The life of a Señora

When I grow up, I wouldn’t mind to have the life of my señora.

Every morning she gets up and neatly sets out our breakfast of crackers , peanut butter and nutella on the table along with Alissa’s orange juice and a mug for me if I want to make some tea and then goes for a walk down the street to what she calls her second home, café Don Diego. No matter what time of the day she goes to Don Diego I’m sure there are at least 3 or 4 friends of hers there whom she can sit and talk with while drinking her coffee and eating breakfast.

Being a senora and in charge of our meals for the day, she is always thinking about what “strong” lunch she can make for us and what would be good for our stomachs at dinner. So, after coffee she walks down to the carnicería, fruitería, panadería and the neighborhood supermarket to buy the necessary food for the day’s meals.

Never forgetting about her dog, Vita, she returns to her apartment to get Vita and together they go for a walk to get the newspaper and whatever the newsstand is giving away that day. All this takes up most of the morning because it seems to me that she knows everybody she passes so she of course stops and talks about the ever present and unusual bad weather, the anti-smoking law that got passed in January, or whatever her new topic of the week is. By the time she gets back to her apartment, its time to get lunch ready for when my roommate and I get back around 2.

Lunch is a big part of the day for her, to her it is the most important meal so we spend about an hour eating and talking…mostly Alissa and I practicing our listening and understanding skills, which I am happy to say, are improving! After the dishes are clean and her kitchen is put in order, the afternoon finds her once again at Don Diego, socializing and occasionally going out to the terrace to smoke (this part of her life I won’t include in my future plans). Don Diego is like one big family. She walks in and any one of the waiters, who know her all by name, are already getting ready to make her drink. She sits down at the bar (20 cents cheaper to sit at the bar!) and asks the man sitting next to her how his wife is doing and the lady beside him if she’s doing ok since her dog died, all this of course after giving out several besitos and hellos.

I don’t think my senora ever leaves the house without checking what fruit, bread or other food might be lacking, so on her way home she might visit a tienda or two, pop into the hairdresser to say hi or walk on over to Cortefiel to see if they’ve got any new shirts she might want to buy.

Dinner is at 9, on the dot. Since she is the senora, she puts all the food on the table and Alissa and I go ahead and start eating while she finishes organizing or cooking the meal. I don’t know how, after talking all day with her various friends, but Blanca always has even more to say at dinner and usually that lasts for almost an hour also without a lull in the conversation. She likes to practice the English words she knows so my brain gets to work even harder trying to understand the Spanish and then make places for the random English that is almost harder to understand. The night is the one time my senora likes for herself and she likes to spend it in her “privado” (what she calls her extra room) watching tv, looking at facebook and tucked comfortably into one of their amazing heated tables.

I’m pretty sure Blanca lives her life in about 2 square blocks of her neighborhood, Triana, but from what I can tell that is pretty normal for life here in Seville. You don’t drive all the way across town to go to Wal-Mart; instead, why not just walk down the street to the local meat store where you’ve known the owner for years and his wife makes you special croquetas every once in a while? Or go ask your friend at the fruit store when you can start buying strawberries because as she told you yesterday, they’re not really good right now and too expensive so you wouldn’t be getting a good deal anyway. And, of course it makes sense that you spend your afternoon chatting with friends in the same café that you went to 30 years ago on the day it opened.

Even though at times her house can be cold and uninviting, I get really tired and miss my bed, or I wish I could have one of my mom’s delicious dinners, my senora has taught me more just by living her daily life than I could learn in two years of school: how to be a Sevillian and love your life, even in the little things.

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