By now many of you know that I have successfully made the trip home to the States, but my heart is still very much in the city of Sevilla! I still have two posts that I was hoping to write before I left Spain, but we were all too busy soaking up our last few days together in the city.
April 14-21 marked the week of “La Feria” (or translated into English “fair”) for the city of Sevilla. We had off school the entire week for the celebration, and many of the students took advantage of the time and traveled to various parts of Europe. I decided once again to go to Vigo and spend the week with Marcela’s family. I stayed with Veronica, Marcela’s youngest sister, and her two children Angel and Jessi for the week in Pontevedra. Little did I know what an amazing week I had ahead of me.
Sunday Veronica and Jessi picked me up at the airport in Santiago de Compostela, a city about an hour north of Pontevedra. The city is very well known since it is the ending point of “El Camino de Santiago,” a spiritual walk that many people take along the entire northern part of Spain. The Cathedral in Santiago is the ending point of the walk. We drove in to the city of Santiago and walked about thirty minutes of the walk, following the seashells that mark the path the entire way to the Cathedral. The cathedral is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I had seen during my time in Spain (although the one in Sevilla is still my favorite!). We entered the cathedral and “hugged” Santiago at the front of the church before leaving and exploring more of the city on foot. It was a very fun afternoon. We drove back to Pontevedra in the evening, picked up Angel from a soccer game, and went home and made homemade arepas (these are VERY popular in South America, and one of my favorite things that Marcela makes me at home.)
Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela
“Hugging” Santiago inside the Cathedral
Streets of Santiago de Compostela
Monday morning we took the kids to school, and we were then joined by Vivi (Marcela’s older sister) and her parents Pati and Luis for lunch. Before lunch I went on a walk with Pati and Luis for about an hour and a half. It filled my heart with joy to finally be able to spend some time with them and really talk to them… and be understood in Spanish! Luis is a pastor in Spain and Venezuela, and I really enjoyed talking about his churches and the differences between Venezuela and Spain when it comes to church and religion. We picked up the kids from school and then ate lunch together. After lunch, Veronica, Angel and I drove to Marin, a small city on the coast where Pati and Luis live and we went to the beach! The beaches and landscapes in northern Spain are absolutely stunning. Veronica and I enjoyed sitting and talking on the beach while Angel dug around in the sand. In the evening we returned home, and Veronica cut and colored my hair. The cut and color are very different than anything I’ve ever had before, and at the end she was so proud of the change that had taken place. After everything was done, I looked at her and thanked her for putting the change that I know had taken place in my heart during my time in Spain and putting it on the outside as well. I guess I will have to return to Spain every 6-8 weeks so she can do my hair… I wouldn’t mind :)
Just to make everyone laugh… before and after Veronica worked her magic ;)
The rest of the week was spent doing a variety of different things. Each day we took the kids to school and picked them up in the afternoon to bring them home for lunch. Veronica and I would also go on some sort of “adventure” while they were at school. Tuesday she took me to see these beautiful waterfalls at a park close to their home. We would go shopping or go to the grocery store. It was the simple things that made the week the most special. Wednesday we went to Luis and Pati’s house for lunch and then dropped the kids off at one of their many activities. While they were at swimming or fencing we would walk around Pontevedra or a park close to their school. In the evenings I would work on my papers while Jessi would sit next to me and practice her English. That particular week she was learning bugs and we had a fun time drawing pictures of the bugs and writing the English name beside them :)
Waterfalls near Pontevedra :)
Friday night Jessi and I went to spend the night at Vivi and Paco’s house in Vigo. The following Saturday we drove to Portugal where we had a picnic lunch and explored a local market that they have each week on Saturday’s. Before crossing back in to Spain, we drove up a huge mountain (and of course the name is escaping me right now) with a view of both Spain and Portugal, and straight ahead was the Atlantic Ocean. It was breathtaking and such a perfect way to spend one of my final days with them. In the evening Jessi and I took the train from Vigo back to Pontevedra (she was very excited to take a foreigner on the train all by herself J ) and we watched the sunset over the water. Veronica picked us up at the train station. Sunday morning they drove me to the airport in Santiago and after a very tearful goodbye, I boarded the plane back to Sevilla.
Picnic lunch view in Portugal
Me, Paco and Jessi
Spain is to the right, Portugal is to the left. Atlantic straight ahead.
Me and Vivi :)
Jessi and I on the train!
The highlight of the entire week for me was all the time that I was able to spend with Veronica. We would stay up til 1 or 2am each night just talking with each other and eating “cosas ricas” (rich things!). She was so patient with my Spanish and was constantly encouraging me to chase after my dreams and be confident in the person who God has created me to be. I don’t know if she will ever know what an impact she had on my life in those short two weeks that I was with her and I will never know how to thank her for everything! Since the trip, we have been texting each other every day, and I am thankful for the chance to practice my Spanish on a regular basis!
I returned home on Sunday, the last day of Feria, and Courtney and I dressed up and explored Feria for the final evening with some good friends from school. I was happy we were able to experience it, even if it was for such a short time. At midnight they had fireworks to close out the week long feria celebration. It was a great ending to a great week!!
The entrance to Feria
Courtney and I at Feria :)
I hope that everyone is doing well! I am looking forward to seeing all of you very soon :)