Thursday, November 27, 2008

Friends from Vasco

Last night I was invited over to the neighbors, where another exchange student from NY is staying, for a BBQ. The family also invited a boy and a girl from the country of Vasco (Spain), who are here in Chile for six months learning more about the forestry companies in Los Angeles. They´re a bit older than Emily and I, 20 and 21, but we got along great. I knew roughly about the regions in northern Spain, but it was pretty amazing to actually meet someone from the area and talk about their culture- which is very distinct from the other parts of Spain. I am so accustomed to Chilean Spanish that hearing a European speak with a slisp and in the vosotros form was just strange. Having visited Salamanca and Madrid, I´m aware of the dialectical differences, but they caught me by surprise. You wouldn´t know it, but there first language is not Spanish, but Vasco, Basque, or Euskaldunak- however you´d like to say it. Ironically enough my neighbor and Sebastian share the same lastname Uribe- which is a traditional name from Vasco. So that would mean that the name Uribe was carried from Spain, or rather Vasco, to Chile probably some time in the 16th century. The more we talked the more interested I became in Vasco. The Basques live in a very differnt world than regular Spain. Its home of the terrorist group ETA, who were initially blamed for the 2004 traing bombings in Madrid. These kids have no ties with ETA, however, they make it clear that they want to be independent from Spain and consider themselves their own country. Simply living in Vasco, they are automatically asociated with ETA radicals and are often picked out from crowds when traveling to be searched and interrogated. It was really interesting to talk with them and moreoever Sebastian is an avid rock climber and mountaineer- so we had a lot in common. They´re here until march and we´ve got plans to get together again.

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