Hayden Sawh ’22 reflects on lessons learned from her encounter with a local artisan and the mayor of Medina de Rioseco.
After the short drive from Simancas, where our accommodations are located, I was immediately thrown into my happy place when I saw various pastries in the bakery we visited. Antonio, the person who owns it, was kind enough to allow us to taste fresh handmade cookies. My favorite was the one that was dipped in chocolate imported directly from Africa. To emphasize how good the chocolate itself was, Kelly stated, “I just want to pour that chocolate in my pocket!”
Moving along, we met the most hilarious and kind hearted man who goes by the name of Ángel. He is a wood carver that predominantly focuses on religious figures that he creates for himself or that have been commissioned. We were able to try out our own wood carving skills by creating our own crests that were replicas of the family crest of Teresa of Avila. The process was difficult, but with patience we were able to chip through the wood (note: the wood we used was actually harvested from Oregon!).
Ángel explained that if he gave us a harder piece of wood it would have taken us a week to create the same exact crest. It’s interesting how some things seem so simple but are more complicated than we think. Ángel then proceeded to show us his own artwork, such as the one of Jesus, after his death, and a replica of Michelangelo’s David, for which he was criticized initially because the piece was not an original. However, after slicing it in half (vertically), he joked how everyone said it was now original, and allowed him to be recognized with multiple awards. Such is the life of an artist!
Just after noon, we ate lunch at Casa Manolo with the mayor of Medina de Rioseco, David Esteban, and talked to him about his passion to work on behalf of his people. We were able to visit the church of Santa María de Mediavilla where we were able have a discussion about the religious sculptures and iconography. We even had the rare chance of watching an antique pipe organ performance in the church.
To summarize our day, we all learned from Antonio, Ángel, and David to be passionate, to be patient, and to ensure that whatever it is that we choose to do, we do something that we genuinely love.