August 22, 2002

8/22/02 Hacinas

Wandering around Hacinas

For the last couple of days, I've been trying to get in a regular stretching and exercise program. I'm not going to worry about getting ready for the pilgrimage, I'll just start out slow and build up as I go. So, my routine is a little exercise (sit-ups, push-ups, etc) and some much needed stretching. Then I jump right into my Spanish lessons. About noon, I took a break to walk around the village.

Front entrance of the church

Although it can get really hot, today was very windy and cooler. But if you got out of the wind, you heated up pretty fast. I say hello to all the people I see but I usually get no replies or even a smile. I guess I'm still the "stranger from America."

José grew up here. About the only two businesses in town are the bakery (panadaria) owned by his uncle, and the bar, owned by his father I think. A bar in Spain is more like a café. It's just a place to get a drink or a cup of coffee. Most have tapas which are bite-size snacks, and the kids can usually get an ice cream cone.

Looking towards the mountains from the hill-top church

I wandered to the highest point in Hacinas near the church. It's an amazing view. Mountain buttes to the west, the village below to the south, and north you can barely see a few rooftops of Salas, and to the east, distant mountains. It's very difficult to capture with a camera. The village is made up of many old and new homes all mixed together. Because the styles are similar, it looks like it was all planned that way. A lot of homes have Geraniums in the windows. The place is so different from small towns in the USA. Even though it's small, Hacinas appears very healthy and full of life.

I took some time to draw one of the four bells in the church tower. I just need to practice more with my drawing. Before lunch, I played a bit with Javier. He is such a musician. While he played the drum (very loud), he wanted me to make-believe I was playing the trombone. He's such a good kid.

Drummer boy

After lunch, I took a long siesta. I could get addicted to these after-lunch naps very easily. I had just enough time to say hello to Nati as she got home from work, and to study a bit before Amparo picked me up for my lesson.

I think I hit a 'stress' bump today. Sometimes I don't think anyone knows how hard this is for me to learn Spanish. I've been trying to learn a new language for years with no luck despite countless hours of study. If immersion doesn't work, I may give up. Today's lesson seemed like "Day 1". Every time Amparo asked me something, I would draw a big blank. I just can't absorb it fast enough.

After the long three-hours of class, Amparo Santi, 2-year-old Miranda and I headed out for a free concert by a band from Cuba. Very good music had many people dancing in the ailes of this outdoor concert. Sometimes I just sin in amazement of all the beautiful women here. Several people tried to talk to me but I seemed to always freze-up. A collegue of Santi's from another city government was visiting and she told me she had walked the Camino three times but I couldn't think of anything to say in Spanish.

Back at home, my brain feels fried. I think my frustration with my lack of progress with Spanish is near a breaking point. I need to relax and have some fun. Everyone tells me I'm doing well, I just need to believe them.