One of the biggest blessings in Spain has been getting to hang out with this family here that I mentioned earlier (picked us up at airport, took care of luggage, etc.). Pedro, the sibling in the family that I met this past spring in Alabama was home for a weekend and invited to us meet his friends. One difference here is that childhood friend groups tend to stay in touch moreso than in the states. There you have your childhood friends, your college friends, your post-college friends, etc. But here, it seems like whole families are friends with other families and the kids, even though their ages may vary, are all friends as well. If you attend a university in your city, you live with your parents, and if not, you return home most weekends. Most people live at home until they're married or move to another city for their job. This means families are very close. Makes me miss my family! The scene we walked into felt a bit like a movie: all of his friends sitting around in this super-fancy parlor playing poker, smoking, drinking liquor, all dressed very stylishly. Katie and I laughed about how we felt like we were in Oceans 11 or some posh scene. We got to have some conversations outside on the porch where my lack of confidence with Spanish caught up with me and meant I was a lost/naive in a few of the guys' dry sense of humor. We went out to the bar their group always goes to when they're all back in town reunioning where we met some more of their friends including a graphic designer. We asked one guy what we should do to look more Spanish (I've given up trying to look like I fit in). He responded: "Smoke, drink, and the last I won't tell you, just use your imagination." I love the honesty. Pedro and Pablo are both very musical so we went back to their house with their friends and had a little impromptu concert with them sharing some songs and Katie and I doing our best to attempt some in return. One of my favorite moments so far. I had to learn new notes though. They kept saying this song is "do, re, fa, do" or some sort of sequence with the notes being called by the chord progression do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti, instead of the a, b, c, d, e, f, g that we use in the states. Very interesting.
The next morning we got to eat the traditional long family lunch on Sunday afternoons with them. Delicious portions of a chicken broth based soup, shrimp, sausage, bread, cheese, this fruit dessert we've had a lot that I don't even know the fruit name in English (here it's a membrillo?). Followed by some creme de oruja (kind of like Galician Bailey's that is one of the best things I've ever tasted). I was so impressed by how the siblings had such a system down for clearing the table of one course, refreshing the table with the new one, and serving each other without having to be asked or told. There was no griping over who had to take the dishes get the next round of food, serve the other person, etc. It seemed so natural and like a joy to be able to get somebody something they needed. This was a pleasure to see. Afterward, we lounged in the living room--I love watching how families interact, especially this one of 6 kids because I have rarely been around such a large family. I don't know if it was the Spanish-ness, or just the nature of being a big family, but I absolutely love the way they were so affectionate with each other. There was so many little gestures like back rubbing, a sporadic hug or kiss on the cheek, one playing with the others shoe, etc. And of course the usual sibling banter giving each other a hard time. Poor Cristina, the baby. They kept giving her a hard time wanting her to practice her English with us. We are excited to get to know Galicia through the lives of this family. (Morales, if you're reading this, I hope this isn't embarrassing…I am just so blessed to see how those in your family love each other that I feel this huge desire to explain this to my friends back home).