Monday, May 10, 2010

Guest Post

Spring is winding down, days are getting hotter, Feria Jerez 2010 has come and gone. And now start the goodbye parties. The first one to whom we had to say farewell went home to France this past weekend. He recently revealed his writing skills when he let me read a poem he'd written about his Spanish adventure. And, as it fits with the theme of my posts and the waning phase of our year in Spain, it seemed appropriate to share here. It's a farewell to Andalucía:

Le vent tourne. Je quitte ce vent sableux pour la fraîcheur de l’océan. En te quittant Andalousie, je laisse dans les rues de Jerez une part de moi-même. Perdrais-je de ma mémoire la musique orientale de Jookoo ? Perdrais-je le souvenir des danses Gypsi des belles andalouses ? Je regarde pour la dernière fois ce soleil, meurtri et mélancolique. Il est le fruit tendre et mûr de ce pays, la chaleur envoûtante des longues nuits de fête et de plaisirs. Je quitte la belle du Sud, mes rêves de paradis s’assoupissent. Ce soir, des étoiles dans le ciel brillent dans mes yeux. Je me dis que je verrais les mêmes en France, ma chère andalouse. Te revoir et mourir avec toi, c’est une douce phrase qui bourdonne sans cesse en moi, une chanson d’amour, où l’on se sépare en larmes mais en se promettant de se revoir très vite.

Written by Sylvain Caillaud

Author Mini-bio:

Hailing from La Petite Boissière, a small town in Western France, Sylvain came to Jerez to do an internship. His career interest is eco-tourism, and the beaches and sierras of Andalucía provided a broad and beautiful stepping ground for his apprenticeship. In the two short months he was in Spain, he managed to strike a connection with an impressive portion of the melting pot of twenty-somethings in the city.

Don't worry! I'm not going to leave you to butcher the poem by copying and pasting to Here's the English version translated by the author himself:

The wind changed. I’m leaving this sandy wind for the coolness of the ocean. In leaving you Andalusia, I lost a part of myself in the labyrinth of Jerez… Would I lose the memory of oriental music of Jookoo? Would I remember Gypsi dancings of the lovely girls? I’m looking for the last time this Sun, wounded and melancholic. It’s the ripe and soft fruit of this land, the enchanting warmth of the long nights of parties and pleasures. I’m leaving the Beautiful of the south, my dreams of heaven are dulling. Tonight, stars in the sky are shining in my eyes. I say, I would watch the same in France, my dear Andalousian. To see you again and die with you, it’s a soft phrase ringing in me, a love song which we separate in crying but which we promise to meet you again, quickly.

Thanks, Sylvain! Te echamos de menos. Bisous

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wake up and smell the Rebujitos!

One day, the sleepy, rain-exhausted citizens of Jerez woke up to discover that the clouds had finally dissipated. The sun was out, the town shone bright white and yellow once again. Spring had arrived! That was about a month ago.

It's actually amazing how much the sun affects daily life around here. Once it came out, people all of the sudden had a more optimistic outlook on life. The streets were buzzing, restaurants staying open several hours later than in winter, and the tourists came to town. For us foreigners here, we also all the sudden got the sense of panic that comes with the realization that our remaining time here is short. The feeling is certainly bittersweet. Above all this newfound energy and optimism, though, for Jerezan@s and foreign residents alike, talk of FeRiA began. Have you been learning your Sevillanas? What does your dress look like? Do you want to see my's really pretty isn't it? (Those Spaniards have no sense of humility...haha).

AND NOW THE TIME HAS ARRIVED. Feria officially starts tonight at dusk with the Alumbrado, the illumination of the fairgrounds. Of course, being the good partiers we are, feria actually started Thursday night in the dark with a little bit of botellon and a preview of the casetas (you gotta break in the dance floors beforehand).

These couple of weeks leading up to today have been all about finding the perfect dress, getting it altered, searching store after store for the right accessories. (Yes, we realized the prom analogy here, too). This entire year, the girls have all been considering whether to actually buy a dress or not. The first dress I looked at in the Spanish version of Dillard's was...wait for it...675 euros! No, not spending an entire month's salary on a Flamenco dress (that can only be worn for Halloween once back home). Luckily, it's really easy to be thrifty in Spain and find less expensive alternatives. So, after deciding that we weren't going to give into the dress hype, almost all of us eventually found one that fit our style (and our budgets...sort of) and couldn't resist. After all, who gets to go to prom wearing one of these...

Also, these same weeks, I personally started exploring the city more and getting exercise by jogging. I made sure, though, that my running route always passed the fairgrounds so that I could watch it's progress.
Puerta Principal

Not much to look at now, but wait 'til you see the after pictures!

En fin, the past month our lives have consisted of Feria talk, beach, feria preparations, an afternoon cerveza on the terrace, and finally now...FERIA! Us foreigners are struggling to keep up, but such is life in Spain.

Rebujito- fino sherry + Sprite; typical Feria cocktail
Feria- Fair
Puerta Principal- Main Gate to the fairgrounds
Sevillanas- a variety of Flamenco dance particular to this region
En fin- in sum