The Big Event

This morning, my university held the semiannual Big Event, a city-wide service project. The Fencing Club, of which I remained a member even in Salamanca (learning to stab people is a universal language, especially when your coach is a cool military guy with a motorcycle), needed the service hours, so at 10 AM we found ourselves at the local Farmer’s Market.

Our assignment: move furniture to create space in a huge shed containing calendars from 1960 and maps from 1930.

Secondary assignment: also move a huge amount of dust from 1930. Far, far away.

On this cold and misty morning, I remembered the days in Salamanca, where the dawn mist would clear by noon, leaving the sky a clear blue and the clouds a small flock of sheep following the sun. Brief mornings with Mari and Ricardo before class, afternoons with My Personal Francophone during siesta, and cocktails with my friends from Emory in the evenings.

Then I remembered that I didn’t have this place, in Salamanca. Mountains, valleys, the rich and varied legacy of local traditions. The Civil War history of Jackson and the quilts of the Underground Railroad. The chance to stop in for organic tea or ginger beer during the meeting of the German Club.

Maybe this is the best place for me to be, right now, I concluded. To learn to integrate both worlds.

Then, the wind blew, the piercing Shenandoah valley wind that cuts fingers and chaps lips from September to June, and ran right through my jacket.

Or, not, I thought. Then reentered the shed to hack away at some more dust.

 

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Filed under US/Belgium 2011-2012

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