I asked the man at the marina office in Muros what the Spanish word ‘guapa’ means. He laughed, knowing why I asked! He looked at Katie and said, ‘Beautiful’. Since arriving in Spain I hear this word every day as I walk down the street, in shops, in cafes, on country roads. It’s usually spoken by old women who simultaneously tickle Katie or Lily on the tummy, or pinch their cheeks or stroke their hair. Every time they went into the shop in Corme, the shop keeper gave them sweets; the man in the office at Club Nautico de Camariñas gave them each a chocolate bar; an old man in Corme gave them a huge bag of ripe juicy plums from his orchard! At a community feast in Covas, the girls went away to play with some local children. Next thing I saw Katie hand-in-hand with an old woman, who took her to her family’s table to show her off! Guapa, guapa, mas guapa. People laugh and smile and treat them with kindness. I don’t understand much of what they are saying, but the feeling goes beyond language.
My girls certainly stand out, with their blond hair and blue eyes. Not many locals have that combination. But it’s more than that. I’ve noticed a general acceptance and inclusion and joy in having children around. Late at night children are out and about in cafes and restaurants with their parents and extended family members. We encounter children everywhere, but not once have I heard a sharp word being spoken to a child or heard a child cry (except for tiny babies, of course). There is a lot I could learn about patience and tolerance from the way Spanish people treat and interact with their own and other children.
Meanwhile, if Lily and Katie can attract the attention of more small-holders, we might get some more delicious fruit and vegetables for the table!!