Viento Sur

Here in Cantabria, wind is a fact of life.

We give names to the different winds.


Photo credit: Google Images

Put signs on the doors.

Translation: “Door closed due to south wind. Back entrance on General Mola Street. Sorry for any inconveniences.” Photo credit: a fellow Santander Fulbrighter, Jon-Michael Poff

And put coats on the dogs.


Photo credit: Google Images

Last week the viento sur, the south wind, once again blew us home from the bus stop and inverted our umbrellas. I resented the wind as I hurried home from a friend’s house, school bag slung over one shoulder, umbrella in hand, and (soon-to-be-soggy) baguette in the other. But the wind cannot be resisted. No matter which direction you tilt your umbrella, you will still get pelted by the rain.  Really, your only option is to surrender.  Sometimes that even means closing your umbrella and getting a second shower for the day.  Sometimes that means forking over a few euros for a taxi ride (cheaper than a new umbrella!) or hopping on the bus instead of walking.  The winds have been especially strong the past few weeks. Not just the viento sur, but the winds of change. The winds that are sweeping me home sweet home in 5 weeks.  The winds that have already come to begin to carry off my Fulbrighter friends on their next grand adventure.

I decided early on to close up the umbrella and soak in the wind and rain.  Although there is really no other option than to surrender to the winds of change, you do get to choose whether to laugh or to cry about it. The tears tears will eventually win out, but I’ve been trying extra hard to choose joy.  Celebrating instead of grieving, creating more memories, instead of dwelling on what has been.  It’s a choice, and some days it’s more difficult to choose to celebrate, but I’m trying.

We sent off my roommate (or rather, flatmate), Ally, the first of the Fulbrighters to leave the nest, in high-style last week: first, with a gathering of Spanish friends, at the local “American” diner, and then following night, a farewell with American friends at a Spanish tapas bar. So fitting.

Last weekend I went to Asturias with Sam (a dear Fulbrighter friend), stayed with a Spanish family, drank sidra, saw 9th century pre-Romanesque architecture, feared for my life as we drove up the windiest of mountain roads, and survived a very, very late-night at a rural “festival,” of sorts. A story for another day.

Next weekend I’m going to, drumroll please… A CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL IN FRANCE!!!!!!!

And in less than a month, the number of natural redheads in Santander is going to double, as three fabulous Angell women embark on a trans-atlantic journey to visit me!  Let the celebration continue!

“For the traveler, as you finish up your time in one place and prepare to move on to another, may the road before you reveal her holy secrets even as you treasure up the stories from your past. May you walk with sure feet and steady gaze to tomorrow even as you hold the memory gifts from yesterday. May you move forward with confidence, courage, and peace, knowing you will never walk alone.” – Emily Freeman