"Instructions for Living a Life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." – Mary Oliver
Seville – week 1
May 20, 2018
My 4th floor balcony looks down on the cobbled street where the turistas, with heads bowed to their cell phones, attempt to navigate the maze of narrow twisting calles. But no one is mad, because getting lost in Seville is part of the magic. After a couple of turns around blind corners, the Giralda (the city’s famous bell tower) comes into view and the wanderers instinctively know which direction is “home”.
My temporary home for six nights is a sunny room in the historic district. From the rooftop terrace, I see church towers too numerous to count. On my block is Iglesia San Salvador, which declares its devotion by enthusiastically ringing its bells in the morning and around noon and sometimes in the middle of the night. Soon, the sound of bells echos from every direction. I’m thinking there is a message for me. I say a little prayer of gratitude for all the good in my life.
But secular life dominates, as the many bars and shops on every block attest. Iglesia San Salvador has plazas in front of and behind the church, and cafes and bars fill both plazas. Socialing at the neighborhood cafe until 11pm is customary. On my second night in Seville, I shared a table with honeymooners from Ireland (they’d been living together a long time, so apparently the novelty was past and they were both eager for fresh conversation). In no time I was invited to visit them in Ireland -“sincerely!” It was a fun night and I was happy to have extended dialog in English and learn the difference between a barrister and a solicitor, and hear of the good deeds of the lads in the Irish Navy.
I have also connected with the American Women’s Club in Seville. The “welcoming chairman”, Donna, invited me out for coffee on the first morning and offered lots of helpful advice, including a couple of leads on a long term rental. She is retired from a position as a U.S. university fund-raiser, and has lived here about 1 year.
I attended the Club’s monthly luncheon on Thursday, where I met several other women who speak English (many are not American). I received a warm welcome and many vague invitations to meet. I plan to call them! (Don’t worry…I plan to make plenty of Spanish friends, too)
On Friday afternoon, one of the club members, Karina Carmen Velasco produced a flamenco show for the club. Carmen is a renowned flamenco artist and she had brought amazing artists with her: guitarist, singer, and a rising-star dancer. The performance was spellbinding…we were a small audience (20) in a tiny venue. It was fantastic!
I’ve walked around the Seville historic district several times and seen the exteriors of the Cathedral, El Alcazar, the Arcivo, Plaza DeEspana, and countless chapels, monuments, and modern art too. I’m deliberately waiting to take the interior tours until after I have done some reading/research about them, in order to fully appreciate them. For now, the exteriors are more than enough to keep amazing me. I feel like I’m at a banquet of history and art, and I want to savor every bite.
So, Week 1 has been wonderful. Seville is even more magical than I expected. I hope to secure a long term rental next week before I depart on my 2 week Russian excursion. Then I will be looking forward to my return to Seville on June 9.
For now, my best communication options include email (best for longer dialogs), What’s App at my Spain number +34 XXX XXXXXX for text messages, voice calls, and video calls. Or you can place an international phone call to that number, which will be free for me but possibly expensive for you. Seville is 9 hours ahead of Minden. My Nevada phone is connected for a few more weeks, but I won’t answer calls unless I recognize the caller ID ( it’s political poll season in Nevada).
One day I might get a blog site set up, or a dedicated Facebook page to journal my experiences. But for now, my brain is at its limit for new things, and I already know how to email. You don’t need reply to this email; just know that I’m thinking of you. Please do write me with exciting (or mundane) news from your life, if you’d like.