Friday, November 18, 2011
The Chronicles of Salamanca: Busy, Busy, Busy, or "Becoming a Bokononist"
It's been getting pretty cold here. That's a decent enough introductory sentence, I believe. Truth is that this city is changing. It's entirely possible, of course, that the change in in fact occurring within my perception of things much more so than within seasonally cyclical changes. There are hardly any trees in this city, as I've almost certainly stated before. The trees that I do come across on occasion are transplanted by people trying to beautify a park or a plaza. But, such transplanted trees do well to show any signs of Autumn, as their locational existence is about as unnatural as anything can be. There is one spot in this city, however, where the effects of Autumn can be found. Not far from where I sleep at night, there is a park that looks out over the River Tormes and across to the south of Spain. There, the trees are alive, as varied as the languages I hear on the street. It's a beautiful place, particularly in a place that is all cobblestone and concrete.
But, it is a beautiful city, this Salamanca. The book festival has moved out of the Plaza Mayor, giving we the inhabitants a chance to walk through it freely, soaking in the morning sun. You never know how much you love something until it's been taken away. I've been working up the courage to record video footage of some of the local street performers, as well as finding someone to help me record myself singing some songs in my favorite places around. I've got some beautiful ideas swimming in my head about what it would look like to sing a love song to my favorite plaza on video. We shall see what comes of them.
The last several weeks have been a very busy season for us at En Vivo. I've found myself with less and less free time that is not occupied with preparation for one of our events or meeting with new friends to get coffee and dive into the space between us. The people that I've come to know are beautiful people, from all over the world. In the last three days, I've had conversations with people from Japan, Taiwan, Guinea, Gabon, England, Holland, Australia, Portugal, Brazil, Colombia, Ireland, Cote D'Ivoire, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy, to name a few. It's been wonderful, grazing over the differences that make us all the same. That is by far my favorite human distinction; culture. And, there is plenty of it here to enjoy.
But, as busy as my life has been, it only promises to get busier in this last calendar month that is in front of me. This evening, we leave for Portugal for a retreat with 30 people to the freezing-cold Atlantic Ocean. One more stamp on the passport. I'm excited to be on this trip, as it should be a great chance to get away and enjoy a different context. Next weekend, I'm going to London to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my old friend Marta and her new husband Jon. I've never made it to the motherland, and I'm looking forward to seeing that part of the world for the first time. Should be a wonderful weekend with wonderful people.
But, alas, the countdown has begun until my feet touch American soil once again. It is both daunting and exciting, as I've come to settle into what life is here. Salamanca has been a wonderful adventure thus far, and it will continue to be until the day I leave it. Basking in that truth, I am simultaneously faced with preparing for another semester in Atlanta. I look forward to returning to some degree, though I am by no means anxious for it. My friends and family have been wonderful about sending me mail and keeping me updated as to what is happening in their lives. Thank you to those of you who have sent me said mail (Mom, Dad, Priscilla, Abby Mae, etc.) It's meant the world to me.
Otherwise, there is work now to be done. So, off I am to do it. I shall see you soon.