Monday, September 15, 2008

Deeply Shallow!

“I resent that! I am deeply shallow…”
-Fiyero from Wicked
Fridays: We’re always grateful for them. But they’re usually pretty interesting days. Take mine for example. I got up, took a shower, ate breakfast, and played with Gabriel until he went to his grandmother’s house. Then I did some homework. Carol and Gabi got home. Gabi and I looked at some stuff on my computer. Then he played on my bed for a while. After that we had lunch. And then we played some more until he left with his mom (and the rest of his family) to go see Angel’s parents for the weekend. After more homework, I went out looking for a Catholic church that is supposedly nearby and never found it. Then I went to Zubiarte, Bilbao’s big shopping mall with a friend. After that we watched Shrek 2 in Spanish; the only cast member who is the same is Antonio Banderas, a national hero or something over here. After that, we went to Telepizza for dinner and then headed to a nearby bar/club/thing for this concert that a bunch of people from CIDE were going to be at. (Somewhere in there, I also finally figured out how to call the U.S. on my cell phone and called my mother. Unfortunately, that call was cut short by being dragged into this bar thing.)
And this is why I started out quoting Fiyero. Like Fiyero, I can do that whole bar/club scene if necessary. I’m not crazy about the music but I can dance to it, if you insist. And I like people, so that aspect is kind of fun. But I’m not a fan of the way people drink when they’re in an environment like that or what that alcohol makes them do. I also don’t like the way people dance in those environments. I’m not trying to be judgmental here; I’m just saying what I like and don’t like. If you know that drinking six beers is going to make you drunk and make you do stupid things, then why do it? I like the taste of certain alcoholic beverages but I’m also a big fan of moderation. I also hate coming home reeking of cigarette smoke to the point where everything I was wearing NEEDS to be washed and getting near the scarf I was wearing makes me want to vomit and gives me a headache. (It needs to be washed by hand but I did wash it..)
Fiyero, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the story of the musical version of Wicked, parties because it’s what everyone else does. But he is actually ridiculously intelligent and deeply concerned about the world around him. Unfortunately, he has no real intellectual equals, so he “dances through life” on his royal title and fame and his popularity. And then he meets Elphaba who is deeply passionate about life and very intelligent. With her, he is able to be the real Fiyero. I’m not going to change who I am or pretend to be “deeply shallow” just to please people. And that’s the point here.
I like being me. I like reading Jane Austen books and watching soccer and looking at churches because I think they’re beautiful. I might be a conservative Catholic prude. But I’m okay with that. I might be really modest at times, but I think that’s okay. It’s important for all involved parties. I might analyze life a little too much at times. But I like being me. I like being pretty but in a modest way. I really like being modest.

On another note, Saturday afternoon, I went for a walk around Bilbao and found this really gorgeous church that will become my home parish for the next three months. But I miss St. Michael’s in Grand Rapids and hearing the Divine Liturgy in Baby Babble. On Sunday, I got up and went to San Vicente Martir for the 11am Mass. It was, like San Jose, mostly older people but I liked it more. The church was absolutely gorgeous and they had an organ and a choir. And Mass took 35 minutes instead of 30. I really liked it. The priest seemed really awesome and they had white roses on the altar. White roses are my favorite flower, so it was kind of a sign to walk into this church and see the altar decorated with white roses for “La Fiesta de la Exaltacion de la Cruz.”
After Mass, I went home and ate lunch before going on a walk around Bilbao to take pictures of San Vicente Martir, la Plaza de la Sagrada Corazon, and a park that’s near the Plaza. There are now pictures online of that walk, by the way. It was a really nice. But I had a couple really cool moments while walking. This Spanish guy saw me taking pictures of the Plaza and stopped me to ask me where I was from and what I was doing in Bilbao. It was nice to talk to someone from Bilbao outside of school or my host family and feel comfortable doing so. And then a bit later, while I was taking pictures of fountains in the park, this family saw me and asked me to take some pictures for them using their camera. And I got to see a lot of really cute kids running around the park; kids here are really fashionable. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Back to Saturday evening, I called Greg on his cell phone. He happened to be at a UCO event so I got to talk to a couple people before my phone ran out of money. My phone has money on it and the money pays for the minutes I use. For example, it’s less expensive (18 cents per minute) to call within Spain while international are 35 cents per minute. So the phone just cut out while I was talking to Jessica R. But it was still really nice to hear a couple people’s voices. You guys in GR have no idea how happy it made me when Greg yelled “All right, who wants to talk to Cecilia?” and people just started yelling that they wanted to talk to me. I felt so loved and so blessed. And I really love and miss all of you. Like talking to my mom the night before, it did my soul so much good to hear Greg, Kyle, Noelle, and Jessica. In a place where I have little spiritual support, I need all I can get. And after this weekend, I’m feeling like I know where God is. I may not see him in many places. But I have found him in some great personal prayer times. And Mass Sunday morning was wonderful. I’m really starting to experience Christ in the Eucharist and the Mass here-even though I don’t always understand everything. But the sermon Sunday was about the Cross being the center of Christianity but also the hardest thing to accept.
Thursday night while I was praying, I came across Isaiah 50. It’s the prophecy of the Man of Suffering and is ridiculously detailed as to how He will suffer. But the last two verses really caught my eye and have become my motivation to keep going after God while I’m far from home and support. And I think it kind of works for all of us.
“Who among you fears the Lord? Let him listen to the voice of His Servant. You who walk in darkness and have no light, trust in the Name of the Lord and rely upon God. Behold, all of you kindle a fire and feed a flame. Walk in the light of your fire and the flame you kindled. This happened for My sake, and you shall lie down in a place of sorrow.”
-Isaiah 50: 10-11
It is kind of depressing but it is also beautiful. And I think, knowing this, I can make it through three months far from home and community. I emailed the community in Vitoria on Thursday and am now looking into the possibility of going to visit them at least once. And I’m also looking at the possibility of visiting Katie Joy in Gaming, Austria. Things like that should help.

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