Fin de fuera

31 10 2010

Leo’s family, like many, have a house in the pueblo. For work or other reasons they come to the city, but there is no money or no point in selling the pueblo house so they keep it. Lots of people have summer homes within 20 minutes of the city. I think it’s amazing that there are people out of work for up to 18 months who keep paying rent and looking for work in the city, even though it’s a 30minute drive and rent free in the pueblo!

Leo’s family however, don’t return much tot he pueblo because his Mum is sick. So the house it empty – which sounds to me like a weekend away plan.

Planning was a lesson in culture. I planned the whole thng, divvying up tasks fairly and everyone eemed fine until the week before when the murmurs started…

  • it’s just that we usually do a perol (BBQ)
  • we were hoping to do a paella but that will mean there is left overs and we don’t need dinner
  • normally we all meet together to buy the food
  • don’t you want to catch up this week to plan it?
  • will it be fair if everyone just cooks their food, wouldn’t it be better to put in money like usual…

So in the end I caved and happily let them take over and plan it the way it ‘always’ gets done. Only that means that instead of arriving friday to have a full day, people decided to go saturday – with the intention of getting up early  but that never happens! Shopping on the way and finally arriving by 3, at which point they started to put lunch on. We were eating about 5:30 which naturally meant we didn’t separate lunch from dinner, just as well because it was chops, steak and sausage. Someone had thoughtful bought enough for 1 salad – for the whole weekend. While there were litres and litres of cola, by the next day we’d run out of milk and bread (someone in the pueblo went without so we could have lunch) and there was no breakfast plan. We ate paella for lunch – around 5pm and managed to clean up ready to leave by 9. However all the food was delicious – you have to laugh!

But it was a great weekend hanging out together, playing Uno, going for walks, laughing loads and the blessing of good friends.

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One year on

20 10 2010

Today is 1 year! One year on, this is what I do*:

8:20 – Alarm goes off again, try to press snooze. Sometime later, wake up to the realization that it is no longer 8:20, in fact… 8:40. 10 minutes later and three biscuits in hand I run out the door to catch the bus

8:50 – Travelling down the main road on the 2 (one of two buses I can catch – deciding which is faster is a fine art of calculating variables including weather, planned an unplanned road works and distance from the last public holiday).

I still have a cough after being sick for the last two weeks with the rapid change in temperature, so I’m struggling with the woman next to me who still reeks of the last cigarette she burned through before climbing on the bus. I check over the things I was meant to learn since yesterday and relaxedly decide that failing today’s test wont even come close to the top 5 worst things that will happen this week.

9:17 – Running late I arrive at the language school to sit my fortnightly test. Before starting we spend 20 minutes chatting about the weekend, the latest episodes of our favourite television series – who’s hot and who’s not…

9:40 – I’m over my test even thought I have stacks of gaps and haven’t read over it yet. This isn’t my learning style! We finish the class with a list of exclamations that if I use correctly will apparently make me sound more Spanish that a perfect grammar or an authentic accent… (although my attempt at using ‘no estoy muy catolica’  last week just made people fall about laughing?)

11:05 – Catch up with my previous Spanish teacher for coffee. She need help writing an English letter so we’ll get together next week to see how we can fix it up a bit. Tomorrow, I’ll meet another friend for coffee, yesterday I raced home to try and catch my Mum on Skype… the hour of fun.

14:30 – Put on the washing, having been away the last two weekends and leaving on Thursday for the next one, midweek laundry is essential.

15:00 – Marina and I sit down to lunch in between phone calls, her from family, mine about tonight’s meeting.

16:00 – Make a cuppa before taking a quick siesta.

17:00 – Review the trivia questions we’ve put together for the fun night of this weekend’s ECM Spain conference – a giant game of snakes and ladder. Finish and send off prayer letter, this time without spelling mistakes 🙂

19:30 – First meeting with GBU for the semester. Collect the stray students from the bus stop on the way to Julissa’s house where we share tortilla, Tinto de Verano and  good laugh while planning what we are going to do over the next few months. The room is half Spanish speakers and half foreigners.

24:00 – waiting on Skype for my family to call so I can wish my 3 year old nephew Happy birthday before I go to bed.

*This is a compilation of three days this week, mainly because they all blur into one 🙂





Visiting Pozoblanco

19 10 2010

I headed up to Pozoblnco this weekend by arrangement to visit with Francis, the director of ECM Spain. Francis all energy, vision and direction. So the weekend began with a lovely relaxed tea with Nathalie before Francis arrived for an intense seminar style forray into the world of ECM and the future as Francis sees it. A great overview, and lots of plans later, Francis had somewhere to be on the Saturday so I spent the morning with some of the youth putting together a massive snakes andladders game to run for fun night at the Prayer Days. Then the saturday night I spent with Delyth, from the UK. She’s passionate about evangelism and has some great friendships within the town.

On the sunday at church, the guys from the centre, the families from the town and the missionaries make a fairly lively group 🙂

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Eddie el Emu

18 10 2010

I have started a painting lesson here in Córdoba. Marina has been painting for years, (see Marina’s Art) and the school is really close by. Originally I thought Id go along because it got me out of the house. In the initial days I found just filling my days with useful things a challenge, so I decided to leave the house every afternoon to do at least one thing.

My teacher, Carmen, is the wife of a local minister and the school is her family and mission field. Many of the ladies have been coming for years. They share their lives and paint together chattering and laughing their way through portraits, landscapes, still life… and lots of Spanish ‘jarron’. They bring food along often and it isn’t unusual to be finding your way back to your easel to begin panting a good half hour into the lesson. It’s a lovely group and they’ve been really welcoming and encouraging in so many ways.

I’m learning to mix colours and have realized I actually can’t tell the difference between beige, khaki and grey. I’m learning to wield a brush and deal with permanent paint stains on my jeans.

Some days I’m not sure it was such a wise idea – starting a new hobby which drives me mental with infuriation when I’m in the middle of learning a whole new language and culture and as such have a pretty high standing level of frustration.


But then other days I see the apple turn 3D, movement appear in the waterfall or shadow emerge in my sunflower and it’s great.

Here is my last masterpiece,  Eddie the Emu.