Saturday, October 28

Normal things

Yesterday I was pushing my cart through the men's silk tie section and I got tickled. I went on through shoes and out of the store realizing that it has become normal to push a grocery cart through the equivalent of Macy's or through a mall. It's normal and most the time I don't think about it.

Today it got really warm, 82 in fact and the rest the week is suppose to be in the 70s, after two weeks of cold rain. So of course we have the windows open again. I don't know if it's the rain or what, but the bugs are out in force. We have no screens on our windows. I guess you can have them custom built and a few homes do that, but most places don't have them. So bugs flying in and out of the windows is pretty normal. When it gets to dusk, we plug in these little things that look like air fresheners, they repel mosquitoes and don't smell like anything. I don't like bugs being in and out of the house but I'm used to it. This is a likely cause for why we had a bat in our bedroom one night. We forgot to plug in the bug repellent and I think he probably followed something in the window. We won't make that mistake again, hopefully.

Hola. Everyone says it. When you're out walking or a neighbor is in their yard or in stores, it's very normal to say hola and have it said to you very often. So without thinking now, I say hola when I'm out walking and I pass someone. I wonder does my hola sound normal or is it a little off, and they thing, "where is she from?"

All the tourist shops sell them, but then so do all kinds of shops. Abanicos are the pretty fans that are often a souvenir from Spain. The thing is the abanico is alive and well. In the summer, nearly every woman has one in her purse. I in fact carried one this summer. Without air conditioning, you are often in places that are stifling hot. When you hit that maximum capacity on heat, out come the fans. It's amazing the relief a little stirring of the air can bring. Lots of people use them in church too. You can spend a lot of money on hand painted ones, more suited to hanging on the wall or you can drop a Euro and have one that you don't care if you lose. It's interesting what has become normal.

Sunday, October 22

Worried, Happy

I've noticed the use of a couple Spanish words that are near synonyms for English words but they are used differently here. One is preocupada (preocupado if you're a boy). It looks and sounds a bit like preoccupied. This is the word for worry. I know this because I worry and I was trying to say something I was concerned about. Estoy preocupada de...whatever. I like this word for worry, because really when I'm "worried" I'm allowing myself to be preoccupied with something that most likely I cannot control or change.

Another word that I find interesting is contenta (again change the end to and o if you're male). While if you look it up you will find it is a synonym for English's content, however, the use of it here is wider than that. It is used for content, but it's also used for sort of glad or happy. This situation was good, or I got this new scarf and -- estoy contenta. I'm happy, I'm content. I like the two ideas rolled together. Paul (as in the apostle) wrote the famous line about being content in whatever state you find yourself. In English, the idea of content, which could connote just dealing with something without complaining, all the way to pleasantly at ease with the situation, with happy, I don't associate it with happy.

So "contenta" inspires me to ask what in my life can I be content with (meaning my old perception of content) and which of those things in my life could I move into the Spanish idea of being pleased or happy with it. I am absolutely not saying we have to be happy with everything in life, but maybe we just squeeze our emotions around something that we could open up and be more content and happy with if we would stretch ourselves.

Things are not perfect. But, preoccupation may be robbing me of being contenta with more aspects of my life. What about you?