VAMOS ESPANA!

Wow. It has been awhile since I have blogged and I don’t even know where to begin. We are coming to the end now and this is our last week here in Granada, followed by a week in Madrid. I look back now and see that this place has, in many ways, become a home.  In some ways I am ready to go home and be with my family and friends. But in other ways I know that this place and these people have a big part of my heart. This place has changed me and I wonder how the separation with come to exist.

July 4th PARTY!!

                It was hard being away for the fourth of July. I really missed being with my family and seeing fireworks. But we actually got together with the Jovenes’ and people from church and had our own 4th of July party. It was a really beautiful night for me because here I was with people who were celebrating with me. It is like they knew this was an important day for us and they wanted to make it as fun as possible. I really appreciated their fun spirits and interest. We actually were able to have cheeseburgers, good old’ country music, and played some corn-hole. IT was a great night ended with the “Cha-Cha slide” and even “Cotton-Eye JOE”! Ha-ha. It was really great showing my friends here and sharing things with them that me and my friends would have done in that states.

Gara and I at 4th of July party

TEaching some corn-hole

Cultural Interviews

                We went out into the local city 2 weeks ago and spent a day walking around with a video-camera capturing cultural interviews. It was very fun for me capturing the city and interviewing people with a video camera. We asked them questions about their views on religion, culture, and social circumstances. People were much more open to us when we had the video-camera….how interesting…haha. If you are interested in the information we gathered just shoot me an email or message.

I hate saying Goodbye.

                This week has been hard because we have had to say goodbye to two really good friends. Our friends Gara and Houdah went back home for the summer. One to the Canary Islands and one to Morocco. We really had some great times with those two girls and I consider them really great friends. My trip would not have been the same and is not the same without them here. They will forever be in my hearts and I wish to remain in some contact with them. They both are Spanish speakers with little English so it has been life-changing to build relationships with two people who are dependent completely on Spanish. When it came time to say good-bye I struggled to express how much they really meant to me and vice-versa. But I think they know, and I know that I know how much being with them, learning from them, laughing with them, and experiencing life with them will change me forever.

Vos Quiero por siempre! Te veo después.

  Some of our friends threw us a going away party. It was really touching to see them go through all the effort to have a surprise party for us and express how much we have meant to them. It was such a sweet gesture and made me fall in love with them even more. I am so happy that my Spanish has improved and I have reached a level of comfort where I feel like I am really becoming a part of this people and this place. I almost feel like I belong here!!…and I do….for this season…but who knows…

SPEECH! 🙂

Zoraya, Me, Gara, Vera, Margarita

Cake Gara made for us

English Camp

                Last week we also held an English camp for kids here in Spain. Every day last week for a few hours playing English games with the kids and teaching them nouns and verbs. It was fun being with the kids. They are really smart and most of the picked up the English pretty quickly. We also taught them the “Cha-Cha slide” dance since it has the line instructions in English and they loved it!! Ha-ha. It was a great week and the kids loved all the games,movies, and crafts.

Tea/The Sultan

                Last Wednesday David Moore came to visit for the day. It was good to see him for the first time since Madrid. We went to the Mirador with him at night. IT was really beautiful. The Alhambra seemed to jump out as the lights shined against it in the darkness. WE also went to a restaurant called The Sultan and they have classic Moroccan tea and food. It was so good and quite a cultural experience.

Leslie’s plate

My plate. Cous-cous con pollo

 I’m really into Tea now. We have checked out a few different Tea places. It is quite refreshing and relaxing. I like trying the different flavors and spending time with friends over a pot a tea. (Sounds so different!!) Ha-ha. Anyone know of some good natural tea places in Virginia or Florida??

 

me and Juan having tea

Tea: Suenos Alambra, Pakistan, Mango

Arabian Baths

                Yesterday (Sunday July 11th) Me, Leslie, and our friend Mauri went to the Arabian baths here in Granada. It was so relaxing! There is a cold room with a cold water pool/bath, there was a hot room with a hot bath, and there was also a steam room and luke-warm pool. So we spent 2 hours drinking tea, receiving a 15 minute massage and going from the different rooms. It was so relaxing. Words can’t describe how refreshing and relaxing it was. An Arabian Spa day! Inspired by the Moorish Kings and Queens of Spain…ahh

link to Arabian Baths: http://www.granada.hammamspain.com/index.php?nSeccion=1

SPAIN WINS!

                And last night…after church…we watched Spain play Holland in the final for the world cup. Both Spain and Holland have never won a world cup before and both teams played really hard. They went into overtime and in overtime we scored!!

All of us excited after the win!

SPAIN WON THE WORLD CUP WHILE WE WERE HERE! How awesome is that! The streets and people were going crazy all night. Hah. I have never seen so many people freaking out, screaming, dancing, it was great. There is also a Canal/ River in the middle of the city and people were jumping off the Bridge into the Rio de Genil.

A POR ELLOS!!! OOOOOYYYEEEE 🙂

It was a fun night and we were all excited that Spain won and we got to celebrate with the people.  “YO soy español, español, español! Yo soy español, español, español!” Words can’t describe. IT was a great day/ night/ early morning…ha-ha

Almuñécar

                Tomorrow we are leaving to go to Almuñécar, Spain and do some street ministry with The Jóvenes’ from the church. I really hope things go well and that we make more great memories.

I can’t believe I only have 2 weeks left in Spain. I’m not ready to go.

Seeking my God and being blessed by my God,

K

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In MY Place

So here I stare at this page wondering where to even begin… to describe these last few days and the way I have begun to make my mark on this place as it deepens its mark on me. Again I breathe joy, love, loss, gain, hope, and continue to experience 2 months that will change my life forever.

TAPAS INTERNACIONALES

                So Raíces had one of its first big events that we planned since we have been here.  Leslie, Josh, Juan, and I put together Tapas Internacionales. A night filled with people, food, and music from all over the world. We had everyone make a special plate of food from their home country/ culture. We had so much fun, so many different types of people all together experiencing new cultures and coming together to enjoy life. It was a wonderful time and a success if I do say so myself. It gave me an even clearer vision of what Raíces is all about and what it can strive to be.

FIESTA DE AGUA

Last week our friend Luna took us up to Lanjurron  in the Alpujarras for the annual Fiesta De Agua. It was literally a town-wide water fight. Hundreds of people filling the main street with buckets, water guns, and anything they could use to drench their neighbor. It was so much fun running through the street being soaked by the people with hoses. It was such a cultural experience. I was soaked literally in less than 5 minutes and just loved marching through the street dancing, laughing, and being amazed by these people. It was so much fun, one of my favorite experiences/ memories so far in Spain.

AGUADULCE/ RETREAT

This past Friday (6/25/10) we left to go on a retreat with The Jovenes of the churches in the Granada/Almeria region. Going into it I was super nervous about my Spanish and not being able communicates with the young people and the leaders. But honestly, My God is so faithful! It was such an amazing weekend. I made so many new relationships and deepened my connection with a lot of the people in the church. After this weekend I really feel like a part of the church family, not just some American who is visiting for the summer. AND my Spanish improved so much, it was really beneficial to be isolated to the language and all the young people were so good about teaching us new saying and words. I had a blast. It was literally an answer to prayer in every sense. And now it’s going to be even harder to leave this place and these people than if was going to be before.

Aguadulce was beautiful. We camped in tents at a site about a 5ish minute walk away from the beach. A few of us actually woke up early one morning and went and watched the sun rise over at the beach. It was beautiful to see the sun pop up over the mountains and shine against the clean rested water.

God is so good to me. Who am I to deserve these experiences, to know these people, and to feel and see his love and existence in a whole new life?

I love Spain….absolutely and completely.

**AND! Keeping up with Spain in the world cup hasbeen a blast. I really like number 3!  I need to get a Jersey 😉 especially now that we are in the QUARTER FINALS!! How amazing would it be if Spain won? My bet is that the Final will come down to Brazil and Spain. But we will see, we still have a long ways to go.

Love and Prayers for my family and friends all around the world.

watching the sunrise

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la semana de fin.

The days begin to blur together now as they fly by. On this Thursday we will have been in Spain for 3 weeks now. I can’t believe it. And on the 19th it will have been a month since this beautiful moment in my life began. These last couple of days have been filled with beauty, moments of frustration, laughter, love, and tears.

Sunday me, Leslie, Juan, Josh, and Claudia went to the Alhambra/ Nasrid Palace. It is an ancient Moorish Palace/Fort held by the Muslims before Granada was taken over by Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. (Actually the last Moorish fort to be taken over in all of Spain.) The textiles, rooms, and gardens were filled with so much beauty. My heart soared as I walked through this place so old, so used, yet so beautiful. Much of me wonders what all that those walls have seen….probably more than I can even imagine. But it was wonderful, I plan on spending more time in the luscious gardens while I am here.

At the top of the Watch Tower it was really an amazing view and you could practically see all of Andalucía. So Beautiful.

Monday was a difficult day for me. It was my mom’s birthday and it was really hard for me not being with her/not being able to talk to her on her birthday. (I love you momma)

 But I was surrounded by people who love me and celebrated her life with me, lifting me up as much as possible. It was the roughest day  yet but the love of God, the love of these people, and the worth of this whole experience helped me get through it.

the girls

Monday night we were able to have a movie night over at our place. (our first house party!!) haha. It was great to have Gara, Daniela, and Claudia over (we missed you Inna!) we spent hours laughing, eating, smiling, dancing, singing, and growing in love for one another. It was a really powerful moment for me and it brought me joy to see that we have made such good friends here already these past few weeks. We watched the End of The Spear with Spanish subtitles. I’d say the I comprehended about 80% of the movie with the Spanish subtitles. My Spanish is definitely getting better just have to practice, practice, practice. I love the evenings that are filled with the echoes of Spanish and laughter.

amigas. ❤

Busy week ahead. But an amazing week non-the-less.

Bendigas,

Kelly

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CEREZAS!!!

havent been able to blog in ahwile. been busier than a bee over here.

all is well, having fun, growing in love, and watching things bloom around me.

starting to know my way around Granda pretty well now. I guess my sense of direction decided to finally kick in now that I am 20, ha

going to the Alambra 2maro. will blog/ post pictures asap!

bendigas!

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Alpujarras

Today. Was. A. Wonderful. Day.

We went to Alpujarras today with Inna, Claudia, and Gara (3 college students we meet our first day in Granada).  Alpujarras  is the highest recognized civilization in all of Spain. We a took a bus for 2 and a half hours up the Sierra Nevada mountains and before I knew it I was walking through this little deserted town with 6 other college students. Exploring the world and enjoying life. Alpujarras pretty much consisted of 10 houses,(okay…maybe 20 houses??) a few hostels, and  4 restaurants. These little white-houses stacked on top of each other, their beauty coming from the powerful mountains in which they sit.

We arrived there and we went on a short hike in the mountains. The whole time I was literally WOW. I have never seen such beauty, serenity, and strength all in one moment. I would look to my left and see nothing but mountains, I would look to my right and see nothing but mountains. I was completely surrounded by nature in that moment, let alone completely surrounded by the SIERRA NEVADA MTNS!!!!!! Ha. My camera was not capable of capturing the beauty of what I felt, saw, and got to experience.

The Alpujarras

Inna and I with some wild cervezas (cherries) we picked

Leslie, Inna, Claudia, Gara, And I enfront of the alpujarras the S.V. Mtns. ❤

The day also consisted of a great meal, wild cherries (we got pretty adventurous and actually found a wild cherry tree and the cherries tasted so good!)But also some really encouraging conversations about God and what it means to know him, live for him, and be his child in this world that can be so hard sometimes. I am so thankful for my team (Josh, Leslie, and Juan) and I am also thankful for the wonderful people that God has placed in my life up to this point.

Today was filled with love. What cannot be beautiful about a day like that.

Special Thanks to Inna, Claudia, and Gara! You are wonderful and I am blessed to have spent time with/ know you.

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Todo en los manos de Dios prospera

thanks you for you faithfulness to me. you never fail me even when I fail you. how can my life have turned out so well after all the wrong choices i have made. It is all because of your mercy and grace. Thank you. May I surrender before you and stay there! You deserve all my love, all my attention, all my efforts and more. ❤

el mirador de san C (15 minute minute walk from our apartment.)

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The first of June

been in Granada for 5 days now. the streets are starting to come more familiar, the faces, the words. My mind flashes forward to the end of the next 8 weeks and I hope for what I will know, who I will know, and whatthis  place will mean to me.

took a spanish placement exam today. considering the last time I took a formal class in spanish was my junior year in highschool my verb conjugations were not so good. lol. i’m sure whoever grades it will get a good laugh or two. especially on the essay in which i confused the word hombre (man) for hambre (hunger). haha. my essay therefore consisted of something along the lines of “tengo hombre. todos personas tienen hombre. cuando tengo hombre comer comida.” etc etc. what i THOUGHT i was saying was. “i am hungry. everyone gets hungry sometimes. When i am hungry i eat food. but what i REALLY said was “i have a man. everyone has a man sometimes. when i have a man i eat food.” bahahaha. funny right? oh man.

well classes start 2maro. at 9 a.m. oh joy. i am excited to improve on my language skills. it will help me communicate better with people and in life here.

today i was walking back to the hostel and as i was walking up the cobble road a group of little boys were there playing soccer in the streets with a rotten apple. it was a cool moment for me to see these little boys so consumed, the street their field, the apple their ball, and the white-washed walls of the buildings around them as their arena.

it ws just one of those moments where i stopped and remembered. wow. i really am here right now, experiencing all of this. these word come from my journal  …little boys playing soccer in the streets with a rotten apple, side-walls of stone echoing the varying pitches of their laughter and without their knowledge i am a changed person; longing to smell, touch, and taste all that i can of this place known as Espana.

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