Tuesday I came home for lunch to find Ricardo sitting at the living room table. Maya was out with her family, who´d come to visit, but where was Mari?
“Mari’s gone to Ciudad Rodrigo,” Ricardo said, “so it’s just us.”
We started tucking into our pasta with abandon, me because the Spanish idea of breakfast is a cup of coffee and a cracker, Ricardo because all he has for breakfast is a glass of milk. That in itself, culturally speaking, is odd–Spaniards consider the drinking of a glass of milk to be something a child would do, and no one older would drink milk unless it was in coffee or tea. (Oh, how I miss American pasteurization…here the milk sits on an unrefrigerated store shelf, until, as Sedaris so cleverly puts it, “it turns into cheese and is moved to another section of the store.”)
Ricardo looked at me over his pasta. “I wanted to say that we’re very fortunate to have you girls,” he said.
“We’re very fortunate to have you,” I said honestly.
“And now you’re enjoying Salamanca more,” he said.
There’s a world of explanation due for that sentence. I loved Salamanca the moment I got here, but the cultural adjustment was a bit of a challenge, and in the month before full time classes and activities began, when I hadn’t yet met my German friends or my Emory friends or my Belgian boy, there were a lot of afternoons where I took siestas simply because there was nothing else to do.
“I love it here,” I answered. “I’ll be sorry to leave.”
And it’s true. Life here has been so much more, and so different, from what I was expecting–it will be hard to leave in a little over two weeks.
“You’re in the prime of your life,” he said, ” at twenty, with the world in front of you.”
I smiled. “I know,” I said. “This is wonderful.”