Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back Home in the Basque Country

Almost every year, for the past 22 years, JZ and I have traveled back to his family home in San Sebastian. Located in the north of Spain, on the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian is a small, elegant seaside town where his family has lived since moving back from London in the late eighties. The Zabala family is large and proud - numbering in at over 100 - there seem to be uncles, aunts, cousins and distant relatives at every corner. Our stay usually begins and ends visiting family - either on the farm or in one of the small villages that line the coast. Both of his parents grew up on farms outside of San Sebastian - so a visit to the place where the grandparents were born is required. All of the farms are still in working order - making everything from cheese to cidre to ma mia - a local yogurt. The Zabala's are also in the coffee business - roasting coffee and serving it up at all of the local cafe's and bars. Although neither Sofia or I speak Basque, we sit for hours listening to the aunts and uncles talk about the old days and laugh about how JZ ran away when he couldn't have a bag of crisps - was he 4 or 14? - no one can really remember.
Summer after summer we return, for Sofia, for Jon and maybe even for myself. Coming home to JZ's roots is a gift that we have given ourselves and now give to Sofia - so she knows where her dad is from and how to appreciate how the family has grown into the 21st century.

9 comments:

becky up the hill said...

So interesting. This past two years I've really been learning alot about the Basque migration to California. Your story is amazing.

kluless said...

How lovely that you take the time so share those "roots" with your daughter. She will grow to a better adult for it and you should be commended. And it never hurts to have some fun in the process!

Anonymous said...

That last photo reminds me of a photo I was in with my two great aunts. My mother and I travelled to see them both on the Mohawk reserve in Canada outside of Toronto. My mom, too, wanted to be sure I knew where I had come from.

And coincidentally, my father's ancestors came from the Basque country I believe in the 1800's. I know even less about that side of our family.

Jennifer S.
L.A., CA

Benice Basson said...

Hope you are having an amazing time! I've tried to send you an email, but it comes back as undeliverable... Do you have the dates for your 2011 Chateau Getaway? My friend (Elna) & I would like to attend and it will help with our planning.
Benice Basson
Centurion (South Africa)

Sylvie said...

Beautiful!!! I live next to the Basque country and I like it very much, maybe we could meed each other in one of your visits.

Sylvie

amy hanna said...

Kaari, what a beautiful tradition to share with Sofia! And what a blessing to have such a loving family!! I would have loved to have been treasure hunting with you this summer!! Hope to see you soon!! xo amy

Rafael's Mum said...

How wonderful to have such a great family and stay close to your roots! And what a beautiful country too. Fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful family, the photo of Sofia and her heritage..., priceless! OXOX, Hol

Tracie Lyn Huskamp said...

Kaari... such a beautiful story.... and what a lovely tradition to pass along to your sweet daughter.

Missing You and French General so much!