It’s currently 10:38 am in Spain. I’m still in my pajamas (can someone please tell me the last time I got to stay in my pjs this long on a Saturday?), brewing another cup of fresh mint tea, and listening to Louis Armstrong sing What a Wonderful World. One of the greatest blessings of Spain so far has been mornings like these of peace and quiet where I have time to be still and reflect. As I look back on these past two weeks in Spain, a lot has happened. Here’s a look at the biggest moments of the last two weeks…
El Museo de Bellas Artes
I headed back to Valencia’s fine arts museum (with my camera this time) to take a second look at my favorite pieces. The museum is organized by different periods of art history in Spain, and the walls are color-coded so that you know exactly what time period you are looking at. I enjoyed seeing many works of art depicting life in Spain and other parts of Europe as well as contemplating the ideas behind faith-inspired pieces. A few of my favorites are below.
Calavera by Joan de Joanes. The words at the bottom of the painting say”In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.”
Mother’s Love by Antonio Munoz Degrain
Alter Boys by Jose Benlliure Gil
Kidnapping in Granada by Antonio Munoz Degrain
The Good Shepherd Feeds His Lambs by Vicente Lopez Portana
Allegory of Time by Miguel March
Enrique y la Berenjena
My host dad, Enrique left to work at his job in Germany this past week and will be there for the remainder of my time here. I was so sad to see him go. Every day I enjoyed eating lunch with him and talking with him while he made dinner. My host mom and I especially love it when he makes berenjena (eggplant). The eggplant is cut in circles, dipped in beaten eggs, coated in bread crumbs, and baked. Absolutely delicious. I’ve watched Enrique make this dish three times. This week, I decided to make it for my host mom. Only my eggplant didn’t turn out quite the same as Enrique’s. My host mom and I laughed as we waited for an hour and a half for them to finish baking. When we finally took them out of the oven, the texture wasn’t right but they tasted good! My second attempt will happen sometime in the next few weeks.
Enrique was one of the greatest blessings of my time in Spain. I could not have asked for a better host dad!
These past two weeks have been filled with exploring little shops along my way to school as well as a trip to Calle de Colon with Alyssa and Helen. I also decided to track down a Spanish honey store one day after my classes to pick up a gift for my brother Chris. I successfully tracked down the honey store by myself WITH A MAP! And I didn’t get lost once! Along the way, I discovered some other shops that I look forward to exploring this week.
Homework is officially picking up, although it is significantly less than my normal workload. I turned in my first essay this week and midterms are coming up in a month. I am taking Advanced Grammar and Composition, Cervantes and Literature of the Golden Age, Survey of Spanish Literature, History of Spanish Cinema, and History of Latin America. Many people have asked me if my classes are in Spanish. The answer to that question is YES! And I am learning a significant amount of vocabulary because of it! My favorite classes are my literature classes on Tuesday and Thursday. I love my professor. She is hilarious and works very hard to help us understand the material. She also has a huge crush on Johnny Depp and cannot stand Jennifer Aniston. All of my professors are very helpful and understand their subject material inside and out. I am constantly learning, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I wonder if I will ever know everything that I’m supposed to before I begin student teaching next year. I think that all of us students have felt overwhelmed with school at one point or another during this trip. This week we’ve been encouraging each other that it is okay to not understand everything, and it is nice to know that we’re all in the same boat!
Here’s a picture of my literature classroom!
Naranjas y la Comida de mi Mama
I have the hardest time peeling oranges. If you’re friends with me on facebook, check out the video my host mom and I made the other night.
My host mom and I spend a significant amount of our time in the kitchen talking and laughing. And taking pictures of food. Here’s a peak into our breakfast this morning….which is a pretty good picture of what meals are like every day. Today we enjoyed a breakfast of mint tea, orange juice, and a chocolate cereal tart. YUM!
GBU y El Estudio de Biblia
GBU, the local Bible study of Christian college students in Valencia kicked off this week! I had the opportunity to meet many different college students from Spain and the rest of the world and look forward to spending Wednesdays with them the rest of the semester. I also attended one of my church’s Bible studies on Wednesday night. It was exciting to be able to discuss the Bible in Spanish with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from Australia, the United States, Spain, and Peru. Bible study starts around 8:30 at night and finishes around 1am. I left feeling so peaceful and happy to fellowship with such wonderful people.
Spain so far has been an incredible time of personal growth. Not only am I learning about the Spanish language, I’m also learning a lot about myself. I have discovered that I am an extrovert to the core and after one or two hours of alone time, I’m going stir crazy. I’m thankful for the blessing of an amazing host mom to eat breakfast and dinner with. I’m also thankful for the Bible studies and the other girls that I am studying with at the institute. This trip has confirmed that living somewhere in an apartment alone after college is not a viable option.
I’ve also learned the importance of being rooted in the present moment. Worrying about the future and dwelling on the past never gets me anywhere.
I’ve learned that in a different country even the way you relate to God can feel different. Thank you, Ashley Moore for reminding me that even though everything around me feels different and is constantly changing He always stays the same.
I’ve learned that I have some really incredible friends in the States who I am so blessed to do life with.
I’ve also learned how incredibly thankful I am for parents who taught me to appreciate other cultures, get out of my comfort zone and provided me with a foundation that has helped me in so many ways on this trip.
I’ve learned that there are really hard days where you are tired, lonely, and homesick but the next day can only get better!
I’ve learned that there is so much capacity in the human heart to love. My heart is already deeply connected to Spain and the people that I am meeting here.
Much Love from Spain,