When we were kids, when our grandparents used to visit from Michigan, we would all go to Main Event for some bowling. It was always a blast, and we were bad enough at bowling that our mom felt comfortable enough to offer monetary rewards for strikes and spares. Depending on the current morale, $.50 for spares, and $1 for strikes. I mention this for two reasons: I went bowling on Tuesday, and would definitely not have raked in the money (I miss the days of bumpers), and today is Spain’s general strike.
All across the country Spaniards are striking against austerity measures and labor reforms. Transportation systems are running at the bare minimum (trains from our town to Madrid are running every two hours). Shops are closed, schools are closed, flights are canceled, and protesters are everywhere. It seems like no trip of mine to Spain is complete without a strike, and today’s is supposed to be huge.
Because of the strike, my host father is home today, and the girls did not go to school. I am sitting in my attic grumpily wishing that I wasn’t here (strikes make me cranky) and I am trying not to compose retorts for getting chastised at for using the phone. Thus, I am making a list of all the things I am thankful for, in order to combat my own attitude:
- I got a package today from my mother, with lots of candy. Candy (and socks and a stuffed bunny and oatmeal) is a beautiful thing, and I already feel myself simmering down a bit, thanks to a Snickers egg.
- There are these two old ladies who walk every morning, and the girls and I pass them on our way to school. I first noticed them one day when I had tripped on a grate in the street and fallen, and they were there to pick me up and fuss over me until for the three hundredth time I assured them that I was fine. Now every time we pass them the women smile and say hello, and call us beautiful, and generally just make my day. I will miss them.
- Our walks home from school have been progressively getting better. They used to take forever, and were filled with screaming, threats of abandonment, and disgruntlement. Now we sing songs in English, play “how-do-you-say” (a very complex game I could never explain satisfactorily), and only slightly dawdle.
- The old people are so wonderful. They’re sweet, of course, but as a generation they are so terribly perfect. They are always dressed well, with perfect hair, and they move so smoothly (never jarringly). Last night this older woman dressed in this fabulous coat literally pulled out a wooden fan from her purse to cool herself on the train. I had no idea people actually did that!
- La Mallorquina exists. It has, in fact, since the 1890s, but the chocolate neopolitans are quickly becoming a tradition/obsession of mine. It does not help that the bakery is right across from church, and across the plaza from the train station. What a way to go, though.
So. Lots of things to be thankful for, and believe me, for the most part I am a happy camper. There are definitely days, though, when my feelings toward Spain actually resemble my feelings toward camping (they’re not pretty), so if you are reading this, please keep me accountable in being thankful, not only for the things I have and experience, but more importantly for who God is, and what he does in my life. love y’all!