The Fourth of July, otherwise known as Independence Day (and apparently also known to some as "Fuck England Day" as I've seen mentioned on Facebook?), has come and gone. Did I miss it? Not really. Spain has a holiday that is so similar in its protocol, that I don't think I ever will.
St. John's day (San Juan in Spanish, Sant Joan in Catalán), celebrated on the summer solstice, is one of the more popular "Saints days". Anyone who has a name of biblical origin is recognized in Spain on a dedicated day, and is given congratulations and gifts by loved ones, much like on their birthday. St. Peter's (or San Pedro) has also passed since my arrival. It's odd accepting acknowledgement for a holiday you've never even considered, let me tell you.
Three years ago, when I was in Spain for my internship, San Juan was one of the highlights of my stay. By that time David and I had grown pretty close. He invited me and my roommate, Danielle, to join him and his friends for a dinner at his parents place (at the time, they had already migrated to Cubelles).
We began the evening by sharing the largest cocktail I'd ever seen in my life.
Later on, David serenaded us. This might have been the moment I fell in love.
And then we consumed a "coca", the traditional San Juan dessert.
If this were America, the night might have concluded there. But this was Spain. So the party must go on. We met up with some more of David's friends on the way to the beach, for a party that would last longer than I could have ever imagined. (Think: after sunrise)
Now, I should mention that I was a little skeptical about this evening. At the time, very few people were in on David's "secret". He had asked me politely to remain "discreet". As predicted, as the night grew with excitement, and my body swelled with alcohol, it became trickier and trickier to refrain from physical affection. I took to conversations with his friends to distract me, and ended up hitting it off pretty well with María, who I've mentioned before.
Little did I know at the time, but María had developed a little crush on me on arrival. This was obviously eradicated as soon as I broke the one rule David had given me. Between sighs and large gulps of vodka and Fanta, I spilled out the whole devastating story that was David's and my time-sensitive romance. She didn't respond with too much surprise. We spent the last couple hours of the festivities conversing, giving my Spanish quite the exercise, and my troubled mind quite the sigh of relief. David didn't learn of this exchange of info until years later.
Flash forward three years. There was much debate over how we would spend this night of all nights. In the end, we were much too tired (or perhaps just too old) to commemorate that night, long ago. So we decided to invite a few friends over to our apartment. It was our first get together in this, our new home, and though low-key, will be remembered fondly and forever.
And what do you know, María was present!
Mmm... the fajitas were awesome.
The guac wasn't so bad either.
Can't forget the coca!
Instead of a crazy beach party, this San Juan ended with a fierce Wii tournament, but hey, that's growing up! I hope everyone had a happy Fourth!