Thursday, January 26, 2017

La Señora

    unsure if the language barrier
  bothers you,
you've done this many times before.
From the Sierra Nevadas, 
      to the Albaicin barrio,
          to Las Recogidas, 
                                 alrededor a Granada,
I wish to learn and speak
and understand--you.

    My first week in Granada is nearing it's end and I'm keen to share with you all about my experience. I have titled this post "La Señora" because out of all the shock, awe, nervousness, and excitement; my señora and her family are the most interesting of all I've seen and heard in Granada so far. 
     For those who do not know, I am living with a homestay family. In Spain, this "family" is usually a widow, soltera o con sus hijos (alone or with kids), and we call her "señora" as a sign of respect--much like "aunties and uncles" in Hawaii. 
     The biggest and most present challenge of living in Spain, is living with a women, her daughter and her son who are todos Españoles. La Señora Pepa does not speak any English, y sus hijos, María y Juan, only speak some. I have come here to improve my Spanish, but outside of the house, I am tempted to speak only English. This is because I am often surrounded by the American AIFS students in a tour or an outing. I get a pass while I'm exploring with them, but once I'm home, Spanish is the key communicator.
     While it has proven to be challenge for me, especially when I've been tired, I realize that immersion in any country requires patience, effort, and respect for ones' culture. This culture in Granada, in Andalucia, is one that most definitely consists of food and dance and tapas and history, but the root of any civilization's culture is their language. On a day like today, when I had no desire to speak Spanish and butchered the grammar when I did, it is humbling to remind myself that I must build relationships while I'm here. I must get outside of my comfort zone and not only play tourist, but be invested in the people I encounter as well. La Señora Pepa and her family reminds me of that. I am an outsider entering their beloved city and country. The best thing I could share with them is my attention and effort to know who they are. 
Proverbs 16:24 "Gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body."

View of Granada from Albaicin lookout point

AIFS American Students in front of La Alhambra

Paella Mexicana

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