Now things have finally slowed down a little bit after the holiday season. It almost dosen't feel like it was Christmas and that were into 2010...Buena noche or Christmas Eve isn't very significant here in Catalunya it's more the day of the 25 and then the 26th, so I felt like there wasen't much build up for Christmas day. Everyone in my family slept in, and naturally my inner child had me wake up at 7am which is early by all means in Spain! Kind of meandered around the kitchen, sunbathed in the living room, took a shower...and then at around 10 my parents woke up. I had bought gifts for the day so as a secret Santa Claus hid them under the tree. Our 2ft, artificial tree. Being born and raised in Alaska it was almost a sin, haha, but I understand there aren't exactly Blue Spruce trees in our garden! I guess this was one of the aspects that made this Christmas feel so different, no falling flakes outside my window, snow angels to be made, dark stary sky...I'm living in Spain and this is it. We had a family lunch at 12 in my aunt's house so we had to wake the siblings up to open presents so they could have the time to shower as well. I thought it was a lot of fun to open up presents - although mine were pretty smallish. I can't lie. Spain has hit the bank account hard, haha. All those weekend trips to Barcelona, and window shopping turned into just trying on that sweater, turned into going to the cash register! New years resolution: SPEND LESS. We were running late, as always. The past time of Espana, but we made it to Lleida and had a lovely gourmet lunch. The meal was more of a modern Catalunya dish, the first plate had different things varying from vegetables, rice pilaf, salmon rolls:) lots of flavor, that's basically what's most important. For the second plate I was served a whole fish. It looked like a capper, but honestly I have no idea what it was! It tasted good though! And of course for postres (desserts) we had Turon's, which are like very dense cakes that are very typical of Catalunya. They are intensely sweet and rich, I can only bring myself to have several bites. So after eating my body weight, sipping a nice warm tea and having good conversation at the table, my aunt got out the 'Tio'. El Tio is simply the Catalunya version of Santa Claus with some minor differences...those being: it's a stump of wood with 4 legs and a face, a blanket is tossed over it and the children sing a special song that makes it give, or in the more graphic and real words give presents in the form of going to the bathroom - the verb cagar in Castellano. It was fun to see my cousins who are younger sing the song and tap the magical tio, then quickly run to the back room and wait for their gifts! Coloring books, money, clothing, chocolate, El Tio :) The next day was another filled with incredible amounts of food, but this time in Alcoletge which is the town of my grandparents. This time the comida was more traditional. A soup followed with a typical dish of all sorts of meat imaginable. I still haven't brought myself to eat the blood sausage, don't know if I can pull that one of this exchange! But my brother and I did cap off some bottles of homemade sangria from my grandpa! A second day of el tio, laughing, good cheer and family time. It really showed me how important the true aspects of Christmas are; love and peace. Finding that through which ever way comes to you.
After recovering for uhh let's see her, 4 days it was New Year's Eve and my good, close knit group of friends and I had a big dinner planned out for the evening. We all dressed up, girls in dresses and boys in nice shirts and all pitched in a dish of food! It was really impressive how the young population takes traditions and fiestas very seriously and with a great amount of responsibility. We had the house to ourselves and let me say it wasen't exactly in the best state after the final countdown, however everyone helped out and it ended up being pretty clean! The New Year's thing to do in Spain is at the countdown from 11:59am stick a grape in your mouth every second...so that was interesting. Unfortunately I don't have photos because we were a little preoccupied, however just seeing everyones faces will be enough in my memory! I think I held myself pretty well, haha, it was a fun thing to do! After cleaning and dancing, eating and celebrating we walked to the main plaza in Tarrega where a dj had a set up in a huge tent for the public. It was the place to be for the night so I got to see all my friends and basically everyone I know. The music was a hilarious mix of 80's, Grease Soundtrack, meet's Black Eyed Pea's :S but I had a great time. Everyone was dancing and I couldn't believe it when I looked at my phone and it was 6am! Time fly's by here because no one really cares about it. Living in the moment, living it to the fullest. My feet were killing me by now. I made the unwise choice of wearing some hot stiletto's and when I was walking home felt the pain, but then I decided why not just take them off? You're in Spain Kayla. Living, learning, loving...what really matters? So I took off my shoes and had a wonderful walk home, hardly believing it was the new year and I'm here in this amazing country.
So today is the 3rd of January and I'm off on another adventure to Manresa this afternoon via autobus to see my best friends Patrick (USA) and Gunnar (Iceland). Coolest guys ever. Pretty stoked to see them, and spend some time exploring. Monday were off to a surprise party for another friend who's turning the big 18! It's looking like it's gonna be a great couple of days. I start my second trimester of school next Monday which seems to be looming nearer and nearer...but for now taking it each day by day, as I have learned life should. As for the weather things have raised back up to a normal temperature. It's crazy how much it changes here. Tarrega is a basin for the fighting god's of the skies.
Well I'm off to pack! I hope everyone had a great holiday filled with love, peace and happiness. Being here has helped me realize even more to keep those you cherish close to your hearts and remember that they will always be there for you. No matter the distance. No matter the hardships. Warm wishes