Wednesday, September 28, 2005

El Escorial

I love random changes.

For example, when I arrived home after lunch on Monday I received a call from my employer Alicia. She told me to get my things... that the chauffer was coming to get me. I was thinking -- dinner, or maybe overnight. But no. She meant for good. So I had 1 hour to pack all my stuff! Thankfully, I knew my stay in Marta´s house would be short-term, so I hadn´t really unpacked.

The best part is that the house still isn´t ready (apparently they painted the whole thing the wrong color and therefore have to repaint it!), so we are staying at Grandma´s house in El Escorial. It´s far away from, well, everything. And I´ll be living out of my suitcase for about another 3 weeks. However, let´s look at the brightside... the views from the house are amazing! At night, you can see the lights from the city, and they tell me that on the weekends they light up the big Palace/Monastery for which the town is named.

In other news, I like the family. Honestly, I think Antonio, the chauffer, is my favorite, but he doesn´t live with us. Then there´s Alina, she´s Romanian. She´s 26 or 27 and has been with the family for 2 years, cooking, cleaning, bathing children, etc. Speaks Spanish almost perfectly, and we enjoy sitting on the porch at night, talking. Grandma, Maria (I think?) is a piece of work. I´ll have to think how to describe her better for next time. Alicia, the mom, is nice, but she´s been feeling a little under the weather lately, and we really haven´t spent that much time together.

As for the girls. Alejandra (9) is very much like me. Loves to read, loves to practice her English and does quite well with it, and is very mature for her age. Alicia (6) is a wild woman. She understands my English, but almost always prefers to answer in Spanish. She likes to run around the house, tearing things apart. Almudena (almost 3) is quite the copy of Alicia. One minute, she´s as sweet as can be. The next... a holy nightmare. Also understands me, but won´t answer.

Today, I have the priviledge (sp?) of writing you from the house of my friend Miriam. Since I had brought a bunch of stuff for her and her family from the States (mostly from Jessica!), her mom invited me over to lunch today. The 3 of us girls ate, and then her brother Pablo and her dad came home and they ate. She has since gone back to work, but her parents said they didn´t mind if I stayed a rato (while) to fill you guys in on what´s going on.

Once I leave here, I´m going to a hotel until Friday to have my orientation for my job (the one that got me here in the first place!).

Alright, I´ll leave you in peace to go to whatever it is that you should be doing. Thanks for reading! Oh yeah, and I put up a few pictures, so check out the link on the bottom that says "read my profile" and look for the España album.

Soli Deo Gloria...

Monday, September 26, 2005

after first weekend

Ok... not much time. This weekend was wonderful. It was great to see the rest of my friends (and their parents) and just be able to hang out and relax. I stayed the night at the home of a couple from the church since my house is so far away. The preaching here is incredible too, so it was awesome to get to hear that.

I still haven´t met Alicia, whom I´ll be living with. Hopefully she´ll call me this week. Also, from Wed pm to Fri am I have an orientation for my job at the school, so I´m looking forward to whatever information they´ll give me there. I´m anxious to start some kind of routine.

Soli Deo Gloria...

Friday, September 23, 2005

first days

So, I´ve made it for 2 days already. It´s great to be back. Yesterday I headed into the city and wandered around, met Miriam, a friend from my last trip, for lunch. It was great to catch up with her. Then I hung out with her brother Isaac after he got off work and we walked around my old "neighborhood" and past the soccer stadium. It brings back so many memories!

Thankfully, I´m feeling very comfortable with my Spanish and understanding what everyone says. The house I am currently living in is much larger than what I´m used to for Spanish houses, and is decorated in a Spanish version of Pottery Barn, more or less.

Last night the train took longer to get home that I had planned, so I arrived at 5 after 9 and Marta was a little upset becuase "the baby goes to bed right at 9, and he couldn´t tonight because you got home late." He wasn´t in bed when I got there, but whatever. Tonight I´ll be home by 8:30!

This morning I went for a run with the 50-year-old nanny at 7:30 before she woke the baby up at 8. It´s been a while since I´ve run and it was chilly, so it was rougher than I thought. Guess I´ll have to keep that up.

Ok, I´m out. I´m borrowing the computer of a friend of mine who´s an Au Pair in a neighboring town, and now we´re going to go eat breakfast of sorts. Taluego,

Soli Deo Gloria...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

safe arrival

¡Hola hola!

I am officially here safely! Our flight arrived a few minutes early this morning, but then it took almost an hour to wait in line at Immigration. A friend met me at the airport, as well as a driver to take me to the house where I´m staying. I´m in a temporary location now (with a friend of my employer) until my room is ready at her new house.

Marta is very nice, and her 2 1/2 year old son is adorable (although he didn´t like me at first... after his nap, we got along much better!). Her husband is in town this week also, but they are moving to Atlanta shortly, so he´s been there quite a bit recently, and leaves again this weekend.

I have a cell phone number now, so email me if you want me to send it to you. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!

Soli Deo Gloria...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

pre-Spain (x2)

Ok... so a lot has happened since last time I wrote. Figured that since I'm getting ready to send this link to everyone I know, maybe the most recent post shouldn't be from March.

Besides, when I last wrote, what I'm getting ready to do was not even a figment of my imagination.

I leave -- in less than 48 hours, mind you -- to be in Spain for almost a year. I will be teaching English part-time in a public elementary school, and part-time to the 3 young daughters of the lady I'll be living with. I will also be improving my Spanish, soaking in the Spanish culture as much as possible, living and sharing the joy of the Lord, hanging out with my dearly-loved friends that I met last time I was there, and having other adventures that I don't even know about yet.

Before I forget, I want to thank those of you who took time out of your busy schedules this summer -- and especially recently -- to have lunch or dinner/tapas with me, or (if you're Emily, Kevin, or Donna) to plan a party on my behalf.

Even if I didn't get to see you this summer, I would be thrilled if you would join me on this journey with your thoughts and prayers. I would also love to hear what's going on in your life -- just because you're not in a foreign country doesn't mean it's not interesting!

On a more "technical" note, run your mouse over the links at the bottom of this page 'cuz I snuck around the system and changed them, but can't change what they say :) You'll find my pics and my Spanish blog. You can also email me with the "contact" link to the right (but you have to put the @ in the space... otherwise I'd get crazy spam mail).

¡Hasta España!

Soli Deo Gloria...