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.

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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.)

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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.

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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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