Stateside

Good evening Charles Center blog. I apologize for the lapse of time between now and my previous post. Since I last wrote, I have returned to the states to begin the fall semester at William & Mary. I left Spain on July 10, which unfortunately was earlier than I anticipated. I had cut the trip a few days short to prepare further for the MCAT and to polish up my AMCAS general application to medical school. I managed to get a lot of the application done while in Spain, and quickly finished it once I returned home.

In the next few posts, I will be writing about separate incidents, which I had already written about in a separate Word document, to illustrate a few of my more recent and exciting experiences. To briefly fill you in with a general timeline: I continued to train with the school in Jerez until late June, and completed several formal and informal interviews with the young toreros and the school’s professor. Professor Lozano had a lot of insightful commentary on the lives of his students which I am excited to explore further. Ultimately, I was sad to leave my host family and to pack up my capes and sword on the last day of classes. I was really beginning to bond with group and had made several close friends.

I took a train from Jerez de la Frontera back to Madrid, where I stayed for a week with the wonderful host family that I met through my Monroe research last summer. I caught up with the family’s daughter, who had spent some time in Australia and had learned English quite well. I trained closely with two talented Colombian matadors, Santiago Naranjo and Juanito Ortiz in the Casa del Campo, a beautiful park in the center of Madrid I had the privilege of training with two aficionados as well – one from California and the other Scotland. At the end of the week we all went to Ávila (by car, about an hour and a half) to train with live cows for two days under the instruction of Santiago. My sister, Maria, ended up coming to visit, and even got the opportunity to watch us train out on the ranch in Ávila. Expect photos (and maybe even video) soon.

From Madrid, Maria and I went to Salamanca to meet and interview the Spanish torero, Juan del Álamo, who I wrote about and show photographed in my previous post. On the ranch where he lives, Villar de los Álamos (from which he derives his name), I did the interview and spent a great deal of time with his managers and close friends. The experience was incredible and something I will surely be writing about further.

Maria and I finished the trip by dropping in Pamplona to witness a day and a half of Hemingway’s running of the bulls and overwhelming fiesta during the week of  “San Fermín.” From there, we took a train back to Madrid and flew home together. On the entire train ride back we had a great conversation with a ER doctor and ICU nurse who gave me some very exciting ideas about international opportunities in medical school. I’m not through with Spain just yet!

Back at home in Virginia, I did a skype interview with the Irish torero, David White, who tells a compelling and exciting story. He began bullfighting a few years back as an aficionado práctico, and has since taken his passion to new levels, debuting successfully in Spain and continuing on to perform in a suit of lights – the traditional, decorative wear of a matador. Along with other English speaking aficionados around the world, I watch anxiously as he develops and continues to impress.

I’m now compiling my summer journal entries, as well as my interviews, to begin drafting an article capturing some of the special moments of my summer and addressing the lives and struggles of the young matadors with whom I so thoroughly enjoyed spending my time. Themes I have articulated elsewhere will be emerging and taking shape in subsequent posts. More details to come.