Sunday, 28 October 2007

content moments

today i felt happy. just a sudden feeling of contentment, quite randomly, as i walked down a street in the sun in a small town outside sevilla where i'd just been to church and was on my way to the house of a friend for lunch. funny how i feel that at random times. like sitting in a car in Bolivia one evening with the windows open and warm air rushing in. that feeling of not wanting the moment to end. because it feels... "right".

i hadn't been to the church before but knew some of the people who went there. everyone was really friendly... i think i might go back. i went to lunch at the house of a friend from Costa Rica who lives with his sister and her family. Sampled some great food, like platano fritter-type things and enjoyed being in a family home, and feeling at home with them.

and...got a call from a really good friend in england and then from my sister on the way home. so a good day!

am learning sometimes less is more... have done very little this weekend in some respects - but i feel rested and like i got to really enjoy that which i did do. :o)

Friday, 26 October 2007

changes...


so the temperature in Sevilla went from an average of about 30 degrees to less than 20 overnight - causing most of the city to now be coughing and sneezing. it's done this before though and got hot again, so not sure what to expect each day. like england then! according to the paper having weather this hot this late in the year is not normal, and although obviously everyone enjoys it, climate change is the primary environmental worry of Sevillanos.
as for life in general, feeling a lot more peaceful and positive about things, more like i felt when i arrived here in Sevilla - just taking each day at a time and trying not to get tooo busy so there's flexibility to be spontaneous or just rest. last night i slept for 12 hours! which i really needed after a week of not enough sleep.
and there's been lots to be thankful for, mainly due to being able to meet up with people that i feel i haven't seen in ages, and being reminded i do have friends here!
yesterday i had lunch with the librarian of the anthropology library who wanted to practise his english. i've never heard anyone be so enthusiastic about libraries! we got talking about Semana Santa and the meaning of easter and the Catholic church. really interesting!
last night i somehow ended up at an Alpha supper/worship evening in one of the 'pueblos' (towns) outside Sevilla, with a mixture of Spanish, Americans and Germans. The theme of the evening was 'hay mas?' ('is there more?') and included a clip from chicken run (!), tapas, many conversations and some beautiful music. Hearing people play really well in worship to God just made me think about how in the Jewish temple they used to have people who's one role in life was to sing, or to play a certain instrument. they must have sounded amazing! and while i know God sees our heart rather than the offering, i definitely think there's something really powerful about it being done well. and the beauty of the music lifts people's souls to the Beautiful One.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

The FEAST

so. this weekend was the 24-7 FEAST.

a gathering of about 200 people from all over the world who are in many different ways linked to the 24-7 prayer movement. i was there because... because it was in Sevilla! and because of going on teams to Tenerife and Ibiza. and having many friends involved in 24-7. and mainly because i like it and get excited by the different expressions of following Jesus and worshipping him.

i was feeling pretty down before the weekend and actually until saturday night if anyone asked me how i was doing i would burst into tears. i don't know why i felt SO sad... but i did. and i was frustrated because i wanted to make the most of the weekend, and basically didn't want to be this miserable little girl that i felt i was being! but things did turn around, and if i'm honest it wasn't during someone's inspiring talk (altho don't get me wrong, there were many!) or while singing or praying. it was actually a combination of FOOD and FRIENDS. which isn't discounting God because He created them!

so let's start with FRIENDS.

four good "mates" (wanted to use a word other than friends...altho... i never say 'mate', and i don't think i want to start. it doesn't feel right!) that i met in Ibiza this year stayed in my little flat over the weekend. and they just LOVED me. as in showed love. and kept on loving me till it brought the real katrina out of the shell in which she'd been hiding. i felt so surprised by this, i don't know why. maybe because i haven't been around close friends for a long time. and maybe because of that lingering mindset that i need to earn it. and at the moment i don't feel i have anything to give.
there were some other friends here for the weekend to... so we all did a lot of talking (till 6 in the morning on sunday night!) and dreaming and discovering new things about each other. and i met some new friends too... not loads cuz didn't feel like i had enough energy to talk to loads of people - but less is kind of better cuz means we can keep in touch and see where it takes us. i like it when God hooks people up :o)

and FOOD...

is best enjoyed in an unhurried manner, sitting outside, accompanied by a good drink and good conversation. and this took place many a time over the weekend. but the highlight by far was saturday night, which was when i decided that it was time to stop treating my stomach delicately with chicken soup and plain rice, and that for at least that night the gates would be wide open to accept any food that came my way.

because saturday night was THE FEAST. and that's exactly how i'd describe it. a rag tag bunch of sweaty pilgrims treated like royalty in a beautiful old house in the centre of sevilla to endless amounts of tapas, beer, wine, sherry, desert as well as a flamenco band! and it was all FREE! a gift from churches in england... we all felt LAVISHED upon - i think it was the best illustration of God's generosity to us that i've ever experienced! we took communion together in the middle of the evening and danced to the flamenco band later and it felt like true worship - celebrating life together and giving all the glory to Him.

***


now everyone has left sevilla and i'm still here. but feeling a lot more positive about it... and have been reminded before anything i need to climb back into the lap of my Creator and pour everything out to Him while i listen to His heartbeat and let it overshadow my insecurities and worries and start to learn what really matters

in brief

so much to say!

and not enough time (too many long anthropology texts to read!) i want to give this weekend justice.... so it might be a day or two until i can write properly about it.

but for now i will just say it's amazing how good friends and good food can make such a big difference! this weekend i remembered what happy katrina is like, and what she loves to do. but it was about a lot more than friends and food. it was about new friends, stories, dreams, creativity, realness, misfits, and a calling us back to what's really important.

Friday, 19 October 2007

faith

is what it comes down to. again.

"the fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. it's our handle on what we can't see"
Hebrews 11:1 (the message)

it heals, saves, gives life, moves mountains

enables ordinary people to do extraordinary things

to believe in great promises, take hold of the unseen, to have hope

"It's impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists AND that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him"

Thursday, 18 October 2007

sick

at the weekend i thought i was getting better, then i got sick again. being ill is RUBBISH!!
it colours everything in negative shades. i just felt really frustrated that i was missing out on so much... missing out on the reasons that i'm in Spain - i.e. to study (missed lots of classes), to meet people (missed out on coffee with various people that I'm only just beginning to know), to learn more about God (missed going to church or any bible studies) - until i just ended up wondering what on earth i was doing here. i know now everything gets blown out of perspective when any food you try to eat is rapidly exciting at both ends and your body hurts and no one's at home. but at the time perspective seems irrelevant.

and on the positive side i guess i was frustrated because there ARE good things about being here. it would be worse if in a whole week i didn't feel i had missed out on anything. also it showed there are people that care. maybe i'm also annoyed that once again it's proved i'm not as independent and tough as i thought. truth is my stomach is easily upset and i need people. there we go i said it.

and today... i haven't had to run out of a class to throw up and my breakfast is still inside me. good signs i'm hoping.

tonight some friends who work in Ibiza (who i met when i worked with them in the summer) are coming for the 24-7 prayer conference this weekend. i can't wait to see them and i can't wait for the conference. :o) hoping for some refreshing and connecting and learning... should be good!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

i like to ride my bicycle!

i have a bici!! :o) wooooop

ok so it's a boy's mountain bike, the saddle is hard and the front wheel veers to the right slightly... but it is a bike! i got it his morning from the "gypsy market" on the other side of town. it took less time cycling back than the bus took to get there. this is the point! it cost 40 euros which is less than 30 pounds so can't really complain and at least if it gets stolen (which is quite likely!) its not the end of the world.

sevilla is really flat so makes good cycling and there's lots of cycle paths. although they sometimes take you the long way round. not sure it's a good idea cycling on the roads though with the driving as it is!

Also this week...

i got ill again with exactly the same thing i had a few weeks ago - temperature, bad stomach, headaches... not sure where it comes from. and most frustrating thing is once again it was while Will was visiting. so he still hasn't managed to see much of Sevilla at all! just sick katrina... who appreciated being looked after! I'm feeling a lot better now (now that he's gone! :o( ) . Thank God for cheap pharmacies on every corner. Oh and so you know, the Spanish word for diarhorrea (spelling?!) is very similar to the english, as i discovered when the pharmacist shouted it to me over the counter in front of everyone. i can no longer be embarrassed about such things...!

i went back to the Brazilian church last night. I like being around the people there. today, after my bicycle hunt i think i need to rest to get properly better, and also catch up on all the work i missed last week. mmm fun!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

enough.

i am not enough

not enough as a friend, as a student, as a girlfriend, as a housemate

not "english" enough, nor anything else

not "good" enough
not "christian" enough

i can't love enough

BUT

HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT

sufficient = enough


and i am asking for the faith to believe this and live by what i believe

otherwise i am not free
otherwise what is the point of the cross?
otherwise it is not LIFE

Monday, 8 October 2007

madrid

sorry i haven't written for a while, internet is quite dodgy in my flat and also last week was the first proper week of uni so everything got a bit hectic. so the main feature was actually the ruck sack! and lots of walking around and coffees and attempts at understanding mumbling andalusian professors and timetables and suchlike. i felt more like myself because suddenly i had more to do than i had time for, and had to begin prioritising... . ah. the dreaded word! i don't want every week to be like last week - i want to make time to chill, and actually have gaps in my diary so that if plans change, or if i decide i want to spend an extra hour talking to someone, it's OK! this is the plan anyways... :o)



but... onto more exciting things!



this weekend i went to Madrid, to meet up with 7 friends from my university in England who are all studying/working in different parts of Spain this year. we gathered from all corners from the country (Sevilla, Barcelona, Bilbao, Salamanca...) to... well... what did we do?



I guess it wasn't so much about doing or seeing - no one was too fussed about seeing particular 'sights' - more than that we were all so happy to be with each other; to be KNOWN; to miss out on the small talk and speak about real life. even my tense back relaxed! we did go to a cafe that had a massive selection of board games and exciting coffees; had chocolate and churros for breakfast; saw la plaza mayor, the palace and chilled in parque retiro; drank more coffee; went to the massive market at la letina and took lots of touristy photographs! but we also spent hours just chilling at Matt's lovely flat - talking and laughing and being. in fact so many hours that when we finally left to go for a meal, everywhere had stopped serving food! thank God for olives!

it was funny hearing a lot of us are in a similar position - of really missing brighton and looking forwards to going back - while feeling slightly guilty that we are not yet feeling like we are having "the best year of our lives". yet that is the reality. it is hard sometimes, and we miss friends, and we're tired of introductions and small talk, and we don't LOVE the food (!). haha. i think that pressure of loving every single thing and getting totally immersed into the culture straight away prevents us appreciating the good things. because after all none of us hate where we are; we all have somewhere to live, we all have met people that could become good friends... we can't really complain! and yeh we're all here to learn spanish and this is the best way to do it!

so.... yeh. its all good. and i was not really looking forwards to coming back to Sevilla - after having had such a good time, although its funny how it feels really familiar in comparison with Madrid after just a month. but there were more pleasant surprises in store. i was invited to a birthday celebration and ended up having a really great evening eating chinese (yessss!!) and cake and laughing and yeh - feeling like i was again with friends.

woop.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

back to the sack

today, after countless years of the shoulder bag, i returned to the classic two strapped rucksack, due to many complaints by my shoulders and back.

So, forsaking any element of style, i now look like a european school girl. which i guess i am in a way...

and it's so much better!! :o)