the Portico de la Gloria (the main entryway) are undergoing an extensive restoration project, which is a relatively shocking absence-of-presence in the heartbeat of the city. 

But the real reason that I'm here isn't actually the whispers of old stones, but Galego Sen Fronteiras –this summer's iteration of the Real Academia Galega's language and culture course. While the course is not more intensive in terms of hours in grammar/conversation classes than Lisboa was, it has enough other (great! but time consuming!) programming to really fill the days: we have classes, lectures, and museum visits or other cultural events –poetry reading! workshops on traditional music and instruments! from 9:30 am to around 8:30 pm. It has definitely made me question my judgement a little bit, in terms of all that I am trying to cram into my brain this summer. When lady luck favored me and both of my finding possibilities came through, I clear-headedly decided that three back to back intensive language programs was an entirely good idea. I wouldn't change it, because we both know that I fling myself into the sea as soon as the water reaches my knees, but really, past self, really?  I worry that no matter how hard i throw myself at it, that these languages are either going to not open themselves to me, or they are going to be one huge clump of mush. And then I'll go to Seville and forget  everything. The rational part of me knows that this is not going to happen, that even though threading the paths between three closely knit languages is going to take continued work, that they will settle into themselves and that if I can still recite the first page of Harry Potter verbatim, I will be able to hold on to at least a good piece of what I have and will have learned. But that doesn't stop me from thinking that mayyybe my mouth size and chewing capacity were a little out of whack.
I haven't taken any outside in Santiago yet -weird, I know- so here's a triple spiral staircase.
Per the museum (Muesu do Pobo Galego), it's the only one in the world!
We've already talked about this, by which I mean I already cried at you, but seeing as this letter has turned into an airing of the vagaries of my consciousness, there's Leko. I've been gone from NC for over two months now (woah.), and it has been very nearly two months since she disappeared from her year-long foster home. There is a hole in my emotions, and I'm both grieving and still filled with an everyday-more-impossible hope. Hope that she's just so good at hiding that two months isn't too long for her to not have shown herself; hope that she will make her way back to a house and people that she barely knew; hope that someone will catch her and take her to the shelter where her foster can find her... Hope that she didn't suffer

It's also hard to live the reality of her not being there, because I'm not there, and in the NC in my brain, she is still there, like I pressed a pause button with her staring out the window watching the leaves, and she will still be there when I get back to resume things. And that, I know, is not how time tends to work in this particular reality. 

To not end on such a downer, I have a visual present for you. In the Museo do Pobo Galego there are some traditional weaving accoutrements. Which of course I took pictures of for you. My comments are limited, as most of what I know of looms comes from you, but here:


Warping frame and warping square? Or the second one might be for winding skeins? Or...(You have yet to gush at me about your warping square, I feel like it's due)

If this reads as somewhat scattered, I both apologize and offer that as a good representation of my mental state. Soon I'll actually make some words happen about the pedagogical part of Lisbon and the structure of the program here, as well as ruins and beaches and beer, but for now, your turn!

Big kisses to the blueberriest summer child in the world. Hugs to all three of you, and all of ours in the great northland.
All my love to you,
your sister

1 comment:

  1. Serendipity is my favorite saint. So glad to hear you lit a candle to her too! (Love this blog btw)