Home in Granada

Posted By: Nyasha Sarju
Posted On: January 17th, 2017
Attending: Ulster University

They say home is wherever the people who love you are when you are together. Home is an interesting concept. It signifies a place but it is often more marked by who occupies that place than what the place actually is. Today if I am hanging out in Belfast city and I am about to catch the train back to Jordanstown, I would likely tell those I am with that I am about to head “home”. Five years ago, when my brother Ziah studied in Granada he likely referred to returning back to his Colegio at any given time as going “home” as well. But when someone asked me what I was doing over break and if I was going home my answer was invariably no. Yet for some reason being with my family felt like being home. So this flexible definition of home allowed me to both experience home while being about as far from home as I had ever been. 

I had the great fortune of spending two weeks for Christmas with my family in Granada, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal. We began our trip in Granada, a town whose significance rose from the fact it played home to my brother for half a year when he was in college. As English speaking travelers we were very thankful to have my brother, Ziah, a fluent Spanish speaker to guide us through our time in Spain. I loved Granada. I loved Granada for the Tapas tradition – which meant purchasing 2 or 3 euro drinks which came with complementary Tapas, which are small plates of delicious food. So on any give evening you could purchase 3 drinks and have 3 small meals all for 9 euro. Talk about cheap! I loved Granada for the Alhambra, a magnificent palace and fortress that was created by the Moors during their reign in Andalusia in the 13th century. The Alhambra alone is reason to visit Granada and remains as a historical artifact of Muslim influence on Spain. I loved Granada for the pedestrian streets where cars sometimes drove but foot traffic had the right of way. I loved Granada because I was able to watch as memories returned to the face of my brother and with them came joy as if the experiences triggered by place and space memory were being had all over again.

But what I loved most about Granada was the experience of being with my family – all five of us, talking and walking, playing card games in our Airbnb, taking in the sites, learning the history, eating the food, drinking the wine – together. For my Brother returning to Granada had the feel of returning to an old home and for us as a family now if any one returns we will be triggered of memories and experiences as if we too were returning to some sort of a home. 

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