It’s been a while since I’ve written. After my trip to the south of Spain at the beginning of the summer, my life in Spain (and in general) became such a busy whirlwind that it was impossible to sit for a little while, collect my thoughts, or edit photos. But it was all in the best way possible – I was living in the moment, spending time with amazing people that I know will be friends for the rest of my life, and working towards my goals. Never once did I feel homesick. (Alright, except when my dear friend Colin told me how great Death Cab’s show was…THEN I felt homesick.)
Is it really over? I can’t say for certain. I can hope that I secure the internship of my dreams next summer and then no, it will be a continuation of what I have worked on this summer. I just fear that if there is no such opportunity, that Plans B and C may not work out, and I’ll have to take any old internship for the sake of taking it.
After a full day of unpacking, assembling, hammering, and pretending like I know how to use a level at my new apartment in Chicago, all of this “hit” me. It’s the end of the summer and I have no clue where it went.
But all of the 11am coffee breaks, aimless walks after dinner, Saltamontes, quests for about a sapling’s worth of paper to burn for San Juan, mojito-making, inside jokes about furancho employees, public transportation SNAFUs, an excursion to the Vigo Zoo, culiminating with pijama party on the eve of my departure – I will carry those memories with me always.
So first and foremost, I have been having problems connecting to the internet this past weekend. It’s been extra-frustrating because I wanted to share my San Juan experience with you all! (I also need to post updates of my weekend in Malaga.)
The fiesta de San Juan is celebrated in many Spanish-speaking areas and countries, but in Galicia the traditions are especially important. The holiday is linked to the summer solstice. Bonfires symbolize a “cleansing” for the people who see them – meaning they are starting the year off anew. And it’s not just branches that you’ll see burning; you’ll find students eager to burn their textbooks in the bonfire. I’m sure that after passing their exams, they’d also like to start off new!
In Galicia, at midnight on the 24th day of June, massive bonfires are lit on the beach. Additionally, it is very traditional to eat sardines for dinner and to drink queimada (a mixture of orujo, fruit, and sugar that is burned – but as you burn it you have to recite some wiccan chant).
Melinda and I headed to Playa America to celebrate San Juan. There were so many people! The evening was definitely geared towards the younger crowd, with lots of boardwalk games and prizes to keep everyone entertained before heading to the actual beach. Although I didn’t see any queimada prepared on the beach, there were lots of mojitos and caiprhinas to be had.
The bonfires themselves were quite a sight to behold. The flames were at least 10 feet tall and throwing off A LOT of heat. (Which was good – the beach gets quite chilly at sundown.) Kids on the beach were making mini-bonfires of their own. Apparently, jumping over the bonfire means that you will have good luck in the coming year. I didn’t do any jumping, so I hope this does not put a damper on any luck I may or may not have…
I was unable to camp out on the beach overnight (many people just sleep in tents), due to an exam the next morning. Bummer, I know. But at least I finally experienced one of Galicia’s most important festivals.