Cris & Pablo
Our friend Cris was Conor’s third-grade teacher, imported from Spain, to teach in the Spanish immersion program in Montgomery County, MD, public schools.
She was one of several excellent teachers from Spain to come to our community. At a time when many Americans were focused inward, our children had the tremendous benefit of being in the classroom each day with gifted teachers from a different country, a different culture.
We met Pablo in Washington too, when he was doing important research on child labor issues in third-world countries.
More important for our story, Cris and Pablo met in Washington – and when they returned to their native Spain they settled in Madrid.
Little did we know that one day we would turn up on their doorstep, be treated like family, and shown a side of life in Madrid off the tourist trail.
On our first night in Madrid Cris and Pablo took us to a tapas restaurant in a residential neighborhood not far from Plaza del Sol. Pablo spoke to the waiter, then asked if we would like to try to some dishes unique to Spain.
I was pretty sure I knew what that was code for.
In ten months of travel I had been very cautious with food. I didn’t eat any insect or “unusual” animal parts. But with just a few days till we returned to the United States, I figured what the heck.
The waiter brought several small plates to the table. There were a few items I could not identify. I decided not to ask any questions. I stole a glance at Dani and we dug in.
Fortunately, Pablo had ordered the wine as well.
As the evening was winding down and we were about to head back to our hotel, Pablo asked: “Did you enjoy the tripe?”
“I did,” I said.
“And I will remember it fondly if you don’t tell me what it was.”