sábado, 24 de noviembre de 2012

Giving Thanks

Perhaps what I was most thankful for on Thanksgiving was the fact that it was not my Spanish Halloween.  I avoided writing about it earlier because it was still too unreal/scarring in my mind.  But since Christmas preparation has already started in the States, I thought in the spirit of giving, I would share the beginning of my Halloween night in Madrid.

It all began with a last minute Halloween celebration.  My host mom had fallen ill in the week leading up to her annual Halloween party, and needed to cancel the event.  I assumed that I would no longer be doing anything for the holiday; as frequently happens, I was wrong.  I had a party to go to, but only 20 minutes to prepare a costume.  My roommate and I had a quick brainstorming session and came up with a brilliant, simple idea: a priest.  All i needed was a black shirt, black pants, and a white piece of paper in the collar  The "brilliant" idea of mine turned out to be an example of how cultural differences can make one acceptable costume in one country a poor decision in another.

And others are terrible no matter where you are

Not 2 minutes into my walk toward the party, I saw a rather large man walking a German Shepherd in my direction.  He was a caricature of a man you did not want to mess with: he had close shaven hair, tribal tattoos and his legs were as wide around as my torso.  I thought nothing of it when he gave me a questioning look but when he stopped, I knew that this behemoth was about to speak with me.

He looked like Mariusz Pudzianowski, but with more shirt

"Eres un sacerdote? (are you a priest?)" As he spoke my heart dropped to my stomach.  I managed to squeak out an unconvincing "...Si?" and surprising to approximately no one ever, he did not believe me.  It must have been the large polo symbol on my shirt, or the fact that most priests don't carry around a box of wine with them, but he was not impressed with my priest impression.

He gave a stern "No" and then proceeded to rip the white collar out of my shirt, threw it in the trash and left me with the most disapproving look I have ever received in my life before he moved on.  I silently thanked God that I had chosen to wear my glasses to top off the priest look, otherwise there is no doubt in my mind that I would have received a black eye that would have made a boxer costume a more convincing choice for the party.  Instead, I chose to wear my perfected frightened tourist costume, out of fear of insulting anyone else.   

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