Picture the scene… me: embarrassed and awkward as always, frantically jumping trouser-less around my hall, trying my best to pull a flamenco skirt borrowed from a teacher over my thighs and hips (think I’ve inherited my Granny’s jeans genes there – the love for cake is strong in my family!). The teacher in question is there too trying to help, and we’re both laughing hysterically at the ridiculousness of it all. A few minutes and a lot of stretching later, and I’m zipped in to the skirt. Barely able to walk, sit down, or breathe, but finally in the skirt. The skirt I’ll be wearing to the Feria de Abril in Sevilla the following day.
The Feria as it is known today has come a long way from its humble origins as an agricultural fair. First held in 1847 from the 18th – 20th of April at Prado de San Sebastián, the Feria nowadays is a week-long party held in Los Remedios, a neighbourhood on the other side of the Guadalquivir from the city centre. And, as a student of Spanish culture, I thought it would be silly not to take the opportunity to experience it this year while I’m here!
My ‘Feria experience’ kicked off earlier in the week when a few of the teachers asked what I would be doing over the weekend and I said that I was thinking of going to the Feria with a friend on Sunday, and then came the inevitable discussion as to what I was going to wear. Now, I was adamant that I was not going to dress in the traditional flamenca style; I’m not Spanish, hate super tight-fitted clothing, and actively avoid doing anything that might possibly draw attention to me. (The same friend that I went to the Feria with pointed out to me how illogical my thinking was on that last one – what better way to avoid drawing attention to yourself than dressing in exactly the same style as everyone else?!) But the teachers were quite determined that I couldn’t go to the Feria without dressing in the traditional style (and I think in a small part of my mind I secretly wanted to see whether I would suit it), so the mission objective was set: find Lauren a suitable outfit for the Feria.
It was decided that one of the teachers would bring one of her old flamenco dresses to school on Friday because we’re about the same size and that, because I work in my other school on Friday, I would later go to a different teacher’s house to pick up said dress. As it worked out, the first teacher forgot to bring in the dress, so it was thought I might have to face the horror of going to the Feria dressed in my normal clothes (gasp!). However, another teacher pulled through and saved the day by mentioning that she had a spare flamenco skirt with accessories and I could borrow both for the weekend, and the teacher whose house I was meant to go to the first time would lend me a top. Day saved and no longer outfit-less, the mission became getting the various components of the outfit together and hoping that they a) went well together, and b) actually fit me.
My Saturday began as usual: I went for a run, started planning my lessons for the following week, and tried to write a bit more of a play I’m working on (that’s a story for a completely different blog post….). So just imagine the collective dismay that set it when the teacher took the skirt out of the drawer it lived in and she realised it was stained!! *insert horror movie style shrieking here*We went back to panic mode: would the stain come out of the skirt? Could I possibly go to the Feria in normal clothes? If so, which ones?
Thankfully, the stain did come out of the skirt, and despite being a big bit tight (thanks again, Granny!), it fit okay. So now I had the outfit all ready and prepared, all I had to do was wait for my friend who was coming to stay the night, put the outfit on the next day, and go to the Feria! If you want to see what the final ensemble looked like, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until the next post because I ended up writing so much for this one I had to split it into two. Oops. But hey, I have to keep you in suspense somehow, right?!