‘Charades’ in Catalana!

Oh my, I’ve had such a fantastic day today!

Most of these photos are pretty self explanatory; we are to the point now of installing the street ‘ceiling’ of sorts on Berga Street for Festa Gracia (I am still keeping the theme a secret remember, so you can guess but.. I’m sure not going to tell you what this is!  Except that I do have to share my ‘charades’ story – this involves Catalonia (the area of Spain that I am currently in) and paella..

So, last night I was explaining (in poor Catalonian/English/sign language) that I have not yet had paella since arriving here (a BIG deal!). It was explained to me (in Catalonian/French/sign language) that Thursdays are the day to order paella in the restaurants here (I am assuming that’s because Wednesday, or Thursday morning the fresh seafood comes into the city?). It is ‘a la carte’, meaning that they don’t necessarily advertise it on the menu – it is simply understood that you can order it and it will be available.

Tonight, I was helping some of the families, couples work on installation, and my friend from last night shared with this group that I hadn’t had paella yet, and that I am very much looking forward to it. Well! THAT is when the ‘chaos’ began because, have you ever tried to explain an idiom to – not only – a foreigner, but in a language that they don’t even understand!! The entire group of them tried for about twenty minutes to help me understand this, with signs, sounds, laughs, smiles and sighs… basically you name it and they tried but I still didn’t understand!

Finally, one wonderful woman called a friend on the phone who spoke english, and she  helped them find the words to explain  to me that “Not having paella in Catalonia is considered the eighth Deadly Sin!”

Wow!! By the time we got that sorted out, we were ALL exhausted and had experienced THE best laugh at our combined efforts to communicate/translate/comprehend such a specific and regional idiom! I have to say that Catalonians are AMAZING!!

Now I am back in the studio working on my piece for tomorrow’s open house at JIWAR, feeling ever the lucky woman..

The preperations on Berga Street.

And below, a lunchtime meal together (the biggest of the day in Spain) for the Festa Gracia volunteers on Verdi Street this afternoon. We really must start something like this in New Brunswick – I think that it is so special how everyone regardless of age, has an important roll to play at every stage of the preperations.


Published by Danielle Hogan

Visual artist, writer, curator, educator

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