Saturday, 29 September 2007

cadiz...




so i FINALLY got to the beach... on the one day that the temperature wasn´t over 30 degrees and it was cloudy! even still it was really good to get out of Sevilla... after 4 weeks of being in one place i get a little restless! and the sun did come out for a brief spell while we were on the sandy beach so i was happy.

Cadiz is a lot smaller than i expected, seeing as it´s pretty well-known (i think... is it?) and pretty and old...but i think i´d reccommend going when it is sunny and hot as there isn´t loads to do and the beach is really nice (altho the atlantic is quite cold!) also... a tip... if you get sangria at the beach bar it´s very strong! drink slowly... and it takes 30 min to get back to the bus station, IF YOU RUN through parts of town. which is difficult in flip flops. aaaaaand, read menus carefully or you end up with chicken salad and an omlette INSIDE a baguette... good if you´re hungry i guess!

there´s lots more i want to say from this week (it´s been kind of roller-coaster-ish) but the internet isn´t working in my house and so i have to come to an internet cafe, where i´ve already spent far too much time!!

so chau for now x


Tuesday, 25 September 2007

celebrando...

it was silly to try to summarize a life in a few words and pictures... trying to decide whether to just delete those posts. just wanted to show i'm thankful...

anyways yesterday... was hard in places - being away from people i'd really have liked to spend the day with. but thank God for phones :o) and... the evening was ok in the end. felt really nervous before and not very up for it - images of no one turning up except my tired housemates. but people did come - a random mixture of people from Spain, Costa Rica, Brazil, Germany, America, England and France that I've met in the last 3 weeks... sat by the river with 'cervezas' and sangria. and two of the american girls went on a mission to find me cake! this made me smile a lot.

Afterwards i went with 3 friends to another bar where there'd been some flamenco which we unfortunately missed... but got to meet some more nice people (more Americans, Spaniards and a German erasmus student) and practise more Spanish so it was cool. People find it funny when a couple of people who both speak english chose to speak spanish instead. but this is how we will learn! it's cool hearing people's stories, how for all different reasons people are in Sevilla at this time...


today i'm chilling and trying to work out my timetable for university starting tomorrow... something i was so nervous about before coming to Spain but kind of forgot about it during the last few weeks. and i guess there's no point worrying until i'm actually in a class and don't understand a word the professor says!! haha... we'll see how it goes...

Monday, 24 September 2007

21 years of....


(bournemouth, easter 2007)
FREEDOM... taking photos and beaches and sunshine (some of my favourite things...)




21


these feet are 21 years old today. as is the rest of me... :o)
and all i can think is how privileged i am to have had such a rich and full and life so far, with so many amazing experiences, places and people.
i don't know why... it's nothing about deserving it,but i do feel overwhelmed when i look back and think of all the memories, all the things i've seen and heard and learnt and loved. so thanks to peope who are reading this that have been a part of that.
today has been chilled so far, barely seen anyone, but that's ok, have learnt to be ok with my own company... and am enjoying the sunshine, the walking, the peace. and i got post!! woop woop! later i'll meet up with people that i've met so far during the last 3 weeks. and just heard about a reggae night thats on on wednesdayso hopefully then there'll be some dancing! i miss it so much!!

Sunday, 23 September 2007

el fin de semana

so i've just spent four hours speaking spanish and drinking coffee in a plaza on a sunny sunday afternoon... feeling quite proud of myself and a lot more knowledgeable about Costa Rica, which is where my coffee drinking companion is from!

also today i ended up helping out with my flatmates at a race (1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 10000m) in parque maria luisa, one that anyone can take part in and happens every month. the people of Sevilla like to run it would seem! was cool seeing another aspect of the city and its people, although was rather chilly at 7:30 am and felt very aware of my lack of spanish-speaking ability! But hey it's all gonna help me improve. and i got paid 30euros which i wasn't expecting. woop!

yesterday i went to a Brasilian church... why? because... Brazil is just somewhere i get excited about and have wanted to return to since i went when i was 15. also one of the reasons i'm learning spanish is that it'll be easier to learn portuguese afterwards! Anyways i had a good time, managed to understand quite a bit of the service and met some really nice people who i hope to see again. Meeting them and also through talking to my Costa Rican frien made me realise that even though i really miss people at home i'm so privileged that i can return anytime i want. They are separated from their families and don't know when they'll be able to see them again. They're here to make a better life for themselves... i'm here... because i can be. need to remember this when i feel sorry for myself!

tomorrow i turn 21... don't feel old enough to be an "adult"... in some ways. in others i feel ready for it. i don't know. it wil be hard being away from my family, but at the end of the day it is just a date on the calendar... and i did get to celebrate before i went. so it's all good, i'll enjoy whatever comes...

Saturday, 22 September 2007

flamenco!!

i saw my first ever performance of flamenco tonight...

it was part of the noche larga de los museos, when lots of the museums in sevilla were free and open from 9pm to 3am tonight. so i went with my flatmates to the one nearest us which was the museum of traditional costumes and tools (we tried to go to the flamenco museum and couldn't find it!) - which i wasn't so excited about... but yeh there ended up being flamenco right there in the courtyard of this grand building! a man playing guitar, a lady singing, another lady clapping and a lady dancing. sooo beautiful!!! it's quite sad music - like it makes you feel something somewhere deep down. it kind of fitted my mood as i'm really missing friends tonight. but also made me smile a lot too.

Thank You!! :o)

Friday, 21 September 2007

where my night walk started


La Barqueta

following a tune

last night i felt really restless... not wanting to go home yet no plans to meet up with people were falling into place either.

so i walked

along the river.

it was a very warm night (later on there was a massive storm) and i needed to do some thinking.

i've met quite a lot of people already cosidering the amount of time i've been here, and it feels like each one represents something different i could commit to, a different potential area within with to invest my time; to give something of myself to. and i know from experience i can't do everything. so was just feeling a bit overwhelmed, and after some conversations i've had and things i've read i was wondering if the answer lies in simply doing what we'd really love to do, or whether there are seasons when we need to lay down those things that get us excited and make our hearts beat a bit faster and instead learn to love something or someone new and different to what we've known before.

anyways as i was pondering this along the banks of the Guadalquivir, with joggers and cylists passing me regularly (i guess it's too hot for that earlier in the day) i heard the faint sound of music carrying over the water. it came and went a bit so at first i thought i was imagining it. it sounded kind of sad but beautiful and i had romantic images of a lone man playing his saxophone to the stars. so i decided to discover the source - after all i didn't have anything to rush home for, and any excuse to explore more of Sevilla is a good enough excuse for me! so my search eventually led me to start crossing the river on one of the bridges, while all sort of possiblities crossed my mind. mayb it was an open air concert, or a private showing with some notes managing to escape into the night air. as it was, as i neared the other side of the bridge, wondering if it was a good idea to be walking in an unknown part of the city at 10pm i discovered the mystery music maker. and he was none of the images i had in my head. he was probably only 15 years old, playing the trumpet, and by all appearances was walking home from band practise with his friend who had a snare drum hanging from his neck! i had to laugh to myself. i wish i had said something to them anyways, just because their music made me smile, but i was too tired to think in spanish. surrepticiously i turned around after i'd passed them and followed them back to the other side of the river and then continued on my way.

but that wasn't the end of the story! as i neared the torre del oro (tower of gold), tired-footed and wanting to be in my bed, i came upon not one trumpeter but many! i guess this was where my earlier 'friend' had been heading. it seemed they were rehearsing - about three groups of musicians playing the tunes i had heard earlier but together and in harmony and it sounded beautiful! i smiled A LOT as i sat and listened for a while.

and it made me think... maybe God is calling us to follow the tunes that play in our hearts, no matter how faint and nonsensical it seems... because often they lead to greater things...to other people with similar tunes so we can play them out in harmony.

so i want to continue listening to and following the whispers on the wind, to chase after the things that make me feel alive inside.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

more good

i wrote the last post first in a notebook in el parque alamillo (which i'd never been to before... it's beautiful!!), before i met up with one of the girls i lived with in my first week and her friends. it feels weird to now write about things that made me so happy, but i guess that's a reflection of life...


anyways... a group of young people and students, many of them from the same church but not all, majority from spain but america, germany and costa rica also feautured, met in the park for a picnic, some cheesy games and general getting to know each other. i would have cringed if i'd done the same thing in england. but here.... here it was what i needed. to be with people who i don't yet really know but we all have that same thing in common. and by the end of the night when some of us had run to catch the last bus, joked about bra sizes (women are the same all over the world!) i felt like i was at home with them, i felt able to be myself...even some dancing on the pavement may have made an appearance...and i felt alive.

***

and tonight i met up with some american girls to pray, and crazily enough when i arrived they were just talking about the good things and the bad things going on in their lives at the moment. and one girl too had lost a friend this weekend and was finding it hard that she was far away. and during the meeting that followed they read psalm 13 which i was reading last night. i like it when things fit together. reminds me God Knows. feel encouraged.

goodbaddeathlife

the weekend was intense. when i tried to write about it before i couldn´t put sentences together or make it make sense.maybe because it didn´t. but then did anyone ever promise that life would? or death?

DEATH is the taste this weekend has left in my mouth. darkness hanging around the edges of a time when there was a lot of good too. maybe i´ll start with that.

GOOD was telling someone something i´d wanted to say for a long time
GOOD was dozing in the sunshine in a beautiful park
sitting on a floating bar on the river drinking icy cokes
hearing from friends
presents and laughing and dancing
GOOD was answered prayers about the housewarming party on friday night - for energy and good atmosphere and connversation.

then, there was BOTH : goodandbad : it often tends to be a mixture... i know its never clearcut!

like bad was being ill but good was having someone there to look after me
bad was missing out on beaches but good was talking and resting and learning
bad was crying and feeling small and overwhelmed; good was listening and being listened to, and praying and clinging with all my strength to the Rock.

but then there was that which only seems bad at this point in time. bad and sad and angry and dark and death...

is merciless killing in the favelas of rio de janeiro for money drugs power NOTHING

is slaughter of thousands in Uganda because of one man´s fear and insecurity.

and yes they were films that i watched but still speaking about reality.

and then a phone call halfway through one of them brought it all home. a school friend ending his life. suddenly. aged 20. leaving parents,brother, baby son, a church, friends all over the world.

life is so fragile. a fleeting moment. yet we pretend to ourselves that we are unshakeable. with our anti'wrinkle creams and fitness instructors and death kept underwraps in sanitised hospital siderooms.

if death was more of a reality to me, if mere survival was viewed as an achievement, would i live the same way i live now? would i fill my days with such trivial things? pointless worrying and purchasing and pondering and worrying some more.wasting precious minutes. because we can be no more sure than someone living in a war zone that today will not be our last on this earth. i don´t want to sound morbid. or maybe i don´t care if i do because maybe its more real than a lot of things i say and do. and i know there is more than just the here and now. i know this. but i guess this weekend that´s not how i felt. i felt alone, left to try to work out how to best spend this breath of life on a planet groaning at what it´s inhabitants are doing to it and each other.

i feel i need to fight to make this time worth something. only there seem to be so many battles. and i don´t know where or how to begin. and i´m scared that´s an excuse to do nothing at all.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

music moments

well i didn't dance at the concert...because it was a full on orchestra! man it was so beautiful. an amazing location and the square was full of people...all watching in near silence. it's funny how everyone kind of knows classical music whether they listen to it purposely or not. as in we all know how the next bit sounds. maybe thats a bit of a generalisation...

anyways it made me happy. just like other types of music outdoors does (combining two amazing things like outside and music can't be bad in my opinion!); like people whistling in the park the other day as they walked along; and a group of guys on a street corner with one playing the violin and the other a guitar; and even people playing their music really loudly out their car windows always makes me laugh.

yeh there's been quite a few moments like that since being here when u just have to smile and u feel a bit overwhelmed and wish u could share it with someone. thats what's weird about being on your own in a new place...making all these discoveries but all just for yourself. but today i get to share some cuz i have a visitor from engerland coming in a couple of hours... wooooooop!!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

missing things

today is...

the first full day in my new flat! not that i've spent much time in it - been out attempting to register at uni, which wasn't too stressful although i have to "come back tomorrow!" just hoping my form will still be there... :o)

so, mi piso...
it'a kind of nicer than i remembered and my room is quite a good size. AND it has a ROOOOOF!! and i didnt even know. that made me really happy!!! someone knows the things that make me smile...

the girls i'm living with are nice; older, and i find their spanish really hard to understand and i feel almost like we are on different planets... BUT i think i expected this and hoping little by little bridges will build and i can be a friend as well as a flatmate. just need a lot of help!

today i miss my friends. i miss the living room of my old house in brighton where guaranteed there'd be someone, or someones i loved - on the sofas, and good conversations going on. it helps to know that some of them are in spain, going through similar things, but at the same time i kinda think distance is distance once you can't connect with someone in the way you really want to.

i'm also missing hugs. i haven't had one since my dad left last wednesday :o(
they're a little bit like food to me...


but on a happier note... tonight i'm going to see a free concert right in the middle of sevilla with some people i met last week and probably their friends. maybe some dancing might even happen... (i miss that too) although got no idea what type of music it is... but i shall le u know how it 'goes down'

Sunday, 9 September 2007

rest and people and truth

Rest is good hey? i really want this year to feature more of it than my life has before now. i listened to one of Brian Heasley's podcasts the other day about rest and then yesterday suddenly felt really down even though i'd had a great couple of days...and took a while to put two and two together - as usual... until fell asleep while writing my diary!
so today i rested: read and drank coffee and ate chocolate and walked round Parque Maria Luisa (love it!) and feel a little better. think a full on week just kind of hit me suddenly ... u know just a whole new country, lots of new people, new language - guess it's got to have some impact!

yeh friday and saturday were full of new faces...which was fun and exciting even if it was tiring. how incredible it is to be part of God's family ~ everyone i met was because of that... from my columbian current flatmate to girls from england and spain who'd done erasmus last year to spanish guy students to a texan missionary family, to american girls studying spanish here, to a pastor-DJ from Caliornia/Sevilla, to whole churchfull of people from Spain and South America!

because of this i also had the privilege of eating more tapas, sampling vino tinto con naranja (red wine with orangefanta!) in Alfalfa, painting the wall of a living room green, swimming, sunbathing, visiting a market and perhaps most exciting going to a youth meeting at one of the churches here where they were performing/worshipping in all styles of music from Bolivian folk to flamenco to reggaeton!

so have had lots of fun, made lots of attempts at spanish, and as i expected had my people-stereotypes challenged muchly!

so yeh just quite privileged really!! and yet after all that mainly because i was tired all i felt was like crying and quite lonely. hmm emotions... when do they ever make sense?! but i know everything will be ok.


***


and just to end with a quote i like from "Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell which i'm reading at the moment and feeling quite excited and challenged by...TRUTH ALWAYS LEADS TO MORE TRUTH, BECAUSE TRUTH IS INSIGHT INTO GOD AND GOD IS INFINITE AND GOD HAS NO BOUNDARIES OR EDGES. SO TRUTH ALWAYS HAS LAYERS AND DEPTH AND TEXTURE

Friday, 7 September 2007

"sleeping on it"

attempted to "sleep on" a decision about a certain flat that i saw yesterday...which meant i didn't sleep for ages because it was going round and round my head...

i think halfway through the night i decided i did want it, and then i overslept and worried i'd be too late to call!

but as things stand i'll be signing the contract and moving in on monday...

all the things that i was praying about that were important to me it has... 2 spanish ladies - who are fine with me having people to stay there; walking distance from uni; internet (hopefully!)... it'll be good for me to not be around english speakers as it'll be right in the deep end with language! i don't know why i still feel a bit unsure, i think it's just cuz it's quite a big deal for me to move in with people i don't know anything about... but then i didn't expect this year to be all easy! and again, He who is in me is greater than anything i'll face.

and yeh other things that i'd thought about or prayed about before i came to Spain kind of fit with the place...so that's also helped me make a decision. but more on that another time...

stereotypical?


so many of the things that people said about sevilla that i assumed were stereotypes may just be true... :o)

Thursday, 6 September 2007

beginnings

Beginnings:

of a new blog (to commemorate a new place,a new determination to blog frequently, and... mainly a desire for a blogging site that's easier for my untechnical mind to use!). so welcome! :o) i'm kinda excited...

of a new city - SEVILLA - like a blank space before me waiting to be filled...
with places to discover and friendships to form

of new opportunities - to become more independent (or maybe dependent!), to find out more about me, about Spain, about people, about the things that matter and the things that don't, and to begin to let my life be shaped more in reaction to what i learn

***

in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth

and it's so beautiful! the palm trees and the river and the blue sky and warm sun make me smile. but also the architecture is stunning...it's cool to think a lot of it was built as places of worship...reflecting the creativity of the One who made us... (like Father, like sons..) although at the same time part of me wonders if some people missed the point - spending their lives building when i believe it's our lives He wants to build. anyways...

in the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God.

and He's with me. and His word is LIFE. and LOVE - which casts out fear and breathes in FREEDOM. and this is how i begin. and end.

***

so.my new life in spain. it's the beginning of a new adventure... although don't feel very adventure-some, in fact i don't feel very much at all. and i haven't done for the last few weeks. maybe extremes of nervousness and excitement and sadness and anticipation have all balanced each other out leaving me feeling quite numb. or is it peaceful? because i know i am held in the palm of the hand that flung stars into space. and i am sheltered there. and anyways, we always seem to be telling ourselves not to rely on feelings so maybe this lack is good. athough its making me 'feel' rather disconnected, like i'm just watching all this happen from behind a screen.

But i need to 'connect' pretty soon as my first necessary task is to find somewhere to live. well not just find, because that's not so difficult, but DECIDE. it's harder than i thought it would be and i don't really know why. because no where will be perfect at the end of the day, and whatever i face i know i won't be alone.

but until then i have a sofa bed in a lovely flat with 2 really nice girls...courtesy of friend of friend of friend...love it! having 'family' all over the world is soooo good. such a privilge.

and.that.is.all.for.now. x