Carnaval, carnaval!

Today was the much-anticipated event post-Christmas: Carnaval (or Carnival). I listened to this song a minimum of twenty times today, the accompaniment to scene changes and pre- and post-celebration celebrations. (Yes, I know I repeated that word twice.) Our school's theme was Communities of Spain, and each grade chose a different community to represent in dress and song. My second grade students represented Andalucia, and more specifically, the region of Sevilla, while the third graders represented Extramadura. I was very impressed with the dance second grade performed, which included some traditional Sevillana choreography and all of the girls were decked out in their finest Sevillana dresses, shoes, hair pins, and fans (see photo above). Adorable! Watching the children and teachers perform, dressed up in traditional clothing, was both a beautiful learning experience about the country I currently reside in, but it also made me a little bit homesick for my country.

I felt a little bit more like an outsider than normal today, craving the comforts of home and my own language. It was yet another reminder of the constant tension of living in a foreign country: there's excitement and delight in the unknown and the new, frustration with the same, and yearning to understand and be understood. But when I remember this time is limited--no matter how long we stay, we aren't permanent citizens here--it makes me appreciate this sense of otherness more.