Europe, Spain

Holiday Weekend

On December 4, we started a five day weekend from school. Sunday, December 6, was Immaculate Conception Day (observed on Monday for some schools and businesses) and Tuesday, December 8, was Constitution Day. The week before was Thanksgiving in the US, although that is not observed in Spain. In addition to a much-needed break from school, this weekend was also the official start of Christmastime in Pontevedra.

We received notice that the large Christmas tree in the center of the city would be lit at 18:30. I met up with another aux, Audrey, to walk around, grab coffee, and see it. We swung by the location on our way to coffee before it was lit and gave ourselves about an hour to get coffee

We returned to the center around 18:15 to find that the tree had already been lit! They intentionally worked to downplay the event so that large groups didn’t gather. Due to a pandemic and all. It was beautiful and lots of colors, and nice to see. I can actually see it from my apartment, and there’s another similar, smaller one a few minutes from my apartment.

Audrey and I continued walking around a little in the center. While we were looking at the tree and other decorations, we happened upon another aux, my friend, Corinne. We decided to join up and walk around the city and see what was going on. The festivities were quite small compared to other years, but it was still nice to get out of the house and enjoy some type of cultural event. In fact, it was the first cultural event I’ve been able to experience since being in Spain. Other holidays that I’ve been here for typically have very large celebrations that have all been canceled due to the pandemic. It was was good to just be able to walk around the city, see the lights, and spend time with a couple friends.

There was a group of dancing angels and a group of inflated snowmen that were parading around the city singing the same song. Despite that, we followed them around for a solid hour and enjoyed the time. It was fun and gave us a sense of Christmas spirit.

On Sunday, I got a text invited me out to drinks as the restrictions changed that day allowing for restaurants/bars to open for outside dining and stay open until 5 PM. I went with Whitney and Corinne, and another aux I hadn’t met, Giselle. We had a good time then went to get natas, which is basically a creamy pastry that’s very common in Portugal. I had never had them before, but it was a good experience. After, we went to a store called Tiger and got a few Christmas gifts.

On Sunday, I took it easy and worked on things like cleaning, laundry, and some self-care. I spent some time outside, watched Netflix, and talked with my family.

On Monday, I went Christmas shopping for my parents at a place called Juncal and put together a care package for them. After, two other auxes, Monica and Isabelle, were having drinks nearby so I stopped by for about an hour to catch up with them. Afterwards, I walked around and spotted some other Christmas festivities, and then headed back home.

Then before I knew it, it was Tuesday and ready to start a new school week. I had hope on the horizon as it was only a three day week and then one more full week of school until our Christmas vacation!

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