06 December 2008

beauty in the broken

today's title comes from the starfield album "beauty in the broken". they have one song entitled "the hand that holds the world". i thought of this song as today, abruptly, my hips started feeling heavy and kind of hurting. it's 90% humidity today with a 40-70% chance of rain, too.

i found this verse in james 1:18: He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

God chose us through truth to be the light of his creation. i can dig that when i'm hurting. it's not my fault. it's not his, either. i'm just trying to hold onto his hand. job 12:10 says: "In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."

satan, in Jesus' name we renounce your works and the control you may have over this world. we reclaim the power of his Kingdom on this earth and declare victory in Jesus' name!

05 December 2008

oil can

i started wearing a knee brace to help stabilize my left leg this week. i've had it a little while, but haven't worn it. and sometimes it squeaks. i feel a little bionic. hee hee.

~the tin man


28 November 2008

doctor's note

as a prelude, i have an acquired neuromuscular disorder that started 5 years ago, which causes intermittent weakness and weak function. i have not had any new symptoms nor an increase in frequency in the past two months, but the fact that they persist without diagnosis nor real prognosis has caused me to reinitiate a search for a diagnosis.

this morning, i went to the doctor to review the tests he ordered last week. it seems like so much time has passed since i went to the doctor just last week, but in that time i had blood drawn and a blood and urine test last friday. yesterday i picked up the results and went to the doctor today.

i'm normal.

all the tests--5 pages of results--came out completely normal. and my face hung. i feel frustrated, almost let down, because everything came out normal. it's frustrating to obviously have something physically wrong with me, but the paper say that everything's fine. and this is what i went through 5 years ago, too: obvious symptoms, but normal results. i feel let down because i almost wanted them to find something wrong. it may be bad, but at least it has a name. it may not cause any worsening of my symptoms, but at least it's treatable. it's one thing to take medicine to aide with the symptoms--what i did for 4 years--but another to actually treat the cause or even find something that could make me better.

it's been 5 years almost to the day since i first went to the doctor here in madrid. i was studying here during the fall of 2003. i was supposed to stay the academic year (coincidentally, i would have met kelly in january 2004), but since i got sick and needed more tests, i moved back to georgia to pursue medical care and be taken care of by my parents. now, 5 years later, i'm in madrid again, and as the anniversary of my illness rolled around, i started thinking about going back to the doctor. maybe someone in this city, a center for pioneering medical research, could actually find something. and since i don't have to pay for my insurance--paid for by the ministry of education, my employer--kelly convinced me to go ahead and go to the doctor.

i'm stronger now than i was 5 years ago. or 3 years ago. or even 1 year ago. i feel better now than i did even 6 months ago, which is also frustrating because i don't want to scorn the good health i enjoy now by still focusing on the physical problems i have. as i walked to the bus stop this morning, i passed a man who was crippled, begging on the sidewalk. he was sitting there, legs shriveled beneath him and begging for coins. i walked briskly past with my foldable cane neatly in it's case in my bag.

i am absolutely so thankful for being able to walk! why should i push forward to find something wrong with me when i've already gained back so much that i had once lost? and this is my fundamental spiritual quandary. how do i reconcile being thankful for the good health i have with recognizing that my episodes of weakness are not normal?

25 November 2008


i'm thinking about advent and the hope that we have as christians, and i'm thinking about the children i teach. some are very outgoing and outspoken, and i can tell that they are well-adjusted and have families who love them very much. and there are those who look sad in class all the time. i don't know if they're frustrated about not understanding the lesson or if there is something else wrong with them physically, emotionally or developmentally. or perhaps there's discontent in the home, and the only place they may receive any kind of affection or attention is at school. unfortunately, because these are the children who crave the affection of an adult so much, they're also the ones who act out the most, therefore the attention they receive is not reassuring affection, rather rebuking and punishment.

how can i teach these kids and show them Jesus' love for them at the same time if it doesn't seem like they're receptive? there are certain kids i know that if i asked them a question, we'd be 5 minutes before they said anything, so better to ask another kid in the interest of classtime. these same kids will spend twice as long on a class activity, and i don't have the time to give them individual attention in class while every other kid also needs my help.

how can i show them their worth in the eyes of their Heavenly Father when i don't have the time to sit with them to make sure they write the date correctly?

how long did the israelites wait for the Messiah to come and show them he loved them and would take care of them? how patient did the Messiah have to be in order to show the jews that free love and mercy were available in him, that he was the author of eternal life? how frustrated does the Father continually get with us when we want to color the banana orange or say "i'm six" instead of "i'm fine"? and who shows us that kindness, love, affection and reassurance when we look down or don't know how to respond?

19 November 2008

and we're back

back to blogging. back to processing things on "paper" and seeking responses.

and i went to the doctor this morning.

this morning i woke up really stiff and weak and even had an episode of spastic paralysis in that while i was eating breakfast, i leaned forward to get my coffee and after i leaned back on the sofa, my muscles were rigid, and i couldn't move. this hasn't happened in quite some time, and kelly even noticed how rigid my arm was; she could hardly move it. this is the opposite from my other episodes, which are flacid, and my limbs are easily moved and positioned comfortably. though the episode didn't last long, it was a strong enough sign for me to call in sick today, and go to the doctor.

fortunately, i pass by a rather large clinic on my way to work everyday, and i knew they accepted my insurance (provided by the government as part of my job!), so i called an made an immediate appointment with a general practicioner. i had been thinking of going to the doctor again, since it's been about a year and a half, and i haven't had any more tests or any other suggestions for possible diagnoses. the doctor this morning asked me why i came in, and i just told him about this morning as the last incident in a long list of episodes and syptoms dating back to five years ago almost exactly. he listened to me and kelly, as she went with me, for almost half an hour and was indignant that i had spent the last 5 years with just having symptoms treated and no diagnosis nor possible diagnosis. he didn't even touch me, but was pleased to listen. frankly, he said this is neuromuscular--something i've said from the very beginning--rather than just neurological or just muscular. he recognized that i had a lot of tests already, so he didn't even bother ordering a repeat of those now, but he did order some simple bloodwork to be done as a starting point.

the good thing, other than having a doctor who actually listened to me, is that we live in madrid with major health facilities and good insurance which will pay for a lot, if not all, of my bills. i didn't even pay a co-pay this morning! and on top of all the good that happened this morning, kelly was right there with me. she reminded me that i'm not in this alone, and that's super comforting.

well, i took an impromptu day off, which happened to correspond with kelly's, so we're both relaxing today. the weather is beautiful, and the colors on the trees in the city are beautiful, too. other than my more-than-usual weakness, it's been a good day so far. how's that for perspective?

hasta pronto.

08 September 2008


this time last year, i had moved to madrid and was searching for a flat. i had enough adult responsibility to know what i needed and what i needed to do. i could shop for groceries, take public transportation, schedule my time for studies and household chores, i set up a bank account. all these things i did by myself. and though i had a roommate and we worked together around the house, we each still had our own lives and were each responsible for our own actions.

now, i'm getting ready to settle into my "new" flat with my new wife. though it's the same flat i had last year with nate, it's different because my fiancee has moved in just over a month ago to get our home ready for us. so, this time, coming to madrid has not meant starting a new life for myself, but starting a new life for us. it's our flat, our telephone, our internet, our kitchen, our bedroom. everything's gone from being mine and yours to ours in a way very different from how nate and i had things last year.

and this new "us" comes with new responsibility. in earning an income, i'm ensuring protection for our family. in going grocery shopping, i allow kelly to do something for her work. likewise, by kelly taking care of the household--a task she readily takes up--she is responsible for creating a welcoming atmosphere in our home for both us and our guests. are no longer responsible for ourselves, but for each other. we are accountable to each other to work for the other's best interests and for the best interests of our family.

17 August 2008

"so take the photographs and still frames in your mind"

"hang them on a shelf in good health and good times. tattoos and memories and dead skin on trial. for what it's worth, it was worth all the while."

yes, folks, the middlebuy chapter is over, and i'm glad. i had a great run in 5 summers--4 in the spanish school and 1 in the french. i've proved that i can work competently at the graduate level in 2 foreign languages, one a little more foreign than the other. i've moved to madrid--twice--got sick, recovered, graduated, worked, moved back to madrid, got engaged, will move back to madrid to get married. in the past five years, i've learned more about relationships, helping others and God's omnipotence than literary theory, art history or pedagogy. i've learned the importance God placed on my life in sending his Son to die for me and that "In his hand he holds the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:10). i've learned that each of us has more of an impact on each other than we may even know in this lifetime, and we all work for the glory of God's plan.

and, yes, i learned how to conjugate some verbs and use some prepositions. i did more theatre in spanish and french than i have in english!

after seeing my friends graduate with their master's the other day and not continuing with my own doctoral program at middlebury, i'm feeling better than i thought i would be. after my own graduation in 2005, i learned that it's all right to have a good time at school, but it's better to live your life in the present in preparation for the future.

"there's something unpredictable and in the end it's right. i hope you had the time of your life."

06 August 2008

quelle surprise

it's raining again in vermont. quelle surprise. it's only been raining here every other day since i got here. and all this rain does not agree with my joints nor my nerves, so i didn't get to go the gym today. in the meanwhile, i'm troubleshooting why my speakers don't to relinquish control to my headphones when i plug them in.

20 July 2008

alternative pt 2

after yesterday's post about alternatives, today, i had one of my own: an attack of extreme weakness and pain that kept me in bed most of this morning. though i'm healthy and regularly exercises (weights and running), there are still those times when i get pretty weak and need to eat something or rest after exertion. and i still limp on a rather regular basis, but rarely do i have episodes like this morning where my leg is heavy and numb, yet there is a shooting pain that runs the length.

i saw a trailer of a movie the other day called music within based on the true story of the guy who wrote the americans with disabilities act. i want to see this movie because i identify myself as disabled. this may seem quite strange as i now lift 90 lbs in the gym, run about 3 miles 3 times a week, have lost over 40 lbs in the past year, and don't use any crutches anymore. but there's still that mental image i have of someone who is obviously not like the others because of the way he walks. that's my identity, my alternative perception of who i am. and though i have no diagnosis and currently am not taking any medicine, i still have that image of myself.

and speaking of an alternative view of oneself, i watched the movie lars and the real girl with ryan gosling. see this movie! it's a touching story of a young man, lars, who is lonely and socially awkward who constructs a story about a girlfriend. it's powerful in the uniting of the family and community to help lars and how he learns about love and friendship. see this movie!

19 July 2008


the good thing about being in a liberal new england town is that things are different. whether it's eating more organic products (beer included) to being conscious of energy consumption and renewable energies, using one's own grocery bags when shopping for organic and locally grown products from the natural foods co-op, footwear (some of my most comfortable shoes were bought here in middlebury), you just know things are different up here. the very nature i've studied two foreign languages in an immersion environment in the green mountains is, by its very nature, alternative to conventional study in other parts of the country. i've also been exposed to alternative media, podcasting among others, which opens wide the news and information i receive in a time quite different from the three broadcasting networks. am i more informed about news and cultural events than my father was at my age, or is it simply a question of accessibility?

another alternative thing popular in vermont and throughout new england is alternate sexual lifestyle, primarily homosexuality. on campus, there are signs everywhere promoting diversity and acceptance and ensuring a safe place for one to express or question his or her own sexuality. one thing i do not appreciate about this policy, as with its policy on gender discrimination, is the assumption that we all have discriminatory tendencies and that we should make every effort to accept everyone who is different from us and repress the acknowledgement that we are different--even in capabilities.

the following are some questions i'm facing as i'm developping a friendship with someone who is in a homosexual relationship:
1) am i to love this person as i would anyone else who is heterosexual and a sinner?
2) in a list of ways to recognize the sinful nature in Galations 5, there is sexual immorality along with jealousy and others, so is someone who sins (homo)sexually different automatically from the heterosexual who has "fits of rage" or anything else on the list?
3) is homosexuality an unforgivable sin which automatically excludes one from salvation?

02 July 2008

foux de fa fa



my last post was in madrid, the day after our engagement party at oasis madrid & so much has happened in the past month on hiatus. here's a rundown:

-left madrid for georgia
-in georgia for a week with my family (my brother flew in for the weekend, too!)
-in kentucky for a week with kelly's family
-kelly & i fly out of augusta--her to madrid & me to arkansas to visit my brother & his family
-back in augusta for two weeks
-fly to boston to spend the night with my recently former roommate
-drive up to middlebury from boston
-register for courses
-confirm courses

so here i am foux da fa fa in vermont. yes, that's right, folks, i'm studying french at middlebury college for the summer. i wasn't sure how different or similar it would be from my time in the spanish school, but it's just different enough to warrant a different experience, so i'm looking forward to it. a highlight of the week is working out in an air-conditioned collegiate gym and not having to wait to workout on farely new machines that have all the numbers on the weights (yes, in both lbs and kg). so, when i arranged the pic on the machine to the kilos that i know, it didn't seem like all that much, but then seeing the visual reminder that pounds are twice as much as kilograms, i was quite pleased with myself for lifting all that gargantuan amount of weight. ;)

19 May 2008

winding down

it's a comfort to know when you're singing the hit the road blues that anywhere else you could possibly go after madrid would be...

a pleasure cruise.

mr & mrs charming

last night was our oasis madrid engagement party. indeed, it was the first of three parties we're having in three weeks. and since it's not everyday one gets married--much less the first oasis madrid love story--everyone got dressed up a bit. how fun! we're such a relaxed church and more used to seeing everyone in jeans more often than slacks.

it was really fun!

kelly and i arrived in a taxi and had to give the taxi driver quite specific instructions to get the the cadys' flat. kelly wore her bonus prize dress (bought with her bonus prize money from her proposal scavenger hunt. you ask her more about it or see my post on the proposal.) i wore the same dark blue shirt i wore on our first date and some gray slacks i had bought recently. these were practically the only ones i could wear since losing about 5 or so more pounds since our first date in january (for a grand total of 40 lbs in the past year). as it turns out, i was probably more dressed up for this party than i will be for my actual wedding.

troy gave us a great toast, and as kelly and i were in the center of the living room, very much the center of attention, i felt very blessed to be part of this family. kelly felt like a princess; i felt like prince charming. and i must admit i felt a bit like a star on the red carpet as there were so many flashes going on! :) i had brought my camera, but hardly touched it; everyone else had theirs, so i'm looking forward to seeing all these compiled memories. one thing we do really well at oasis madrid is combined memories. last night may have been just another service, as the whole church was there! and that's another thing i love about oasis madrid: we really do life together. it was amazing to see the outpouring of love last night and how much they affirm our marriage.

this weekend starts the family tour (to continue with the rock star theme), as we travel to the junited estates on thursday to spend time with my family, then travel to see kelly's family. since my friends & family recognize how momentous it is for me to bring home a fiancee, they're rallying around to meet her. and kelly has family who's driving in about 10 hours specifically to see us; they're making this a sort of impromptu family reunion.

an oasis madrid love story.

14 May 2008


i'll also write a post on the influence of the beliefs of the catholic church to the protestant church. i realize i have yet to write a post on any of the topics i mentioned last friday, but i've been busy catching up on my sleep. ;) cheers.

09 May 2008


it's the end of the semester and school year, so it's time for my yearly reflexiones. here are some things i've been reflecting about and will be the subjects of future blog posts since this post would be enormously long if i were to put all of them in here.

-youtubes at 4am
-new music
-bus vs metro

it's been almost a year since i've moved to this lovely country, and i wonder how fast i will adapt back to america this summer. also, i wonder how it will work being in vermont this summer but under quite different circumstances, primarily being in the french school and not having kelly to hang out with and be with even though i've been up there four times already. i'm up for a challenge, though.

19 April 2008


why is it that i feel prolific and creative at 3 in the morning when i should be asleep, but actually don't want to get up to get my journal, thereby fully waking myself up to produce said creative project, so i just lay there hoping to recreate the magic of sleepy creativity in the morning when i wake, knowing that i won't, indeed, remember the sentiment nor be able to accurately recreate the setting in which i was originally creative, hence relegating myself to wallowing in my own creativity and creation when it strikes--something akin to experiencing a first kiss?

i guess we'll never know.

15 April 2008

imagine that

God is in control. imagine that! well, after this past year of relying on God for the next move in my life, after the past three months of such an amazing and surprising relationship with kelly, and looking back to the past 5 years when God has led me and cared for me in coming to Spain in the first place and then teaching me about how he cares for me even more than the sparrows and showing me his nature as the Great Physician, i've just lost sight of how my Father actually is in control. i can't change that, and his plans for me are infinitely better than i could imagine on my own.

i had a long talk with God last night as i walked home. i told him that i gave all my stresses to him. i repented of taking control of my life, of having a fatalist attitude about my work. and i thanked him for redeeming me and for being a co-heir with Christ. i claim my Father's blessings as his child. i know that doesn't mean that everything will be smooth and easy for me, but i rest in the fact that he is in charge, not me, and that i can rest easy at night belonging to him.

you'd think i'd have learned this by now. ;)

20 March 2008

we should get jerseys

'cause we make a good team.

thanks to relient k for the title of this post. i sang this line to kelly the other day as we took a daytrip to segovia. :) but for our jerseys, i think i'll get them with our last name on it. well, it's not hers yet, but it will be this fall! i'm sure she'll put her side of the story on her blog but here it is on mine; besides, there are different viewpoints.

i set up a scavenger hunt for her a la amazing race and enlisted friends from all over the city to help. she had a clue that led her to that person where she got a task to complete. these could be anything from memorizing a Bible verse in dutch to taking our friend's baby to a local panadería for merienda. oh and there's the part where she gave a guy friend of ours a package to unwrap and it was underwear.

there are pictures.

that's right, folks, she had to get a picture of completing each task. it was set up that our friend, lisa, was going to meet kelly for lunch on wednesday, then she would present her with the instructions and the first clue. lisa was so excited about the whole thing and besides being a clue herself, she really pushed for the part that there had to be photos. i asked if she would be willing to take them, and she practically squealed! and another friend, leisl, had come in from castellón to visit (and go on the church easter retreat with us), so she was at lunch, too, and went on the scavenger hunt and helped take pictures (leisl took this one. thanks!)! it was also special that they shared in this because lisa was kelly's roommate last year, and leisl and kelly did a good chunk of the camino de santiago last summer, so both are special people.)

the photos are great (i'll soon load them, but you can see others here), and they really show how kelly had to go all over the city all afternoon. it took her about 5 hours or so to get to me, the last clue. her last task was to follow the blue arrows ("Suivez les flèches bleues.") inspired from a scene in the movie amélie where she sets up blue arrows around a park in the montmartre section of paris to get the attention of a guy she likes. she got her task from mary, who simply handed her the first arrow and sent her off to me. i set up these arrows around kelly's neighborhood and pointed them to the plaza dos de mayo, where we've spent a lot of time--impromptu picnics and late night chats. she found the last arrow and came walking across the plaza. when she was about halfway, i got down on one knee and just showed her the ring.

"will you marry me?"


16 March 2008

new start

i'm on vacation for the next two weeks, so i thought i'd take some time to chill and reflect on what's all happened and maybe give a new look to the blog, now in it's second year. so much has happened to me and around me and for me in the past two years, and it's always good think about those times and how they've impacted my life. here's a summary, not in any particular order.

-great church and great community at truenorth church
-great church and great community at oasis madrid church
-a wonderful townhouse in augusta
-having the summer off for once in 2006
-earning steady money for two years with a good job
-being a grownup
-moving back to madrid in september 07
-working with a church while living and studying abroad
-regularly going to the gym and running!
-losing 30 lbs
-going off my medicine!
-being more confident in who i am as God made me with the strengths and weaknesses that make me a unique addition to his body
-having the support of family and friends to pursue dreams
-meeting a wonderful woman and falling into God's plan after four years of preparing us for each other
-falling in love

04 March 2008

vacation and immigrants

a friend of my roommate's is visiting this week from the states & he doesn't speak a word of spanish. he can barely say "hola", and it's so weird for him--by his own admission--to hear nate and me have complete discussions in both spanish and english. so, today, i started taking note of things that he might notice that are completely new and different to him, but that i take completely normal. i'll think of some more things and get back to you.

19 February 2008

high of 75

listening to relient k this morning is great because there's a song about the weather. it's perfect because i'm at a point where it's rainy and cold, but it also talks about being happy in Jesus since he "took my heavy heart and made it light." that's just a great reminder for me today as i'm gearing up for revisions of papers and midterms.

and now there's the song "my girl's ex-boyfriend". "who would believe my life would be so blessed?" yeah, that's just great! kelly & i just celebrated our month-iversary on valentine's day. of course, i had to be reminded to plan something for valentine's day. despite the fact that i have a calendar right next to my desk where valentine's day is plainly marked on the 14th, i, apparently, had not figured that thursday, the 14th was just two days away from tuesday, the 12th and had invited a friend, vivi (yes, another girl), over for dinner that night and was also inviting my girlfriend over. in recounting this to kelly on tuesday the 12th, she was surprised and insisted that i verify that i had invited vivi over for thursday. here's how it went down:

"so, i invited vivi over for dinner on thursday. i know you've wanted to meet her, and she's wanted to meet you," i say nonchalantly while videochatting.

"thursday?" she asks, turning her head towards her webcam as if she hadn't heard me clearly the first time.

"yes, thursday. this thursday, around 9." i figured it would have been perfect since the three of us had off, and it was nate's (my roommate) last day of class for the week.

"really, paul? this thursday?" she asks, leading me water, but trying not to force my head down until the bubbles stop.

"what's wrong with thursday?" i ask, throwing my hands up in the air, not able to grasp the fact that my girlfriend was questioning my dinner party planning.

"it's valentine's, day, paul," she bluntly states. yes, folks, my dear girlfriend has now learned that subtletly is not my strongsuit and that i may need some gentle prodding here and there, especially in the realm of heart-themed holidays.

not quite convinced, i say: "no, really? already?" and i look on my wall to check the calendar for the box that has "14" and "valentine's day" clearly marked on it.

"oh," i say, somewhat sheepishly. (yes, i know i've mixed my animal metaphors: horse, cattle, sheep. i'm studying spanish art, not english blog narrative.) "perhaps, we'll postpone dinner until friday."

07 February 2008

no day but today

over the past week, i've been in a physical topsy-turvy, back to my 3/1 operating system: 3 limbs working, 1 not at any given time. i've bounced back and forth between pain, strong muscle contractions, weakness and numbness, and asthma attacks. i hate this kind of uncertainty, but realize this is life is not my own. i don't have to have a perfectly-functioning body in order to be a valued person. i'm valuable because i'm created and loved by God.

there's no day but today.

03 February 2008

the fishbowl

"welcome to the fishbowl", kelly said to me when we started dating. the "fishbowl" is our church community, and since she's on staff & we have a good number of mutual friends who got to know me separately while she was in the states last fall, people were waiting and watching. when she came back to madrid, apparently, there was a pool to see how long it would take for us to get together. whoever guessed "one week" won.

going in to week three, i guess we're still in the fishbowl as everyone's seeing the progression of our relationship, but it doesn't feel as much like we're on display. we're more of a fixture now.

29 January 2008

get busy

today, i only had one class, after which i went for a coffee, which i normally do on tuesdays. afterwards, i came back to school and looked up how to fix my 6to4 network adapter, which has prevented me from accessing my internet (and the skype which doth connect me to the outside work whilst at home). so i printed out some stuff and will go try that. i also uploaded a bunch of photos from morocco onto my flickr site (http://flickr.com/photos/profepj/), but there are still some more from the other half of the week. i´ll get to those later.

now, i´m hungry and will be enjoying the weather and time to walk home. once i get home, i´ll eat and try to fix my network adapter problem, then go grocery shopping and jog later. i may or may not go to the gym today since i may not be able to go tomorrow.

isn´t today supposed to be my easy day?

21 January 2008

don´t go chasing butterflies

or whatever that tlc song was from the 90s. see, my new girlfriend & i are 90s music fans.

that aside, i´d like to take a moment and talk about butterflies. you see, butterflies are what i normally have when i see a situation that might be remotly beneficial for me, then i overanalyze it from 14 different angles, and eventually talk myself out of it. or i freeze up and let these little butterflies grow into big butterflies that, as they fly en masse in my stomach, end up flying me away from this great situation.

so, last week, i had this big date with this wonderful girl. during the week, there were some butterflies. yes, there are always are. does she think i´m remotely attractive/funny/interesting/intelligent/coherent? does she think i have any concept of taste, whether in music, movies, food or clothes? might she want to spend some time with me? you know those butterflies.

on thursday right before our big (read: make-it-or-break-it) date, i went for a run to let out some of these butterflies, and by the time i was done 4 miles later, they had pretty much all flown out. long story short, it was a fantastic date! (on a side note, go see jesucristo superstar or its variant in inglés. it´s fantastic, both as a show and as good teaching.)

now comes the giddy getting-to-know-you phase, and i´m just eating it up. :)

smittenly yours,

14 January 2008

back from the junited estates

after a month´s hiatus due to finishing exams, traveling to the junited estates for christmas vacation and going to morocco, i´m back in madrid. today is the first day of class, and it looks like this semester is going to shape up a little less hectic than the last, the main reason being i won´t have that thesis qualifying paper hanging over my head and finding every spare moment to work on it. the weather is better, the routine easy to fall into, and i´m getting more involved with church, which means i´m very much more now than before a madrileño.

the week after exams was a chill week for me. my flatmate left that sunday, and since i wasn´t leaving until that thursday, i had a lot of time to sleep. i was planning on going to the gym that week, but between sleeping late and going to bed late (apparently i was pre-adjusting my body to the eastern u.s. time zone) and going out with friends, i had little time for that, though i still went running everyday. tuesday, i went to the mountains to see snow and had the absolute BEST hamburger EVER in a mountain lodge restaurant. it was so goooood. wednesday, i spent it with a good friend, aaron, who accompanied me to the latino store where i got food to make for community group that night. after community group, aaron came over and spent the night since he was also leaving for the junited estates the next day, and i live closer to the airport.

two weeks in the states seems like a whirlwind, but i had a relaxing and peaceful time. i had two weird feelings that i wasn´t anticipating: 1) familiarity with driving and 2) no reverse culture shock. everything was oddly familiar, though i´d been away for the past 6 months. apparently i was ready for a visit and realized i wasn´t "coming home".

i took a long weekend right before new year´s and visited my brother & family in west arkansas. i had such a terrific time seeing him be a father to his two beautiful girls and to see how he and his wife have matured in their marriage and in parenthood. i got to love on the oldest and incarnate that "crazy uncle" image her parents keep telling her about. :) apparently they weren´t too far off. after returning to georgia for a few days, it started to hit me that i wanted to stay a little longer--that perhaps i had made too short a trip.

two hours after arriving in madrid, i was a tour guide to some students from georgia who were passing through madrid to study in salamanca. it was a whirlwind weekend, but we had a great time, and though doing touristy things, i got to see some exhibits in the art museums that i hadn´t seen last semester, so i was glad to show them around. besides, i like to take eating tours through cities, and my tours are, too. :)

a week in morocco was so much more than i had anticipated, and i´m so glad i had the chance to go. looking back now at the start of the trip, i had no idea what i was getting into, but it turned out to be an amazing time of making new friends and discovering how to listen to the Spirit more. besides, it was incredible to see the atlantic close up on this side and to have it in the background. this is even more spectacular since i live in the very center of spain.

i was gone for 3 short weeks, and it seems like not much has happened without me. i´m glad to be back home, glad to be with people who are my family here and make me appreciative of my family in the junited estates.