Nearly six weeks after my initial trip into Extremadura, I was at it again. This time, the bus was replaced by a nice four-door sedan, and the 20 Anglos were replaced by two Spaniards — Marcos and Jesus, a friend of mine from the Monfrague VaughanTown program.
Just like the first time on the bus, I sat with my eyes wide, staring out the window, marveling at the beauty of Spain’s countryside. This time was even more magnificent.
Snow still clung to the mountain peaks, and the fields below were still a vibrant green with yellow flowers blankets the ground. And then, there were more colors. Purple! Red! White! All competing with the yellow, blending into one of the most picturesque sights against the cork and olive trees I have ever seen.
“This … it is just so … amazing,” I explained to Marcos and Jesus, searching for the right words to convey the beauty I was witnessing.
“Si,” they said.
It went on for hours … this gorgeous countryside. Every now and then, we would pass ruins of old castles or palaces, little cities on hills, fields of horses and cows and bulls. Each minute, my heart wrapped itself more and more firmly around the country.
I have to live here.
Jesus and I had been working for a month on finding a job for me. I had even redone my entire CV and written a cover letter on how I wanted to work and live in Spain. And Jesus, bless him, had translated it all into Spanish for me. Up until that Sunday afternoon (the day of the Formula One race in Monaco (Alonso placed sixth), the tennis match with Federer and the Barcelona v Madrid futbol game), we had no luck, but my fingers were crossed.
And now, we were headed to Merida, where I would have a Monfrague reunion of sorts — seeing most of the people who played such an important role in my life during that one week … Jesus, Maria Antonio, Jose, Macarena and Alfonso.
“We are home,” Jesus announced as the car pulled up in front of a white apartment building. The two men, being the polite and wonderful men they are, hauled my bags and buzzed Maria to let us in.
“Hi!” I squealed when Maria, head full of curls, greeted us at the door to her flat. We hugged, and walked into her beautiful home, leaving Jesus and Marcos to continue their day.
That was just the start of the impromptu (and awesome) Monfrague reunion in Merida.