First things first: my sincerest apologies for being AWFUL at keeping a blog. Know that I have been doing well, but also a bit overwhelmed, between a ton of schoolwork, family life, various activities, and travels galore. I say everytime that I'll try to do better at writing consistently... but I will say so again in hopes that this time I can keep that promise. :)
This post is one that I wrote 3.5 weeks ago already, and forgot to post it - OOPS! So take this as if it were in mid january....
so, these days I'm starting to really feel like I belong here in Denia - I'm finding my place. I started to really feel this a week and a half ago (which is when i intended to write this post)... It's due, really, to an aggregation of things:
- friends: It has been within the last two weeks that I've been making friends of my own, of my own accord. Some I have met at church, others are students we met at bars, and even my conversation partner. (Most of us from calvin signed up to have a converstation partner who is a senior at the local high school - we meet once a week and the idea is to do 1/2 hour in Spanish and 1/2 hour in English. But in Cristina's (my partner) and my first meeting, she told me that her mom is french, and so Cristina speaks french too. And since my french needs more work than my Spanish, I think we might do 20 minutes in french instead of Spanish!)
- getting involved: There are many things that I have always wanted to do but have never had the time in Grand Rapids. And incredibly enough, I am getting the chance to do them here in Denia! This week I am starting a class in "bailes de salón" which is literally ballroom dancing. It's through the town hall's studio "llunatics" - the equivalent of a parks and rec department class. We will be doing a little bit of things like waltz, but really, it's mostly going to be latin dancing - salsa, merengue, and bachata - my favorites! I also joined the youth Gospel Choir at our church. This is wonderful. Not only do I get to meet tons of cool people, but we get to praise God every sunday evening at our 1.5 hr rehearsals and our almost-every-sunday-morning performances. I've always enjoyed choir but never had time in high school because I was in band, orchestra, and 2 foreign languages. So here I am with this amazing opportunity! Also with the church, I am in a barca,which is a small group that meets for prayer on sunday mornings before church and thursday evenings for worship and bible study. The group is comprised of my Mamá, a few other middle aged to elderly (and very wise) ladies from the church, and approx. 8-10 german students. The germans, who are my age, are here doing a year of volunteer service at the church and its school. It is really fun to get to know them - who knew I'd be learning so much about German culture, too, in spain!? Some of them speak good spanish, but for the rest, English is our common language, which they all speak excellently.
- knowing the city: I realized the other day that as I'm walking around, I really know where I'm going. Instead of having to check my map or confirm directions from my padres, I can just head to where I need to go, provided I know the general area. And I also feel like I really live here, not just as a tourist - this week I brought my boots to the zapatero (the shoe repair place - not the president of spain) to get the heel fixed. I have rarely done such quotidian, ordinary things even in Grand Rapids. But it's funny how getting my shoes fixed make me feel like this town is really my home!
Well, all of that needs updating now, but there you have my entry from a few weeks back. I can tell you briefly that since then, I've grown in my sense of belonging, started a new semester, and been to Barcelona, Murcia, and Morocco. Needless to say, I have a lot to fill you in on!
Till then, take care, and if you feel so called, keep me in your prayers! I'm quite sick right now and it's wiping me out! I hope to feel better ASAP - and if not within the next 5 minutes, at least by this weekend when we're going to Benimaurell, a small village in the mountains where we'll be relaxing and hiking el cañón del diablo - the canyon of the devil!!! They say the hike is hard, but after Long's Peak, a 6-hour hike with (relatively) negligible elevation gain does not worry me. :)