Transatlantic Connection

The final Gannon Knight edition of the fall 2012 semester marks the beginning of the end of my extraordinary semester abroad.

In 19 days I will be boarding a bus for the first component of my travels back to Erie, Pa. Today through my narrow image of the future it appears as though nothing can make these last weeks end soon enough. For others in my position it seems impossible that these days would be long enough to fortify the beautiful glory of the past three months. Whether we find ourselves in great anticipation of an exciting future or dreadful agony of a distancing past the resistance is still the same.

Living contentedly present in the moment of which I am currently installed is a skill that is the current object of my attention. As I was walking home from the bus station this afternoon I took a brave initiative of change.

Instead of daydreaming about my blissful homecoming to the United States, I spent the 25-minute walk considering the aspects of Sevilla I would be missing soon after my departure.

Without hesitation, the first thought that entered my mind was food.

Jamón Ibérico became an instant passion of mine from the moment when I first tasted it. Before coming to Sevilla I was under the impression that the most outstanding food to be encountered in southern Spain was seafood. My intentions are not to minimize the value or importance of seafood in Andalucía.

However, shrimp, clams and fish alike cannot stand strong against the traditional craftsmanship of an Iberian pig leg.

This delectable variety of swine is fed acorns for the large majority of its life creating the distinct flavor that is associated with Jamón Ibérico. The meat is cured in salt for up to two weeks and then left to age for up to two years. The cultural tradition of this process is experienced with every slice in its unbelievably smooth taste and flawless texture. I believe without any doubt that eating this delicacy is the finest way to experience the attitude of Spain.

I will not perjure myself by saying I whole-heartedly look forward to my seemingly 10-mile walk about town every day, but I can honestly say that once I am removed from Spain these toddles will be fond in my memory.

The streets are persistently filled with darling canine, mystical smoke from carts of roasting chestnuts and the fresh aroma of orange zest. Even in the winter months, the café streets are lined with patio furniture warmed by radiators so that the patrons can enjoy the fresh atmosphere provided by the lively boulevards.

The streets of Sevilla do not reflect the manner of Spain’s third largest city. Instead, there is an air of calmness that settles over the pedestrians as they stop to chat with a neighbor or help a superbly dressed child up from the ground. I anticipate missing this sense of collectiveness with immense vigor. However, there is com fort to be found in the realization that even after I return to the United States I can recreate this sensitivity in my own actions.

As the pace of my brisk walk advanced into a slower strolling gait, I realized that above all I would miss the stillness of the Guadalquivir.

Centuries ago, this tranquil river was a raging force that annually produced floods of destruction. Since then, the river has been restructured to prevent such horrific demolition and thus lies calm and still in the deep river basin. From the very first few days of my experience in Sevilla, the Guadalquivir has been a beacon of direction and serenity. The river precisely divides the city.

Because of this, the direction of the river is the most useful compass an unbalanced tourist could ever encounter. Once you have reached the river, all of the city’s most spectacular sites are revealed. In one shot you can see the breathtaking Triana bridge, the fortitude of the Torre de Oro and the majesty of Giraldillo at the top of La Giralda.

Aside from the undemanding convenience and handsome vistas of the Guadalquivir, I will most certainly miss the feelings it emanates. The stillness of the river exists in a manner as if the water has never and will never change. This sensation is the one in which we must all be reminded.

Looking back and peering ahead without regard for the present moment will only create a sentiment of wasted time. Nineteen days mark the date of my departure from Sevilla, but until then my efforts will be spent on living and benefiting from the moment I have been presently given. It is my deepest wish that you would also take pleasure in the holiday season as well as the grateful days that precede it.

 

JESSICA SCOUTEN

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