Why am I writing a crash course about Spain? Well, if you had been paying attention, you would know that Carlos, Go Au Pair Providence‘s newest au pair, arriving later this week, hails from Spain. It might be helpful to have some knowledge of the place he grew up, the people and customs, to help make his year here in Rhode Island a little more homey.
Carlos is from Utiel, Spain, in fact, a small town near the larger city of Valencia, on the western coast of Spain.
Thank you, Wikipedia, for these nice maps, to help us understand literally where Carlos is coming from…
The map on the left shows the whole region, with Utiel in the center, while the map on the right shows the location of the region in the country of Spain. Spanish is the language spoken by most, but some do speak Valencian, the co-official language of the Valencian people. Valencia, a large coastal city in the region, is the third largest city in all of Spain. Carlos has been living and studying there for the past several months.
Let’s talk people and numbers:
Population is about 39,000 in Utiel on a vast 665 square miles, compared to over 800,000 in only 52 square miles in Valencia. The population of 16,000 in 38 square miles in Narragansett will be a big change, as will our state-wide numbers of approximately a million people in just over 1200 square miles. The population density in Narragansett, Rhode Island is over 1125 people per square mile and in Carlos’ hometown of Utiel, it is just under 60 people per square mile! But the city where he has been living and studying recently, Valencia, has 16,000 people per square mile. Rhode Island may be a nice in-between change for him!
What about food and drink?
Utiel is the Wine Country of Spain! “Wine routes” are becoming popular in the region, as the local vineyards produce both delicious and affordable wines, and the region being somewhat small compared to say, Napa Valley of California, so the stops are much closer. Day and weekend tours are gaining attraction for the region, which is also close to the Mediterranean coast.
I would love to taste some of the local fare I read about: Tortas de magras (bacon tarts) – I mean, who doesn’t love bacon, olive oil (yumm!), ajoarriero (a cod dish with oil, garlic and peppers) – sounds killer, ham, morteruelo (a type of mince pie), D.O. Utiel-Requena wines, honey, alajú, burruecos, high quality artisanal products such as oils, sausages or sweets, traditional dishes such as gazpacho or sweet migas. I hope Carlos offers to cook for a pot-luck dinner or cook-out…sounds like a great summer event plan!
Join me next month as we welcome our newest friend, Carlos, to America: bienvenida a mi amigo
To get started on your cultural child care experience in 2014, visit us at http://www.goaupair.com/Providence or contact me, Joan Lowell, your Local Area Representative for Go Au Pair, with your questions, at 401.309.1925 or firstname.lastname@example.org.