"You know, you are the only one we allow here to use our Wifi (weefee) and not consume anything." And beyond that, they bring me mint limonadas as I comb through the massive back files of writings due months ago. This is one of the Spanish waiters I have come to know in this past week and a half at my de facto office, known to others as the Casa Pillar lobby/restaurant. Unlike many of the Spaniards I have come to know during my visits to Madrid and now Granada, he speaks English fluently and initially caught me off guard when I first met him. I walked in entering through the bar side of the restaurant/lobby focused on finding an open cushioned wicker chair to prop me and my mobile offices on for hours. He started reading the Arabic name plate necklace my father bought me years back from Abu Dhabi. Although I have come to find a sizable community of Moroccans and Syrians in Granada, I was thinking: what is this Spanish-looking man doing reading Arabic? So I asked in Spanish. And he responded in Arabic: "I lived in Tehran for 7 years." Even more confused, I later asked, "how and why did you learn Arabic in IRAN?" It turns out that his mother converted to Islam while he was young and moved the family to Iran after marrying an Iranian man, where he went to school and learned Arabic as part of his standard grammar school education. I come to learn more about him everyday that I am here, and close down the place with my attempts to coordinate my skype sessions with my PST family, friends and work colleagues.
And this is one of the beauties I have come to know of traveling as an independently 20-something woman, the almost instant connections that emerge out of everyday, sometimes even transactional, experiences. It's unfathomable to think that I only have two full days left here, especially as I am only starting to apprend a conversational level of Spanish, getting my navigational bearings down, and fostering friendships with affable locals.