“What? Coming with me?” asked Maite.
“Sure!” replied Kepa. “It’s only an interview, right? We can make it a vacation. I’ve got a cousin in California, so close to Berkeley…”
“You do know how big California is, don’t you?” interrupted Maite.
“Bah!” answered Kepa. “Once we are across the ocean, it’s all close. We can rent a car, travel the coast…”
“I’ve got a distant cousin over there too,” said Maite. “We could visit both of them, I guess, my cousin and your cousin.”
Buber’s Basque Story is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!
“That’s the spirit!” said Kepa excitedly. “This is going to be a great adventure! When is your interview?”
“Well, I haven’t scheduled it yet” replied Maite. “If I got accepted, they want me to start in January. I wrap up my studies here in July, so probably sometime in August?”
“That’s perfect! I have my vacation then, so I can easily get away from work.”
Maite smiled. “Sounds like a plan. Now I’ve just got to tell my parents…” she said as her smile faded.
“Knowing your parents, they will be thrilled for you. And, again, this is just an interview and vacation. We won’t be gone for more than a few weeks. They’ve got a lot of friends around here, they will be fine.”
“You are probably right. Ok, then,” she said, “I’ll write Berkeley as soon as I get home and schedule the interview. Then we can buy tickets!”
“I’ll write my cousin, he’ll be excited to see us,” said Kepa. “He’s been over here a few times, but I’ve never been there to see him.”
“I remember him! He’d always hang out in ama and aita’s bar, just sitting at the end, watching handball on the tele and sipping on his beer. What was his name?”
“Javi. Yeah, he was a little shy and doesn’t speak Euskara or Spanish very well. When I wasn’t around, he didn’t have much to do. He always came with his aita — my osaba — and his aita was always hanging out with old friends, playing cards, telling stories from their childhood. Javi didn’t understand them so he hung out in the bar. After a few visits, though, he and I got to be better friends. He’ll be happy to hear I’m going out there.”
“Great! And I’ll write my cousin in New York. She’s pretty distant, my ama’s cousin’s daughter, and I’ve only met her once, but it would be cool to see New York and have someone local that can show us around.”
“Excellent! I can’t wait!”