Sometime over Christmas, a friend dragged me to someone’s cousin’s house somewhere in the middle of nowhere for a fiesta–not a fiesta for anything in particular, but a day of feasting nonetheless. There were about 30 people, and I was the only foreigner. Beer—Cruzcampo, free-flowing—began being handed out at 12 noon, long before lunch was served. By 3:00, there was guitar-playing and singing and dancing, and shouts of ¡Olé! all around. By 5:30, they had made a fire, around which the festivities continued, along with suggestions of “getting to know each other better,” or “putting you and my friend together, wink wink,” all made in good faith, and easy enough to refuse.
At 9:00, one of my friends—Spanish, male, inebriated quite—sat next to me and said, in English, and with greater confidence than I had seen him speak English in the years we’d known each other: “Averill, I hope the time will come when you will get to sit in a place like this with the rest of us and not think of it as a group of Spanish people singing Spanish songs and dancing like Spaniards.” He burped, continued: “I hope you will become so immersed in life in Spain that you will see this for what it is: simply, a group of friends sitting around a fire and having fun.”