“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
“Pero llega la hora, y es la hora mismo, cuando los que versa adoran al Padre lo harán de un modo verdadero, conforme al Espíritu de Dios. Pues el Padre quiere que así lo hagan los que lo adoran. Dios es Espíritu y los que los adoran deben hacerlo de un modo verdadero, conforme al Espíritu de Dios.”
-San Juan 4:23-34
This passage might give you a clue as to what my biggest struggle here in Spain is. I miss charismatic worship. I’m asleep by the time UCO is having meetings back home but I know that you guys are back home praying in charismatic community. And I miss it; I wish I could be there. So I find my own ways to pray charismatically. And you know what the best solution/helper is? In Spirit and Truth…I could do a commercial for you right now; it’s really great for inspiring personal prayer when you have no other charismatic prayer. (Could someone please get me some contact info so I can go European community hopping on weekends?) But I bet you’d rather hear about Spain.
I arrived here around 12:30pm, local time. Antonia Ezkurra, my host mom, picked me up from the airport and took me to her family’s “piso” or flat. There I met her children, Daniela and Gabriel, and their “niñera” Carol. Dani is five and Gabriel is three. And they’re crazy but wonderful kids. I spent most of that afternoon settling in or sleeping; in fact, the whole day pretty much went that way; although I did get up for dinner, which was very good.
The next morning, after showering and breakfast-which, yes, I did completely regurgitate but that’s not Antonia’s or Carol’s fault, Antonia walked Sarah (another CIDE student who lives with Antonia’s cousin, Mercedes) to la Universidad de Deusto. There we met up with more students and went through some orientation stuff. This included our introduction to Dr. Jon Franco. He put on a pair of shades and said. “I like Metallica too. You dig it?” And then he started speaking in Spanish. That afternoon, we went on a walking tour of Bilbao. It’s a really pretty city and I promise I’ll take more pictures later but it was raining that day. I also bought myself a prepaid cell phone because this apartment does not have a landline (or internet.) I also discovered that H&M is like a mile from the apartment, so we are all set for Cecilia to throw out her American clothes and come back looking more amazing than ever. (Or at least with less money and different clothes…)
A side-note: the people here are gorgeous, just simply beautiful. Mullets are a bad idea but other than that these people are gorgeous. I met Antonia’s parents the other night; they’re probably in their early seventies and they’re well-preserved and just really handsome people. And they’re super nice to me. But yeah, it’s a land of beautiful people. And I’m an American.
Wednesday night, after dinner, I played “La Vieja Senora” or Old Maid with Antonia and Daniela. Dinner, by the way, is not the main meal of the day; that would be lunch, which is around 2pm. Dinner is around 8pm. I went to my room around 9:30 or so and read and prayed before going to sleep.
So I need to explain something here. Carol is not only the nanny but also the maid. So I don’t really clean my own room or bathroom or do my own dishes or laundry. It’s kind of weird. But I’m sure I’ll get used to it…NOT; having someone else do my laundry is really, extremely awkward. She’s really nice though. Also, people here have their washing machines in their kitchen, hidden behind cupboard doors so you’d never know where it was. And instead of using a dryer, they just hang everything out to dry; as it happens the clothesline thing is right outside my window so they have to go in and out of my room to do laundry. Instead of a hamper, the family just has a “laundry drawer” next to the washing machine. I’m sure I’ll get used to it.
Thursday, we took a Spanish placement test and then went to visit the beach towns of Plentzia and Getxo. I have pictures up on Picasa; please see the link. This was also the first place that we saw the Basque desire for liberation. These towns don’t display the Spanish flag for fear of vandalism. But they were beautiful towns. In the evening, I had dinner with the family, read for a little while and then crashed. I was tired and sore from all my walking.
Friday, we had more academic orientation and then we went to the Guggenheim. It’s amazing but a lot of modern art. After buying postcards for a few people, I went home to have lunch with Daniela and Gabriel. And then I played with Daniela until her parents took her and Gabriel to a children’s festival or something nearby. Then I did some unpacking and settling in before reading for a while. The family got back around 10pm and we had dinner, which was amazing, as usual. Then I watched TV with Antonia and Angel before going to bed and sleeping for eleven hours.
This morning (Saturday) I woke up around 10:30am and showered before eating breakfast and going for a long walk around Bilbao. I found this amazing plaza that has this awesome statue of the Sacred Heart. I also found some other cool shops and things. And it was just fun to explore the city.
Do I miss home? I’m not sure. Do I miss people? Heck, yes! I realized how much I missed people when I was looking through some pictures from some event at Leslie’s old apartment last year and I found a picture (that is probably on Facebook) of Greg and Kyle K. Greg is eating something and Kyle has what is quite possibly the straightest face I’ve ever seen on anyone who wasn’t at a funeral. And I just started laughing. I didn’t cry; it’s all too funny. But then I saw another picture from that night, this one of Katelin S. and Nicole T. feeding each other. I don’t really want to come home; I really like it here. But I wish I could have brought you guys with me. I keep seeing things that I want to show you or experiencing things that I wish I could share with you.
And then I found a picture of Jim Parr and a few other people from Pancakes and Prayer. And I did start tearing up. I really miss you people. I need to stop looking at pictures of people back home. But I’m praying for you guys and I’ll be back in three and a half months, just in time for Christmas. And beware of grape with wooden mallet; I found a picture of Alex and Kyle with food and I thought that. So beware of grape with wooden mallet.