Saturday, October 22, 2011
Valencia, Valencia let me count the ways....
So we are still exploring this medieval meets modern city. Everyday I am working on my Spanish and subliminally taking in some Valenciano too. Being the eternal nerd that I am, I am of course learning about the history, culture and pastimes of the region. I often find my self shaking my fist at my ethnocentric American public education. There are so many things about so many places that I am unaware of. I think about all of the years I wasted learning things that I don't remember and am grateful I chose to homeschool my kids. On the flip side and in the true homeschooling spirit, I guess even if I had learned them they might not have stuck because it wasn't relevant to me at the time. Back when I was in high school daydreaming of warm Cali beaches on cold winter mornings during history class, hearing about Spain's various regions, nationalities and governmental structure would have gone in one ear and out the other. So now, when I'm here and interested, is the best time to learn about Spain. I really want to ingrain this into my head when planning lessons and activities for my boys; if it lacks relevance it lacks substance.
Back to Valencia, I like it, it's great. It's definitely a place I could live, there are all the things I need here; parks, museums, art, culture, live music, tapas, and siestas. But, there are small things that make it not perfect. For example, it not as diverse as I'd like, sometimes there is a bad smell, and people don't pick up after their dogs. Also, I never expected Spanish people to be so reserved, even the children. During the fireworks show when Americans would have been clapping and cheering, they were just quietly watching. We stood out with our loud cheers and squeals of excitement. At the beach you can hear the waves from the boardwalk. No one runs and makes noise unless playing volleyball or futbol. We live in a neighborhood full of kids, but I rarely see them running and playing at the beach. It may just be that they consider this weather too cold for beach activities. Who knows? But I love the pace of life, every moment seems intentional and savored. The other day we were walking and eating and Teddy said, "look, nobody does this here". We looked around and realized he was right. When you eat you sit and eat. When you walk you take your time and the whole family stays together. I jokingly said, there's no Valencian word for multitasking. No one seems to be running late, or in a hurry either. Another interesting note; we don't find Valencianos sitting at cafes in front of their laptops or typing on their phones. Sit, sip, enjoy seems to be the motto.