Many moons ago, I had an opportunity of a lifetime to live abroad in Barcelona, Spain. I was young, impressionable, and eager to learn. Not many people get a chance to live abroad when they are a high schooler. By the time I got to college, I was way mature for my age. Well, part of me was. I was still an obnoxious college student. I was on my own while my family was back in the United States. I didn’t talk to my family very often as it was quite costly to call home. I lived more off of letters. Yes, there was a time when people corresponded by letters. I still have some of those old letters that I received. Just thinking about it all sends a wave of fond nostalgia through my body. I remember walking down the Ramblas and just feeling that everything and anything was possible. If only one could bottle up that feeling and spray it onto oneself every once in a while. But I have rambled on about the Ramblas. Let me redirect myself to my proposed topic at hand.
While each day was a new adventure, there was one standard I could rely on and provided me much comfort. I had a family with whom I loved. They were great hosts as they came with a dog and a bird as well. That dog was every part of my experience as everything else was. He would sit with us and watch the nightly news. He would anticipate it. It isn’t as if he followed the news. It was just that it was family time. And in particalar, there was friday nights pizza.
Every friday night, my host mom always cooked pizza. Homemade pizza. I had never had such a thing nor did I ever thereafter. I’m certainly not about to make homemade pizza. It was, however, delicious. Or so I believe. Honestly, I don’t know how good it tasted. I don’t have that memory embedded in my being. What I do fondly recall is just sitting there with the family anticipating the pizza. We would recap our week as I readied myself to party Spanish style. Meaning, we would start our night adventure at about 10:30pm or later.
I spoke so fondly of my friday night pizzas, that others at my school wanted in on the pizza action. My Spanish host mom, ever so gracious, would occasionally prepare a friday pizza feast for my friends as well. It was like something out of a television show.
Speaking of television shows, while writing this, I was reminded of the show Friday Night Lights. A great show, although, not viewed by the millions of viewers it had deserved. It was well scripted and acted and what worked best for it was that the actors were free to truly live, breathe, and be the characters. They were told that they could remain true to their characters and change up lines if it felt for natural for the character. They were allowed to move around. And, they didn’t do The extensive rehearsals other television shows do week in and week out. The actors supposedly knew that the filming would work around them. When are any of us ever that free to be ourselves?
I was relatively free when I was in Barcelona. No parents around. I had hosts for guardians. I had a whole new city to wander through and a whole lot of me to explore. Yet, despite that freedom I also had Friday night pizza. It grounded me. It connected me. It fed my body and soul. I truly wish we could all have that. Especially nowadays with so much rancor and pain taking up space in our collective consciousness and interactions.
What’s your Friday night pizza?