Happy Halloween! I saw some places in Ohio got snow this weekend and I'm so sorry for your luck! The weather here has been in the 60s and 70s, but this week it's getting a little chillier, only in the 50s! Halloween isn't as big of a deal in Spain as it is in the US, so I was curious to see how people celebrate. We did a whole week of learning about Halloween in school, and I gave a presentation about where the holiday comes from. Did you know it came to the US from Ireland?? I think I gave the students a better idea of what Halloween is like, and I learned some things too. The students wanted to know if everyone throws eggs at houses, because that seems to be the image of American Halloween over here. But we had a bank holiday this weekend, so that meant Friday and Monday off of work!
I went to Calzada again this weekend with the host family and the first thing we did on Friday was stop and buy two flower arrangements to take to the cemetery for All Souls Day. Here are some pictures of the cemetery - I know there are some more similar to this in New Orleans and other places but it's pretty different from the cemeteries I'm used to in Dayton.
This kind of tree is very often found in cemeteries; there were some in the cemetery of the 13th century castle I visited a few weeks back so it's apparently a long-standing tradition.
The graves are raised instead of being below the ground completely and the cemetery is surrounded by a high wall all around.
The crosses on the right and left with the two flower arrangements are the graves of my host parent's parents and there are various other family members buried nearby. It seemed like the whole town was at the cemetery bringing flowers and cleaning off the graves. For the people my age, whether they went to the cemetery on All Souls/Saints Day seemed to be a similar issue as going to mass on Holy Days of Obligation is for young Catholics in the US; some people go because they want to, others because their parents make them go, and others don't go at all.
Here are some pictures from the corralon that I was talking about before. They spend a lot of time here in the summer in the pool and having meals in the yard. The door is to the big room with the fireplace, tables and chairs, and bathroom.
Being back in Calzada means being back with Fermin, our little gatito!!
He's alone all week so he's so excited when we arrive for the weekend.
On Saturday, I went with two of Ana and Fatima's friends to watch Ana play soccer! She plays for the Ciudad Real city team which is pretty cool. It's girls from around age 14 all the way up to around Ana's age, 24. (She's one of the oldest.) It definitely made me have itchy feet and want to start playing again. When I get home I'm signing up for indoor soccer right away. Cristina and Fatima wanted a bathroom selfie so here it is.
After we got back from the soccer game we got ready and headed out for tapas and drinks with more friends!
This is Fran, the 13 year old son of the cook at one of the popular bars/cafes in the main square of Calzada. Everyone knows him and he's just a super chill kid; I was showing him pictures on Facebook of my family and friends and the cats, and pictures of what everyone was doing for Halloween. I'm sad I didn't get a better picture, but he's a character I'll remember.
Usually you get sunflower seeds if you order a drink and in most of the cafes and bars you just throw the shells and napkins on the ground and they sweep it up at the end of the night (kind of like peanuts at Texas Roadhouse).
We ended up at Agape, which is the popular bar/disco that everyone goes to and saw tons of people. It was very well decorated for Halloween, with spiderwebs, spooky wall hangings, and bartenders dressed like jesters! There were some people dressed up, and some with crazy makeup, but for most people it was just a normal Saturday night, and we stayed out until 6am! A lot of the kids dressed up and went to the cemetery on Friday night apparently, but I don't know what kind of shenanigans they got into. There was a haunted house (Casa de Terror) in town too, but we didn't go to that thankfully, because I'm a scaredy cat.
Here's a creepy little statue from one the corralon of one of Fatima's friends. We went there on Sunday night for dinner and to stream Big Brother on a laptop in front of the fire. Very fun, but I think I would like Big Brother more if I understood all of the subtleties of the profanities they were using and insinuations they were making as they were shouting at each other. Reality TV seems to be the same all over the world.