We saved Tuesday for visiting family; family I'd not met. I was greeted with the wonderful kiss-on-each-cheek welcome by Juani, Mari, their daughter (Angela) and her two boys. All family. Juani and Mari are related to us on both sides of their family line, cousins married cousins.. Their home was filled with bright flowers, ceramic tiles that I have fallen in love with again and such warmth, it was staggering... Our day was tightly threaded into hours and minutes so two hours later we said goodbye, more kisses and good hugs. The baby Ivan grinned until I was sure his little face should crack, just 8 months old.
From there, Steven pointed out that in their village, Los Nuñez, our father, as mayor, some years ago managed to get electricity and phone poles as well as getting a cement brigade and cemented the streets. We have been told no other mayor did so much for their village so we are welcomed for more reasons than just family blood lines. Before our fathers death, he'd built a round house and it can be seen from the lovely patio above Juani's and Mari's home.. It is called Casa Ronda, round house since it is the only one of its kind. The new owners graciously invited us in to view the round house, served wine and good conversation.
At 3:00 it was time to meet Steven's friend, Jay...an American born Spaniard who invited us to lunch at his friends home. I was a bit hesitant, strangers after all. However, the owner is Pepe and his wife is Delores. We could smell the food as we left the car with Jay and entered the wide open patio above the swimming pool. The view across the way in Fresneda was beautiful, mountains and trees and more mountains. The outside table was set for seven, two bottles of wine and Pepe was obviously our cook. He hustled around, anxious to please and I was delighted to see PAELLA on the outside stove, yellow with saffron, chicken and seafood... He held out the fried chorizo since Steven does not eat meat..We added it on our own and it was delicious!!!! Tempranillo wine flowed into tin cups...he promised to would stay cooler for us. Then conversation centered around world problems and Pepe's passionate statements wishing everyone was truly in one world, caring for others. Everyone got involved and you will be proud that I even understood a lot of it although Steven translated much as well...
It was sad to leave as we enjoyed the afternoon so much but more family to meet. This family also lived in Fresneda and they own a family store. We were treated with welcome family kisses from Maria Angela and her husband Manolo. Her brothers and children sat around the table and we were served tapas with cafe con leche... Then hurrying back to our apartment for a ten minute nap before taking our friends to dinner who provided us with our free apartment. Lovely memories and tons of information for the rest of our story and the books to come.
We are now sitting in JFK Airport waiting for our plane toward the west at last. English words flit around us instead of Spanish and its a bittersweet welcome.