I feel that since retiring (nearly 2 years ago) I have had time to let my thoughts wander. I have only just realised what a luxury this is, although I do sometimes think that my wanderings and ponderings are evidence of a butterfly brain, that somehow I managed to conceal throughout my working life.For instance: earlier this week I posted a photo onto Facebook, of 2 of my former students from the time when I worked in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (1984/5) One was a then, 18 year old Spanish student, ( Bibiana) living with an American family for a year as part of the A.F.S programme. The other, was Annick, from Belgium.
Bibi and Annick in my sociology class 1985
Bibi’s “AFS mother” was also a teacher at the school, and we have remained great friends, and over the last 25 years I have caught up with her in Arizona, where she now lives, in Wisconsin, Yorkshire and Ireland. I’m hoping she will make it over to France to see me there.Anyway, Bibi and I have also remained in contact, and a few years ago I attended the baptism of her beautiful daughter, in Benicassim, in Spain. It was an incredible occasion. Bibi’s whole family was there of course, and that included her American family from the year she had spent in the US that coincided with my time there. Another of the guests was the other student in the photo I had posted on Facebook, Annick, who was also in Sheboygan on the AFS scheme. So it was a fabulous multinational gathering, and Bibi’s gorgeous daughter’s baptism was celebrated in very fine style.
Bibi's Spanish family
I knew I loved jamon before the party, but watching the master carver approach the stunningly arranged leg with his jamonero and his puntilla ( just 2 of the knives the master carvers learn to use during their apprenticeship), I was completely overcome by the whole process.
Bibi with her daughter, and Annick
Today, in the Sunday Observer magazine, there is a supplement on Spanish food, and there, on page 39, is step by step instructions on how to carve jamon. The accompanying article about the respect for the knives, and for the pig ( mmm, not sure how the pig felt about that ) and the skill involved in carving this £440 worth of pig’s leg, had me searching through my photos for the jamon that Bibi served at her daughter’s baptism celebration.
So, there it is, I began the week remembering the beautiful and bright Bibi and Annick. Then my mind wandered around thinking of the last time I had seen them both in Spain.... and then, to round it off, the Observer article had me yearning for some delicious slices of Iberico Bellota.....and it all led to this blog posting.
I am looking forward to where my mind takes me next week.