The majority of things are small in Spain.
The people, the doors, the cars, the clothes, the stores, the sidewalks, etc etc etc.
I've been surrounded by so many small things, that when I find things that don't conform to my pequenito ideals, they're always noteworthy. Today was one of those not worthy days-Fernando's birthday- and it was a BIG deal. The biggest thing at the party? The paella.
Let's just say Fernando was really proud of this thing. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish consisting of various things, but all containing rice, saffron, assorted vegetables, and different types of sea food/meat. Most of the time paella is made is small quantities... but I've found that that only applies to people who don't have this huge frying pan that feeds around 40 people.
The thing was the size of Rhode Island, and Fernando insisted that I take pictures of every step. It was so funny- he'd do another mix, add another ingredient, or turn down the temperature, and then order me to take another picture. I didn't mind at all!
Today's paella had red peppers, capers, artichoke, green beans, rabbit, mussels, shrimp, chicken, and these bad boys on top. Pili told us that they only buy these lobster looking things on special occasions becuase they run about 10 euros a piece. Yeah, this must have qualified for a really special occasion because she bought over 20 of the suckers. Another thing that isn't small in Spain: the party budget.
While the paella was cooking Pili was cooking and serving all kinds of appetizers to the thirty odd family and friends who came to the party. We had tons of food- all authentic Spanish, and all a little bit scary, but I just tried everything anyways.
We ate eggplant, deviled egg things with a tuna mix and caviar on top, grilled mushrooms, a tuna dip, cheese, bread, gazpacho.... the list goes on and on. I was full even before the paella was served! (yeah... it takes like 2 1/2 hours to cook.)
The paella was.... fishy. I figure you haven't really experienced Spain until you've eaten their paella, and Fernando did his best to sift out the big pieces of rabbit leg, so I ate it, and it wasn't even that bad. The party was a hit! When we were done eating, I expected a gigantic birthday cake or something, but instead the norms finally fell back into place and I was just handed a smallish piece of chocolately flan for postre. Don't worry though- Natalie and I both washed it down with a Magnum.
After the party, a good portion of the afternoon was dedicated to facebook pictures. Who knew sorting, captioning, and tagging could take so long?
Being around the house all day was making me a little restless, so later tonight Brittany, Alisha, Natalie, Rick, Mike, and I had some plaza time.
The plaza is amazing. There is a great view of historic building surrounded by rosebush after rosebush and lined with the most peculiar trees I've ever seen. It's picturesque. I've said it before and I will say it again- Spaniards are so cool. There were so many people out and about tonight, taking in the spring air while their adorable children ran around, jovenes (young people) congregated around the middle of the plaza drinking mystery liquids out of a unidentified bottle, and old people moseyed around, taking time to sit and relax, then passing on to tapas bars or the like. Everyone was in the Plaza, and one of my friends remarked that even the birds know it's the place to be! It was so refreshing to just be sitting around, talking to the little kids, Eurowatching, and marveling that it was 10 PM and the sun was just still fighting for air time. Early summer really is where it is at.
When I came home the fun just didn't stop. Pili stopped me at the door and let me to the backyard where we ate dinner on the patio, talked, and ate WAY too many patatas fritas. Life is good here. Really good.