Thursday, December 19, 2013

Language, Insanity, and Wheely Bags

Hola amigos! I’m back again to tell you all of some of the things that we have done in the past week or so and to reflect on the things that the Jman has been showing me.  (I really enjoy referring to Jesus as the Jman for some reason, and all credit to this name goes to my girl Jeano.  Miss you, chica!  Tanto….)

So this week has been very good for us.  We have gotten into a bit of a routine I guess you could say….well… much as we can.  And we have just had some really neat time with people. 

We have started language classes, which is awesome!  Our classes started last Wednesday and are going until this Friday (the 20th) and go from 9-1030.  I am in a class with a very sweet Japanese girl named Lisa and our teacher’s name is Adela.  Adela is fantastic.  Basically, she has perfected the art of story-telling and is so funny.  We spend most of our class time listening to her stories about WHATEVER and EVERYTHING, and then we chime in and tell things about our own lives.  Then usually towards the end of the class time we do a little activity or exercise together to practice a verb tense or something.  I enjoy it a lot.  It’s very laid back, but I feel like I really am learning a lot since we talk a lot, which is what I need to be able to do with other people.  The other 3 girls are in a class by themselves with their teacher Ines.  It seems to be going well, from what I hear.  After Friday, Christmas vacation begins and goes until the 7th.  So our schedule is going to change a bit I believe.  But so far, so good. 

Also, as a team we have started going through Matthew.  Each week day, we read a chapter and one of us kind of leads a little discussion it.  I love it!  It is something we did as a team in Chile, and I was so pumped to do it again.  I love the different perspectives and points that come from each person as they share what really stood out to them from the chapter.  We are going to continue to do it through all of the Gospels.  I look forward to it each morning. 

Intercambios have begun!  On Wednesday nights (for the time being that is) we go to a bar (which are everywhere and is really just a small restaurant with a bar in it), and we pick something to drink.  We all really enjoy Mostos, which is just a white wine without the alcohol.  Then, with your drink, you are able to pick a tapa, which is like a snackish thing.  There are lots of options.  This week, all of us got Pinchitas (mini meet kabobs with bread and chips as sides).  Yummy.  So we pay like 2 Euros to get a drink that comes with a snack.  Why the United States hasn’t caught on to this brilliant idea is beyond me.  So anywho, we go and do this and just sit and talk with whoever shows up for the language exchange that night.  We mix English and Spanish and just learn about the people around us and help each other out with language.  It’s great, and last night’s was really great for me.  I met a very sweet woman named Paloma that was SO helpful with my Spanish.  I like her a lot and really hope we can continue to get to know each other.  She is a teacher at the University here, and all I can say is that she is definitely in the right field of work. 

Also, last Friday we went to our first youth group meeting.  It was awesome to put it plainly.  The group consists of Catholic youth and young married couples who just very evidently love Jesus.  I wish you could all come to it with us.  The worship was so heartfelt, and the people are so friendly.  We felt so welcomed.  I am very amped for the friendships that we are going to form there.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers with forming relationships and language learning. 

Just so many good things have happened this week.  Some random things that are not necessarily a part of our schedule (or are just random facts) that we got to enjoy this week were:

-          On Friday, we went to see The Hobbit in ENGLISH with some friends of ours.  So great!  (Opening weekend at a certain theatre here, movies show in their original language and then after that, they are ALL dubbed into Spanish).  We also ate some expensive, but yet DELICIOUS Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter ice cream.  WORTH IT. 

-          Saturday night we went to a production of the Messiah.  I have never been to an orchestra performance, and definitely never actually heard opera singing live before, but I must say I was very impressed.  The orchestra blew me away.  And they had choirs from all over the city come together and sing as a part of it.  It was incredible really.  I was blown away by the talent that God has granted some people and the hard work that they have put in over the years that I could enjoy.  Between the second and third parts, there was a “technical pause”, and I really had to go to the bathroom, so I went.  Turns out that after the performance has begun, you are not allowed to reenter.  That was a bit of a bummer, but I could hear the rest of it and got to take a few minutes looking over the city at night and thanking God for where He has brought me.  I am truly blessed.  And then I got to go back inside for the 10 minutes of clapping and the finale which was of course the Hallelujah chorus which was my favorite anyway :]

-          Monday night we got invited over to have merienda (tea time from like 5-8ish….sometime in there) at a couple from church’s house.  Their names are Oman and Patry and they were so sweet, and since this was our first invitation as just a team, it was an exceptionally special time.  I had apple cinnamon tea which is probably my all-time favorite kind, and they had sweets for us.  Then they asked each of us to tell them about ourselves and our testimonies, and we in turn got to hear theirs.  They are just a very cool couple who work with Campus Crusade here in Granada and have a huge heart for what the Jman is doing in the lives of young people. 

-          The lights that the city puts up for Christmas are so beautiful!  We walked around a couple of nights this week, and it was just so pretty.  That is really the only time it has actually felt like Christmas since we have been here.  Without the snow and cold, it just hasn’t really felt much like Christmastime.

-          We have also got to hang out with our landlord’s 19-year-old daughter a couple of times, and it has been really good.  She wants to learn English better, and she also helps us with Spanish.  Her name is Cristina as well, and she is so nice.  Her friendship is such a blessing, and we are all so thankful for it. 

-          Also, something random that I noticed this week was that pretty much all the kids here have rolley backpacks.  None of them actually wear the backpack…..they roll it like a suitcase.  Seriously, in the mornings it is so comical to see a mob of kids with their parents running to catch the bus with their wheely bags in tow.  I giggle to myself. 

-          Today is also the first day that it has rained since we have been here.  The sky has been SO blue pretty much every other day, but today is a sheet of white and a drizzle has been consistently falling all day. 

-          Embarrassing but slightly funny story.  So Briana and I have decided to do the workout Insanity while we are here.  We have been very serious about it, and as much as it sucks, I have been looking forward to doing it and feeling accomplished.  So Monday we started and did the fit test.  Then Tuesday was the beginning of the workouts.  If you don’t know what Insanity is, then just trust me when I say that it is insane.  I hate it and love it at the same time.  So anywho, the first workout is the Plyometric one, and it is TERRIBLE.  My least favorite.  It involves a ton of jumping and dumb stuff like that.  But we are doing it, and I am very determined to just crush this exercise.  We were sweating up a storm and yelling at Shawn T (the sort of host of the video) and it was great.  Suddenly, our doorbell rang, and immediately Briana said, “Oh boy.  I bet we are being too loud.” And all of the sudden, my heart dropped.  I hadn’t thought about it that we are on the 3rd floor and how obnoxious we must be to the people below us.  Sure enough, it was our downstairs neighbor asking us to stop making so much noise.  He was very nice about it, but it was obvious that he was annoyed.  OOPS.  I am going to apologize to him again, and then see if there isn’t a time when they are both at work and we can do the workouts.  Sometimes I just can’t believe how idiotic I can be though.  lol

So yeah.  Just some random information for you all.  Looking ahead, we plan to make cookies for some of our friends here on Saturday with Mrs. J.  Monday the 23rd we are going to go caroling with our British friend Tonia who is in charge of the intercambio we go to on Wednesday night.  Christmas Eve will be our team Christmas day doing fun festive things.  And then Christmas is going to be spent with Mr. P and Mrs. J for a nice dinner.  I am very excited. 

One thing that the Father has been showing me just in the short time that we have been here is that this time in Spain is not for ME.  It’s not about me experiencing all sorts of things and having a great time here.  What this is about is Love.  Love came.  Love died.  Love rose.  And Love is coming back again.  And right now, Love needs to be spread to the people on this earth.  I am a tool that can make that happen.  I need to just stay connected to that Love, receive It, let It permeate throughout everything in me, and then erupt It from myself onto others.  It’s not about me being comfortable; it’s about me putting myself out there in relationships with people here, learning patience, seeking His leading, and pr-ying for Love to enter into each person’s life.  That is my mission.  That is why I am here.  And that is why you are here too.  Be Love. 

Now, I didn’t say all that to act like it is going to be easy.  Yes, it’s simple, but it is a very hard thing to actually do.  He is growing it in me slowly, but I have barely passed the starting line. 

Also, I am reading through the whole Bible while we are here, and it has been SO interesting to read through Genesis and some of Exodus in just a couple of days.  Before, when I have read through these books, it has taken me a lot longer than just 3 days, and I feel like I did not pick up on as much that went on back in those days.  It’s really neat because Latte and Nicky are doing the same thing basically, and while we are reading, we all share what interesting or weird things went on back in the day.  Our God is so creative.  Just think about a plague of flies for a minute.  What is there was a million flies swarming around you right now.  It would be torture!  Up your nose… your ears.  Gross.  It just hit me how horrible all those plagues would be.  How did God even come up with that?  He is just so huge.  Blows me away. 

I’m very sorry.  This is getting very long, and I feel like I still have so much more that I want to write.  Blogging is a way to help me process stuff, if you haven’t been able to tell.  It’s also a way for me to look back and remember the good, hard, and funny things that have happened here.  So bear with me as this is very jumbled and rambley.  I will continue with more stuff next week, and hopefully I will have less explanations of things that we are doing and be able to focus more on what God has been laying on my heart.  Until then, prayers for relationships with newfound friends here would be great.  And just a continued heart of servanthood and love.  Thank you all so much for your support.  Have a great Christmas and remember to thank Him for all the blessings in your life! Hasta luego!

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