Kids Play “toro” here not House or School (excerpts from the life of Rachel Leake: 2016)

2 AM Thoughts

Our bus to Barcelona leaves from the bus station at 2:20. My transportation of choice to arrive there is bike. (Because I will take the cheapest way possible, even if that means cold and some physical labor) Although I am well accustomed to riding alone through the city on bike at whatever hour of the night I am cautious because of what people have told be. “Be careful around bus stations at night or anywhere at night for that matter” With that in mind I made my way to the bus station, a 20 minute trip by bike. Every so often I pass other people on bike or groups that are out partying.  This gives me some company while I am alone in the night. I am riding along the river and I approach an area with plants and benches. There I see some 10 people sleeping there in blankets and whatever else. I continue on my way. Then there is a small building and 3 people sitting on the steps in the same manner.  This is what I see at 1:50 am. There is something about the night, the obscurity that exposes the darkness of humanity. Upon these sights my heart is heavy. I wonder about these people and their stories, how they got to this point and what they are striving towards. Alone in the night I can do nothing. Too caught up in my own life on my way to catch a bus to a faraway land to be a tourist meanwhile the world is suffering.

Checklist Completed, Time to Leave    

Early on in my time here in Spain I made a checklist of things I wanted to do in Valencia before the time I left and all these things have been completed. This means my time here is almost over and that’s saddening. I still feel like there is so much more to do. Life has become routine and busy as usual and because of this I feel as though I am taking things for granted. The little things; the sound of the light switch in the stairwell in my apartment, the opening of the elevator doors, the jingling of my keys, the sound of unlocking a bike from the station, the ticking of the brakes on the bike, the flashing of the crossing lights, and other small things in life. Also the cafes and restaurants I pass daily but have never tried. Will I regret leaving without eating at these places? Will I regret not nurturing relationships and investing more into my friendships here? On the positive side I still have 2.5 months to take advantage of and minimize the possibility of these regrets that could come.

Kids Play “toro” here not House or School

I was at the house of one of my English students and after the hour of class I stayed a little longer to just play with the kids. They suggested we play toro, which is bull in Spanish. At first I thought they were joking and then moments later they start mooing and using their fingers as horns and start “attacking” me. I was given the role as mother bull and told them when it was nap time, fed them and trained them for the bull fight the next day. Being a child is always fun. Most of all I was left pondering the cultural importance of this because I can’t even imagine doing this as a child in the US. I didn’t even know about this stuff until 3 years ago. I love how although the mom said their family doesn’t really pay attention to bullfights and things like that the kids just pick up bits and pieces from TV. I love how “representative” and “typical” this is of Spanish culture. Although the popularity of bull fighting is declining I am still awestruck, in a good way of course that these children chose to play “toro”. I’m not going to lie I had a blast.


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