I returned to Spain in 1991 to reunite my body with the Spanish spirit I had discovered three years earlier as a student. Like so many, I had fallen in love with the Spanish way of life in part because it seemed to fit the way I looked at life. While youth wasn’t eternal, feeling it was. And Spain appeared particularly interested in providing the know-how.
I also hoped to further improve my Spanish, take a stab at teaching, back then more than ever, there was little else you could do as an English-speaking foreigner, and track down a girl I was crazy about and was hoping to sweep off her feet and into my arms for the rest of my days. It was also Spain in preparation for its big coming out party of 1992 which would officially put an end to the Franco, and even post-Franco, eras. Time for mainstream Europe.
The Main Dish featured on the 1992 menu was the Olympic Games in Barcelona, but other happenings elevated the year to a macro-fest of enormous porportions. Seville was holding its universal expo, and let’s not forget what that year marked in the annals of history: the 500th Anniversary of the Discovery of America by Columbus, in which Spain, as you should know, played an enormous role. Who in their right mind was going to pass up a chance to be around for that? The Gulf War, perhaps. I left while the first bombs were landing in Kuwait City and Bagdad and everybody was discovering a channel called CNN. My parents feared for my life as they heard that a tank had been parked in front of the U.S. embassy in Madrid, some 5,800 kilometers and a continent away from the hostilities. It was actually an armored car, but it wasn’t going to deter me anyhow. I had my mind made up. So, I strutted down the concourse at Kennedy to the sound of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”, Madrid-bound.
In any event, reality varied somewhat from the projections. There wasn’t much to the war, though the armored car never left; my Spanish did improve, though I never quite lost my Connecticut twang; and I found the girl I was mentioning, though she pretty much penned me into her friend zone big time and married someone else. So that was a bad call. And I ended up staying a little longer, like ever since.
The following year’s events generally lived up to their expectations. The Barcelona Games were a smash hit, the Expo did very well too, but the Columbus story, while noteworthy, did not get the exposure you might have expected. Too controversial for some, as the discovery represented the beginning of the end of the original American culture, the subjegation of millions and a great loss of life. Looked at that way, I can see they had a legitimate issue, but it wasn’t as if the Europe’s incursion into America could have been avoided.
But it was 500 years just the same. 500 years, just the shame.
Three weeks ago I had my laptop stolen and with it an insanely large amount of new and not so new material with it, though the squirrel in me has managed to store bits and pieces in different hideouts. Some is certainly gone forever. It sucks when that happens. It makes you want to never want to pen another line again. But this entry makes for post number 500 on this website, so I have cause to celebrate rather than despair. I have less faith in mankind and more faith in Dropbox.
Now let’s start with 501 and discover what is new. There is no other direction to head.
I took my daughters to the English county of Dorset, which is not always something that you do. Dorset, just north of England.