The song “Malaga” by Fred Bongusto has been buzzing in my head since this morning and this is exactly where I am (in the city, not in the song), in Plaza de las Flores, where I am waiting for Jakub, the Polish boy who is doing an internship at Tribeka, the training agency that is part of the ETN group.
He arrives on time and whistling a song (Bongusto
too?), holding La Opinion de Malaga – the city daily newspaper – in his hands.
One of his goals for the internship, he tells me after we shake hands, is to improve Spanish and reading local magazines, watching movies in Spanish and talking to local people is helping him a lot.
I ask him about his internship in Tribeka, his tasks and how he feels about it.
“I mainly deal with the company’s documentation; I also manage the social pages – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – and I write and publish articles and photos”.
He adds that his favorite social network is Instagram because it’s fast and easier to follow the stories of famous people and stay up to date.
Thanks to the internship, he has turned into a less insecure guy, he has learned to work in a group and has improved many other skills. “Competencias”, he tells me, proud of this Spanish word.
I ask him about the Spanish host family and if he
misses his one in Poland.
He smiles and tells me that he will stay in Malaga “only two weeks, a very short period to miss anything. And I despise nostalgia all the way”, he adds.
On the contrary, he will miss the host family because “when you live in another place, even if for a short time, shyness and insecurities are a faded garment. Moreover you can pretend to be what you want and learn to hide reactions and moods”.
“Even if in the evenings, to complicate your sleep, your true self makes fun of you by telling you who you really are” I add, thus showing my age or at least my convictions.
He tells me about how he spent his last weekend, the football match on the beach – despite we are still in April – and his visits to the Picasso museum, in San Agustin street. Jacqueline con sombrero de paja, a portrait of the Maestro’s last wife, is the painting he liked the most.
And then the city (la ciudad) and people’s accent, its corners and its different stories; and the waterfront, the paseo del Parque and its tree-lined benches, the Manquita and the alleys, the squares, the museums. And he goes on with the list, and he looks like a poet in love and drunk with emotion.
And I understand that his heart, along with that of millions of other people, will remain in Malaga today and forever.