Marzo y Las Fallas

It’s spring time here in Valencia, which means the flowers are blooming and the hours of the day adequate to spend at the beach are increasing. March has been quite the month – from friends visiting for spring break, to celebrating Valencia’s largest annual ordeal, Las Fallas, and much more.

First, Las Fallas. Las Fallas is an incredibly event that the people of Valencia and the surrounding areas put on each year. It requires year-long planning and several group efforts to make everything come together. To begin explaining the festival, I should tell a little about the history. Las Fallas has slowly evolved over time, but it first began as a festival celebrating the patron saint of carpenters, Saint Joseph. In the past, carpenters would use planks of wood to set candles on to do their work in the winter months, and then when spring came, they no longer needed these planks of wood so they would then be burned. This act, corresponding with Saint Joseph, is what has developed over time to the modern-day version: constructing ginormous, beautifully crafted art pieces to the height of buildings and then on the last day, setting everything on fire (naturally). Several other events decorate the festival days, such as la ofrenda, which is where each of the fallera mayores carry flowers to offer to the Virgin of the city, and of course, fireworks…but not like woo America! 4th of July fireworks…I mean this is really a production.

Anyways, the timing worked out phenomenal, because my friends could join me for the festival during their spring break. They loved it as much as I did, and as neither of really knew what to expect, we were pretty amazed.

March also brought me an amazing weekend in Barcelona with some of my friends here in Valencia (and Maddie was the last visitor and got to come too). One of my friends studying in Germany has a family house outside of Barcelona that he invited us all to for the weekend after Las Fallas. We made big paellas and spent the whole day hammocking and looking down at the sea. In this day, after the craziness of Las Fallas, I really saw my life slow down before my eyes. How is it that I can have such strong days, such vibrant memories, all within such a short period of time? If my life continued this way, from here on out, for the rest of my life, at the end of it all I will feel as if I have lived a million lives in one. Looking down at the sailboats this day, I made a promise to myself. I was going to maintain this quality of life, this level of happiness, for the rest of my life. I know there will be down points, difficulties, of course – but now that I have had a little taste, a little taste of how sweet life can be, how could I go back? I won’t and I promised myself that on this warm spring day outside of Barcelona.

April is just around the corner and she also holds several great adventures…Seville, Morocco, Ibiza. I look forward to it all.

Lastly, I just want to remember this day of cleansing and cleaning with Josefine, the 30th of March. We got out of bed and went straight for a run to the beach and then came back and cleaned the entire apartment between the two of us. It felt so good to spend this time with her and just zone out a bit and clean (a lot of mess occurs when you have 12 visitors in one month). I am so lucky to have met her, and I know we will be friends for a very long time to come – my Swedish guardian!

Besos, Heath

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