Live versus Living

In Spanish, like in English, there exist many tenses. If you’re an English speaker, you might say, My name is Cat, and I’m writing a blog entry. The first half is present simple, used for facts, habits and every day occurrences, while the second refers to what one is doing at this very moment; in other words, the present continuous.

Manu, the very same one that called me poor for not having any Play Mobile toys, is currently dealing with this very difference and failing miserably. In Spanish, you see, people ask, “Illo, que haces?” or, Dude, what are you doing? There isn’t much difference in the two tenses. For that reason, I always say, “Vivo en Sevilla.” I live in Seville.
But recently my friend Christene, another third year auxiliar, noticed I switched from saying “I am living in Spain” to “I live in Spain” while speaking English.
As I spend my last two weeks at IES Heliche (I’ve only let the tears loose once), I’ve started reflecting on my life in Spain and how I feel that, after three years, I finally am a resident of Sevilla.
In my barrio, I’m the vecina (neighbor) to the new gastro bar down the street, always invited in for a buchito of wine or a few slices of creamy brie cheese. At the bank, the grey-haired banker while call me over to his new office with a “CHICAGOOOO!” and deposit my check for me. It’s not necessary for me to tell the waiters at La Grande, El Colmao or La Tiza my name – they write my name in chalk or permanent marker to start tabbing up my bill. Soy Trianera. I live here.
With next year’s uncertainty with jobs, living arrangements and all, I’ve been savoring what I can of Triana: the flamenco chords that mix Semana Santa bands around 10pm, the old ladies pushing their carritos towards the market on Friday mornings, the clatter of beer glasses in the middle of the day at the bars below my window. I love this place, and my heart is here.
There’s a bar we used to go to a lot called Las Golodrinas. This is the word for swallow, and there are hundreds of them in this neighborhood. The bar is trypical Triana: tiles and virgins covering the walls, regulars eating their pinchitos at their normal tables. It’s the Sevillano version of Cheers. And this tile has always made me choke up a bit:

Translation: If I get lost one day, look for me in Triana. Don’t go to my native Asturias; perhaps you’ll hear the sound of bagpipes sighing in magical resonance. Look for me in a tavern in Triana, where our friend Paco, who smells of basil, gives us a good wine to drink of humility and temprance. IF I get lost one day, there you’ll find my soul.
Triana, me tienes enganchada. I live in Triana.

La Estrellita

There’s a cutre little old man bar on the corner of San Jacinto and Plaza de Miguel Porres in Triana. Named for a virgin (clearly), it’s one of those bright, napkin-covered bars that old men stand at while drinking their coffee and chowing down a tostada con jamón.

Today, my class with Javi got cancelled because he STILL has a hangover from Sevilla Futbol Club’s most recent win, so I wedged myself in between two old dudes and ordered a media con tomate from the owner, a guy in his mid-40s. I got knocked in the side several times by the teetering old men who were having their morning hierbabuena, despite a sign over the alcohol shelf reading NO SE SIRVE ALCOHOL por la manana .

My toast was a little bit burnt and had way too much olive oil, but I was content to listen to a man who was three beers in (this was 11 a.m., mind you) before I had finished half the toast and was arguing with the other bartenders about the latest fracaso in Sevilla – whether or not Real Betis Balompié would descend to the second tier of the national soccer league. A Bético against a bar full of Sevillistas, he soon changed the subject to El Rocío, an annual pilgrimage to a church in the middle of a national park. People (most of my student included) rent or own a small home on wheels and walk from their villages to see the likeness of the Virgin of the Dew.

He said: “Semana Santa. Feria. El Rocio. Feria de Sanlucar. Las cojo todas!!”

I replied: “Lo haces bien.”


Overheard while folding laundry on the balcony:

Dad: Does anyone know where we are?
Little Girl: Grandma’s house!
Dad: And where is grandma’s house? Is it in Murcia?
Girl: No!
Dad: Is it in Madrid?
Girl: No!
Dad: Is it in Barcelona?
Girl: NO!!
Dad: Well, where is grandma’s house?
Girl: In TRIANA!

Not in Sevilla, but in my neighborhood of Triana. Love this place.

Couldn’t help putting up some pictures from Triana

Callejon off of Avda. Constitucion
The entrance to a huge art exhibit on the street
Callejon off of C/Castilla
Sometimes you’re walking in your neighborhood and there’s a random paso. You know, because you can’t just move a saint simply by loading her into a truck in the middle of the night
People wait for YEARS for the honor of carrying a virgin

El Centro, near Casa de Pilatos
I’m over the Giralda, but this is a really good shot
Cotton candy clouds from C/Pages del Coro
My favorite place to eat EVER.
From Kelly’s balcony

Graffiti right out my door…”Get your guitar, my brother”

Hi kiddos,
I’ve been back in Sevilla about two weeks. It’s been fantastic, minus the fact that Kike’s squadron was sent to Somalia for six weeks or so. Regardless, I’ve been rediscovering my neighborhood and just how trianera I am.
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