The Four Gifts of Christmas and Other Scenes From VLC

The whirlwind that was my brother’s visit has now blown through the Mediterranean and what’s left is a gentle December breeze blowing through sunny skies and the bouganvillea. I woke up this morning realizing we all survived Christmas and Noche Vieja is just around the corner.


How was your Christmas?

Mine was punctuated by fresh shrimp, fancy ham, pulpo gallego, and salads with generous chunks of avocado. The dessert courses were just as many; it’s one of the few times where I’ve felt sufficient amounts of sugar were on the table in a culture that traditionally hands you an orange and a knife to peel it for dessert. (Sorry, Spain. Fruit will never be dessert for me…unless it comes wrapped in chocolate.)


Gifts were opened…after being thrown across the room to their respective recipients (no gentle tug from under the Christmas tree here; better to watch out for the wrapped up pair of socks being launched at your face.) Though R. and I haven’t traditionally been big gifters to one another, a little something to open is a nice way to celebrate the season. R. is wearing his gift from me (a plaid shirt) and his gifts? They had a humorous touch.

First, I found a tin car. Though the bottom says galletas con chocolate, you can imagine my dismay (and chuckles) as I opened the lid to find carbón de reyes-candy coal. I deserved it.

Thankfully, there was some redemption and the next envelope held a black and white print, (\curiously, taken when I was only three years old. It is of a long-haired, punky, adolescent Rafa and it is truly a piece of art.

I was content with those, but then an ENORMOUS box was sent my way. In it hid 92 gems; almost 8 dozen chocolate bombones, all in delectable flavors (how do I know? I sampled at least 5 yesterday!) R. rarely encourages my chocolate habit, but ’tis the season!

His mom’s gift will perhaps be the one you all will see the most-a green pendant on a simple and elegant gold chain. It’s delightful and makes me happy to wear it.

Four gifts.


Other scenes?

One day, as I was sitting outside, music was playing in the background. In one ear, the eccentric M. rolled away on the hurdy-gurdy (a medieval instrument that R. says sounds like a hundred buzzing flies). In the other ear, flamenco guitar played by the talented P., an authentic Sevillian with music in his blood (his mom was a flamenco guitar singer and danced as well).

Another day, 6 friends played 3-on-3 b’ball until the sun went down. (I subbed in for the last quarter and scored two points! Unfortunately, I probably helped the other team score almost 20.)

Another day, I put on a ridiculous amount of rain gear/specialized kayaking suits (do people wear this stuff in the U.S.?) and spent 10 minutes paddling down the Río Júcar as R. and P. dug out a mud dock for the boat.

Today, it’s back to reading for school.

Reading…and bombones…and hopefully another lunch like this arròs al forn.



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