Little Town of Rota

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In a few hours, I start my journey back to the Philippines. I’ll drive to the Jerez airport – with a sprained foot, no less – and begin one of my three flights back to my home country.

And I’m happy. I should be. After all, I’ll get to be with family and friends again. The house I’ll live in will now welcome me with smiles and tons of Filipino food at every corner, a stark difference to the lovely yet empty apartment I’ve been coming home to ever since Vergs went back on patrol.

I should be happy. But at the same time, I feel a tug on my chest, which reminds me of the times I’ve thought to myself that “hey, maybe living in Rota wouldn’t be so bad after all.”

Rota’s one of the provinces of Spain, a small town located at the Southern area that serves as home to the US military. It’s no Madrid and it’s no Barcelona. But there’s a certain charm to it that I can’t quite put my finger on.

The first day of my arrival, I said that Rota reminded me of that song in Beauty and the Beast. 

Little town, it’s a quiet village. Every day like the one before. Little town full of little people waking up to say… 

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It’s precisely what Rota is.

It’s a quaint yet charming town where strangers pass by each other with a greeting of “hola”, a place where siestas are the norm, and where it’s common to see parents walk around with their dogs and kids in the wee hours of the morning. It’s where I heavily relied on Google Translate since most of the locals don’t speak English. And yet, even with the language barrier, I found that the Spaniards are one of the friendliest and most helpful people I could ever meet.

Rota is where I relearned how to drive with a stick shift, where I drank glasses of sangria and indulged in tapas practically everyday because it’s the Spanish way of life – also because I may have turned into an alcoholic; just kidding.

It’s where I got to see my husband’s ship pull in to port – an amazing feeling I can’t put into words – where I met most of his fellow sailors, got to know their wives, and found out even more about the military life – all its ups and downs, along with all the surprises it brings.

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Today was my last full day in Rota – for this year, at least; I’ll be back next year – and I found myself going back to what was familiar. I visited one of favorite spots. It’s right by the beach and shows a stretch of houses facing the waves of the sea. Dette, one of my friends, took me there on my first day, and I’ve loved it ever since.

I listened to the sound of the wind, watched the waves meet the sand, and walked along the different streets nearby. I was looking for an understanding of the feelings I had when I first arrived: wonder, excitement, and nervousness. All of which I still feel until today.

Rota, you’re truly something else. I’m grateful that Vergs got his orders here and that I was given a chance to experience you. I’ll see you in the summer, old friend. For now, hasta luego! 💋