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Home thoughts from home

Maggie is at work. The cat has stayed in Culebrón to take advantage of the outdoors life, the flat is clean. I've made an appointment at the doctor's and done the shopping and it's not time to cook yet so I thought I'd do a bit of reading.

I'm reading a book called Todo eso que tanto nos gusta - something like All that we like so by a bloke called Pedro Zarraluki. It's good, I'm enjoying it. It being a bit chilly in the unheated flat I've taken to popping over the road to the, much warmer, bar Fran and downing a couple of coffees as I plough through the pages. I need to get on with it as it's a library book due back next week. It's a relatively easy read so I can do without the dictionary which might make the process a bit unmanageable.

The first time I went in asking for a café americano caused the bar owner some consternation - a diluted espresso I explained, the second time he greeted me with the word americano and, today he just smiled and waved me to the table as he did his stuff with the coffee machine.

On Saturday, back in Culebrón, my old mate Jaime and his partner Maria Dolores turned up at the house unannounced to show off his new car. I was hanging out washing at the time. Maggie was out getting her hair done. The house was cold and we had no snacks and drinks on hand suitable for entertaining guests. I was wrongfooted and my Spanish suffered. It didn't recover during the visit. Nonetheless when we went out for a drink and a snack I was able to recommend a couple of local delicacies from the list presented, I stuck to my guns and had some liver despite everyone assuring me it was a disgusting choice and I tucked into the small, whole octopus without any thought about it being other than a very standard option.

Just now, walking home and then in the flat listening to a few minutes of the radio news I got to pondering on the strangeness of it all and yet the familiarity, the ordinariness. I'm at home here yet I'm often uneasy. It's odd being an immigrant.

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