Spanish Denton

19 09 2010

I think I’ve found the ‘Denton’ of Spanish TV. Check out the guy who runs Spain’s version of Sale of the Century – SABER O GANAR…

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Staying out late

16 09 2010

Cultural? Unwise? Sinful?

I’m dying. After 6 straight night trying to keep up with my friends – I’m sleep walking my way through to lunch. Each night I’ve had at least one if not two things on and they’ve begun anywhere from 7:30pm (afternoon tea) to 11pm at night. I’ve said no to stuff, but there’s all that fun out there to be had, all that Spanish to be spoken…

Mistake 1: I said to Marina the other day that the only time I don’t feel tired is after my siesta. That was the mistake. Her thoughts ranged:

  • The young people from our church don’t have that habit, they don’t stay out late
  • She qualified that she isn’t worried for me because she sure I’m grounded but lots of people lose their way from staying out late
  • How are we different from the world if we are doing the ‘staying out late’ that their doing

I walked away trying to figure out how on earth staying out late could be all but sinful, and dangerous. And I confess, I finished the conversation giggling.

But it did give me food for thought. I know I’m wise by being so tired the next day I can’t concentrate in class. So push class back to hours? Stick it out in order to acclimatise? Secondly, the point is to learn Spanish and live the Spanish – and how can I do that when I’m nicely tucked up in bed not speaking, listening or being with Spanish?

Is this an area where I need to exercise discipline, or an area where I can serve others although it costs me? Is this part of becoming accustomed to the culture?

Last night I went out armed with a plan. But anyone who’s read ‘Leaving in Groups’ will know that I was bound to fail from the beginning.

Mistake 2: So yesterday I went out armed with a plan. I spoke with the person I came with saying I was going home at 11 and I was happy to go on my own and would prefer he stayed and enjoyed the fun. He said he also had to go so we’d leave together. Which triggered the person next to him to be ‘ready to leave’. Out of courtesy, I mentioned in advance to the hostess that I’d be leaving early – at which point she mentioned another girls who lived near me who’d be ‘leaving early’ – by which time my leaving early team had expanded to over half the group. Second round of farewells at the bottom, someone racing back upstairs to collect a forgotten item and returning with the ‘not leaving early’ group prompting another round of ‘besos’ which required that someone wake up Chloe – now sleeping on the concrete in the plaza…





Fray Leopoldo

13 09 2010

Yesterday was the beatification of Alpandeire’s Leopoldo Sánchez Márquez de Alpandeire. It’s a mouthful, but he’s a Friar of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchins, and Spain’s newest saint.

Fray Leopoldo, was born in Ronda in 1864 and died in Granada in 1956. At 35, he travelled to Sevilla and joined the Capuchin Order and was sent to Granada with his begging bag to live a life of poverty caring for others and offering to pray for any who needed it. For 49 years the friar wandered the streets of Granada asking only ‘Three Hail Marys’ for his labours and prayers, and even as an old man he still kept at his vows.

“During his lifetime the friar was not known for performing miracles”, Archbishop Amato was quoted as saying, “in fact he diligently performed the monotonous small chores each day as if it was the first time ever”.

They say it for this reason that he was elevated to be a candidate although the recognition of sainthood requires a miraculous event, in this case, the inexplicable curing of a Puerto Rican woman, Lleana Martinez, of Lupus after her priest prayed for help from Fray Leopoldo whilst administering the last rites.

With the reading of an ‘apostolic’ letter issued by Pope Benedict XVI, he was pronounced beatified.

They are estimating that between 60 000 and double that attended the beatification ceremony. That’s a huge number…! I was watching some interviews with individuals who were there:

  • One woman in a wheelchair said she’ throw herself out of the chair (maybe Pool a Bethesda John-5-style)
  • Another lady, with palsy said she was very happy and not in need of healing but had come to pray for those less fortunate.
  • A whole family had turned up with the face of their grandma on sticks which they were holding over their faces – they’d all come in her place because she was too ill to come for her own sake.

We talk about Spain moving away from Catholicism and recognizing the same apathy that sweeps across western Europe – but there is this incredible fervor for the spirituality of Catholicism that moves hundreds of thousands.





Author in the house!

11 09 2010

We have a real life author in the house! Jodie is a missionary from another organization studying Spanish in Granada. Chatting late last night she casually mentioned that she’d spent one of the last few years in a motor home, touring the States promoting her book. She’d been working on the fiction over the previous decade and had an offer to publish – and as you do…

Marina mentioned, what is apparently well known – José Martí a Cuban independence fighter and esteemed poet said: “Hay tres cosas que cada persona debería hacer durante su vida: plantar un árbol, tener un hijo y escribir un libro” “…there are three things every person should do in his or her life: plant a tree, have a son and write a book.”

I’m not sure that’s the best measure but it’s been buzzing around my head all week. In fact Marina added an extra on – paint a painting. I like that because I’ve managed to do that one – raises my points ☺ I have been very close to planting a tree but it was a really hot day and my friend had a pool…

I’d add an extra two if I was going to make a list – learn a second language and run a marathon. The juries still out on other necessaries. I spent yesterday putting together one of those photo books online for Father’s Day; not sure that it counts… I think maybe a book can be interchanged with a song… but I have no imminent plans to launch that career either. There are lots of things that would be interesting to do – form a political party, start an NGO, spend a night during the summer solstice in the Arctic circle watching the sun circle above the horizon, and for the rich and famous – start a fashion label…But I think it’s different to think of the essential things that push a life from something that is full of good things to that which makes a life fully ‘realizada’ (fulfilled).

I think I’d say that every person who wants a fulfilled life must offer costly forgiveness, teach someone something valuable and must experience grace. What would you add…?





Summer Fun…

6 09 2010

Over summer there has been lots of fun I haven’t mentioned… so here’s a snapshot!

My friends through me a birthday party: I came back a day early from Peñarroya because my friends from town had organised a party for me at one of their in-laws country homes with a pool. Great food – great fun, and for the first time in years I didn’t have to organise a thing to celebrate my birthday which was awesome. Apart from being great having to weeks in English it was great to be reminded just how much I enjoy ministry and training and gave me a buzz to think that soon enough I will be doing that in Spanish…

Piragüismo: Anani and I joined a group of Venezuelans for an 80th surprise birthday party kayaking jaunt… and I ended up with blisters that looked like the stigmata!

Hangin’: Food and sun music and fun by the pool – or in each others houses praying and sharing a meal together in each others house…

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Summer Team in Peñarroya

2 09 2010

The short term team in Peñarroya – was a blast. I arrived to meet the team at the pool. It’s always funny those first few hours when they are sussing you out and you are sussing them out… They were from the home church of the missionaries in the town and a few of them had been across two years ago while others had quite a good level of Spanish. They came prepared to run the language club – which was two hours a day in the local school – and then they picked up other bits and pieces along the way. The language club was great. Little learning in reality but lots of hanging out with the Spanish kids – having fun, and showing them Go’s love. Since it was pre-evangelistic, there was no formal bible stuff but some of the guys got to have good conversations with the older kids about why we did it. There was a mass of 3 and 4 year olds, so I ended up on Kindy crowd control – so much fun! Each day we did games, crafts and sang silly English songs like the farmer wants a wife and heads-shoulders-knees-and-toes. And all in over 35 degrees heat.

Then in the afternoons the guys prepared and put together teaching for outdoor programs. We took dramas, games and bible teaching to the streets. We started every night in one set place, doing a drama, bible teaching, learning a memory verse and plying games with any of the local kids who came along. A lot of those from the English club claim with stacks of their friends. After running the ‘kids outreach church’, we all piled into the vans and went looking for bunches of kids and families to do it again.

It was great to see the young guys from the youth group working out how to teach stuff simply, how to love people through the language barrier – and see them just generally excited about mission. Pus they helped me celebrate my birthday! Besides singing happy birthday every time I entered the room, and giving me a great present, I decided that I’d shout them all drinks so I made Lemon Lime & Bitters for everyone. It’s not at all a Spanish thing so it was a little slice of home for me too…

All in all it was a great week.

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Leaving in Groups

2 09 2010

There’s something lovely about greeting every member f the group individually, and saying goodbye to everyone rather than an off hand wave as you exit the room. What in Australia might look like you are on the campaign trail, here is just being polite. But it does somewhat change the timing. It means that when it comes to group moves, you have to keep doing the goodbyes again every time someone leaves,and then some, because the old ‘besos’ have been superseded by continued conversation…

Add that to a latin propensity to run late and a general apathy about sleep and you can imagine – going home can be hard. Also, just being and chatting is in itself important, so what I can waiting at the bottom of the building to leave, for everyone else is still continuing the night – emphasis on the continuing…

Because we’re about people not about time – but for me, being about time is so that I can do a better job of being about people. And this is doing my head in!!!