Hey friends! Quick update 🙂
This is midterm week here coming up, so I should be studying, but I figured I haven’t posted in a bit and I should before this week gets crazy!
Things are feeling/going much better as the transition to living in another country continues to run its course. Little tweaks in lifestyle and perspective here and there have made it so I can now truly walk through this experience with appreciation and gratitude. Eyes wide open, soaking it all in instead of getting caught up on the negatives or mild discomforts.
There are a few things I’ve found here that have slowly turned my experience into one of finding where I fit in, and getting things done instead of confusion and.. more confusion. There have been growing pains, but that just means there’s been growth. 🙂
1) Iglesia Evangelica de Segovia. This is the church some of us have been attending here. It’s small, so the first couple times we went they had us stand up and introduce ourselves during the service announcements. They have been incredibly welcoming. Last week during announcements they said there was choir practice Sunday nights, and after the service I asked if just anyone could join. Turns out Estrella, who is the pastor’s wife and one of the women who has made a point to greet and welcome us each week, is the director. She told Melinda and I we were welcome to come to rehearsal! So, now Melinda and I are in the choir. 🙂 We had our second rehearsal tonight. Fernando, the pastor, is part of the choir as are he and Estrella’s two sons, Moises and Samuel. There are a few other people in the choir but mostly I feel like Melinda and I joined their family band. They sometimes argue over which key the music is in, or which harmony is correct, and honestly it makes me feel right at home. 🙂 Tonight the pastor took some pictures during the rehearsal.
Haha we all look so confused. Me asking Estrella about our part 😛
El coro y banda 🙂
It’s just a church choir, but the experience has been great because the people are so funny and caring. I feel like they really care about our lives, safety, and even comfort here in Segovia. I’ll be sad to leave them!!
2) Finding this nearby university.
You’d think I would have thought to find a university campus earlier, but there was so much exploring to be done, none of us had gone yet. But we went on a fluke trip to a church bible study (couldn’t find them because we went to the wrong university), but I stayed that day to explore, and now I love this place. The best thing is they have free wifi. But other good things are the cheap food in the cafeteria, a quiet library, and a vending machine with 70 cent coffee. The campus is also beautiful, and incredibly diverse. Hanging out on the campus I will usually hear English conversations in several different accents, along with conversations in Spanish and several other languages. I love being around the students, because I feel like everyone has the same mindset. Living in the Old Segovia city center, sometimes I feel like every night is a festival and every day is a shopping excursion for the people who walk the streets. Usually to do homework we need wifi so we’ll go to a cafe, and everyone else is eating and socializing while we’re studying. It makes you feel out of place. But in the university everyone is also being studious and trying to get things done. It feels so much better, like maybe we’re not just weirdo international students who study all the time. 😛
3) Group bible study. Every Thursday night a group of us have been getting together to study 2 Corinthians and talk about being believers here in Spain. It’s been such a blessing to share life together in a more real way, and talk about struggles and joys. Hearing the stories of some of these women have spurred me on towards choosing joy, having a grateful perspective, and have led me to contemplate what it truly means to be a loving person… not just in Spain, but in general. One of the girls, Emmie, who has traveled like this before, was talking last time about the discomfort aspect, and the appreciation it produces. While she was talking something fully clicked for me… the experience of traveling is for the adventure, yes, but the biggest thing it does is produce this sort of grander understanding of the world and life that might not be attainable without living in another culture. It produces an understanding of what we’ve been given living in the U.S., but it’s not the cliché “knowing,” like when your mom tells you to eat your peas because there are kids in Africa who don’t have food. It’s this deep knowing in your soul that you will never look at the people or things in your life the same way. It’s the small things, all rolled into a big bundle. Peanut butter toast on multigrain bread with greek yogurt for breakfast. Hairdryers. Machine washed and dried clothes. People who can fully understand what you are asking them. Stability of people and places. But more than that, it’s the deep knowing that after all, many of the luxuries I value don’t actually matter. They’re just that, luxuries, and maybe my own version of the “right” way to live isn’t the only right way. Friends, in America we live in utmost comfort. It’s just a million tiny little things… but even people here in Europe just really don’t live like we do, with so many things to make life easier. I haven’t decided yet which life I prefer, but I know that right now I’m learning valuable things I’ll never forget, including the Spanish language and more about loving others. I feel incredibly grateful.
Post coming soon about ministry aspects of Spain, and some other things the Lord has been teaching me. But probably after midterm week. 🙂
Dios os bendiga (From Toledo) 🙂
Mucho amor, hasta luego!