The kids are leaving for the Basque Country on Tuesday. I won’t see them again until I arrive in Bilbao on the first of July. I have never spent over a week without them, so I’m not quite sure yet how I’m going to handle six. My poor parents… I’m starting to understand how they must have felt when I told them I was leaving for the States. See you in a year, love you! On the other hand, it was impossible to miss how excited I was about the move, just like it’s impossible to ignore how ready my kids are to be in Ortuella again this summer.
I asked them why they like it so much. “Our friends, our family, soccer, and amama‘s food”, they fired back. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
If you’ve ever been to Ortuella though, you’ll probably agree with me when I say there is nothing that special about it. It’s a small mining town of about 8000 people. We have grocery stores, bars, shops, restaurants, an outdoor swimming pool where the wind blows like there is no tomorrow, possibly the worst designed park you’ve ever seen in your life, the post office, the city hall, the library, the fronton, and of course, the soccer field. There used to be a movie theater too, but it disappeared long before pesetas did. Other than that, things have remained pretty much the same since I can remember.
Growing up, that was the main reason for wanting to get out of town. Now, I look forward to the daily routine of running errands with my mom after having breakfast in the bar downstairs. I take pleasure in the constant exchange of greetings with people on the streets, and stopping by a friend’s house unannounced gives me a rush. I like going into a coffee shop by myself and listen to the chatter in Spanish, catching bits and pieces of conversations from people I don’t know. I find comfort in the fact that almost everyone there swears and yells just like I do. Plus nobody can tell anything by the way I talk. For about three weeks out of the year, I’m (almost) normal.
And forget about playdates. All you have to do is go to the park at 5 and everyone will be there. Just ask my kids.
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