Every accommodation we have stayed in in Spain has been an apartment in a city, until now. Last spring, when I was booking apartments, I was looking for something near the Costa del Sol, but not on it. I didn’t want to stay in a high-rise condo with a bunch of ex-pats. I’m always surprised that so many ex-pats, people who choose to live in a foreign country, make such an effort to re-create their own country within their adopted home. If they want to eat foods and shop for groceries from home, why don’t they just stay home? To shy away from the foreignness of a culture defeats the purpose of living there, in my opinion.
So I was searching for something a bit inland from the coast when Casa Emilio popped up on Airbnb. (You have to love a cottage with a name!) I took one look at the photos of the tiled terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from a hillside of the Sierra Bermeja mountains and I was smitten. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since.
Casa Emilio is a guest house on Finca Mosca, property owned by a wonderful couple from Belgium who moved to Spain part-time sixteen years ago. They are now full-time. Her nickname is Mouche, which means “fly” in French, so they named their property Finca Mosca; mosca means “fly” in Spanish.
When I was taking Spanish in school many years ago, my teacher, La Señora Jones, loved to play jokes on us. We had been practicing a dialog about ordering food in a restaurant for what seemed like months – until we knew it forwards and backwards. One of the objectives of the dialog was to teach the verb gustarse, a very important verb in Spanish. They have no verb meaning “to like;” they use gustarse, which translates literally to “to be pleased.” So instead of saying “I would like the chicken with rice,” one would say “The chicken and rice would please me.” It’s a difficult concept for beginning Spanish students, so Señora Jones drilled us.
Sra. Jones: ¿Te gustan albóndigas? Literally: Do meatballs please you? In other words, Do you like meatballs?
Student: ¡Si, me gustan albóndigas! Literally: Yes, meatballs please me!; or Yes, I like meatballs!
Sra. Jones: ¿Te gustan papas fritas? Do you like fried potatoes?
Student: ¡Si, me gustan papas fritas! Yes, I like fried potatoes!
Sra. Jones: ¿Te gustan moscas fritas? Do you like fried ???
Student, thinking frantically: [This word moscas was not in the dialog. What the hell is a mosca? Well, I like everything fried.] ¡Si, me gustan moscas fritas! Yes, I like fried [whatever]!
Sra. Jones: ¿¿¿Te gustan moscas fritas??? ¡Jajajaja! You like fried flies??? Hahahaha!
Ha, ha, indeed! My first introduction to the Spanish word mosca and I haven’t forgotten it 45 years later, when most of the useful vocabulary I learned has gone out the window. La Señora Jones was a wonderful teacher; we loved her class.
So here we are at the incredible Finca Mosca. Besides the fabulous view, there is an abundance of flora and fauna: fig trees (Mouche gave us fig jam!); lemons the size of softballs; orange, grapefruit, and persimmon (caqui) trees; olive, chestnut, and avocado trees; cork oaks; goats; chickens; horses; dogs; cats (Mouche and Christian have fourteen!); wild pigs; snakes; snails; slugs; and an assortment of insects that don’t deserve mention – and yes, moscas too!