My goodness, what a joy it was to see this on my Twitter time line. And I mean really… wow. It’s an article called Alegría (Joy) by Braulio Ortiz from the Diario de Sevilla, and it just took my breath away. Braulio mentions me and “German in Spain” Christian Machowski as the ones who inspired him to write this article. It’s in Spanish and I think is behind a paywall so I have done a quick translation of the bit that mentions me and Christian. It’s basically about how oftentimes it takes an “outsider” to help us remember who we are.
We must preserve that trait of ours, our joy. It is the people who cling to life, who smile, who captivate us
Often a gaze directed outwards helps us to remember who we are; it returns to us, like a mirror that we bump into unexpectedly on a walk, a reflection in which we no longer stopped. With the excitement of a reunion, of a revelation perhaps, I am following two Twitter accounts with interest: those of Shawn Hennessey, a Canadian living in Seville who organizes amazing gastronomic tours, and Christian Machowski, a German who after residing in the United Kingdom for almost a quarter of a century settled in Malaga. One better appreciates the culinary heritage in its surroundings by observing the amazing tapas shared by the first: the quality of the raw material, and the creativity with which the chefs approach it, make up a comforting landscape. Machowski, for his part, photographs a beautiful Malaga that still preserves its essence, its original charm, despite the voracity with which tourism transforms it. In the images of both, a hospitable, friendly land appears, a place that invites you to stay, a picture almost at the antipodes of that bitter vision of dirty and noisy cities through which we in the south sometimes contemplate ourselves.
How fabulous is that? It will never be less than an overwhelming experience when I find myself being recognised by Spanish people as being one of their own, or at least accepted as someone of recognition based on my love of Spain. So I shall bask in the glow of this for a while. When I thanked Braulio on Twitter I told him that I’d much prefer to be an inspiration than an influencer, and Christian said that he agreed. Thanks again Braulio!
I know envy is the wrong reaction to something like this — not because you got featured, but because Joy. I wish Americans even knew what Joy was. I don’t think there is such a thing in this country — just competitiveness, and Winning, and something called Fun which is fucking exhausting.
It’s the same in Canada. Same in the UK. There is a basic level of joy here that permeates through so much of the bullshit. Yes, not perfect, and there’s also lots of greed and competitiveness going on, but you cannot say that the Spanish don’t know how to have fun and enjoy their lives, and each other. I’m still learning.