Nochevieja (old night) aka New Year’s Eve

AHHHH So believe it or not I was just about to hit publish as i stepped away to see it on my tablet. It was completely erased. So you can just imagine how I felt at 1:43 a.m. I wanted to jump out of my balcony but realized it is only three flights and I would survive. So instead I went back to bed and thought I may or may not start this post over again.

So i woke up with a clear mind… (somewhat) thought no this is worthy of posting and it is a memory that I do not want to ever forget.

Most of my friends have seen my Facebook post and think well the Spanish know how to party. Well yes they do, but what most don’t know is that Christmas and New Year’s Eve (especially) is spent with family. So when I got invited New Year’s Eve dinner I was not only elated and grateful.
click here to view video

So let me just say contrary to what some people may think that the spanish are late to events. NOOOOOOO they are not . When they ask you to be there at 14:00 hrs and you hear 12:00 hrs its best to be there early. So yes yours truly was late. However, it was not entirely my fault. The Metro is usually on time and I have to say one of the most efficient public transportation . This particular evening, New Years Eve the lines were not flowing as frequently and we had to switch lines… So my fellow Houstonians who are not aware this is not just an inconvenience it is also a huge pain in the A$$.

So yes dinner started at 9:00 I got there at 9:40 … Then they started with the appetizer… Yes a Spanish dinner is not a quick hour. No I do not think I can emphasize this enough but eating is minimum a two and half hour procession. (Which I love!!!) This meal seemed to be perfectly timed because by the time with got to dessert it was time to bring the champagne and Grapes. Yes, you heard me right “Grapes”.
WHY Grapes ? Funny you should ask… in 1909 Vinalopó a grape producer had an overproduction that year. So this company gave away grapes at the end of the harvest which happens to at the end of December. Ever since then the Spanish have started this tradition of eating 12 grapes, one for each month and this is called las doce uvas de la suerte. Did I mention there is a process ….Ah Ha yes a processes. Most normal people are at home with their families watch their version of “Ball Drop” in Time Square. Except this square is La Puerta del Sol. People (abnormal) camp out by four in the afternoon to get there spot for New Years. So right before the stroke of midnight and the grapes are distributed you have four consecutive chimes. This is saying ” On your mark set …Go” Then there are 12 chimes, on each chime you eat a grape. Keep in mind that there is only two to three seconds break in between eating. So you really don’t eat the grapes as much as you swallow them with seeds and all.

This has made me reflect that If i decide to go back to the states. I will not celebrate my New Year’s Eve with a Friends. I will make sure I am always with family. This experience made me reminisce of one of my favorite New Year’s that was when I was with my family in Panama in 2007.

Hospitality in Madrid

First, I know that is has been truly way over due, but I wanted to take a break and stop and be an honorary madrileña and just enjoy the holidays.  I can not deny that I have an amazing schedule. My main gig is at the cole short for colegio aKa School. I work from Tuesday thru Friday. Then I have my evenings occupied with private lessons.

One of my favorite private lessons are a brother and sister combo  that I absolutely adore. Sergio and Sara they are half Spanish and half Moroccan. (YES, TOOOO CUTE!!!) Their mother is such a Sweetheart.  Since she knows that I am here for all intensive purposes alone, she is great at giving me tips on where to  find certain things or has been a great guide. Being from TEXAS, I have always been aware that we are very hospitable … but pleasantly surprise the   Madrileños  somehow know how to show us Texans, a bit more about hospitality.

Consequently, getting ready for the holidays are always a bit daunting.  Since my honeymoon phase with Madrid has come to a halt. December is a month that I have always had a love/ hate relationship.  You reflect on the good things, the things you would do differently, and hope that you do not make the same mistakes The following year. Then when you add the component of being in a different country it tends to complicate things. (Or how they say here tela marinera)

So when Fatima welcomed me to her home and wanted to have a  lunch in my honor  I almost fell out of my seat.  This three coarse meal (which is very common in Spain) made me realized more than ever, that you really never stop learning.  The family got to know a little bit about me not just as a teacher.  Most importantly I learned about them.  I don’t think the parents meant this, but I started to think deeply about it…That they are teaching there kids to be kind and grateful human beings.

As for me I realized that “I’m not just a Teacher” …click here for a short video of these two cuties!!!