What a weekend. There were probably less than 20 of the 50 or so of us that actually stayed in Sevilla instead of going to Paris, Barcelona, or Palma de Mallorca but we made it fun!
On Friday at school there were only 2 of the 6 people in our class so our professor brought us banana bread (homemade, made with sunflower oil instead of butter since we’re in spain and they rarely use butter) which was so so so great to taste again! Then we had our last lunch with two great girls from England/Wales that had been with us the whole week. They both spoke pretty good Spanish, especially one of them, so we could have some good convos all together. This week there are two different girls from “Inglaterra” as well but I don’t think they are as good at Spanish. It’s great that we can translate or help when needed while they’re here but I think that sometimes my señora thinks that they don’t understand something and will ask us to translate when it isn’t needed or talk about them in front of them as if they don’t understand. Hopefully this week will go smoothly since it always is just a little more stress for Blanca.
Friday afternoon I went for a run during the afternoon while it actually wasn’t raining and got to the monument in pueblo San Juan for the second time. I also encountered bunches of snails and caterpillars eating plants and I saw a bunny, all of which made up for having to go around a dead dog on the side of the road on the bridge. Bleh. Since the English girls were eating out with their group Blanca and I had a quiet supper together. After supper I went out and met up with the group of pretty much everyone who stayed plus a spaniard friend. Part of us went to La Carboneria (where we ran into a couple more people and someone’s host sister and friend) to see some flamenco. After sitting around and talking we went to a teteria to sit around and talk some more. We got some “baklawa” (as it’s spelled here) and tea. It was a really enjoyable night and afterwards David our spanish friend drove the girls back. Before this week I had gone 2 months and 2 days without riding in a car (and that after spending nearly all my Christmas break riding in cars).
Saturday I got up to my alarm to go to the gypsy market again. This time with Libby and her friend who is studying in Ireland and came to visit. Since it was forecasted to rain and everything was muddy there were not many people there and probably only 2/3 of the tents were set up. I got a pair of bright green flats for only 1 €! Hooray! Then we headed to the centro to visit the cathedral before lunch and on our way met a group of catholic high school aged students and some of their teachers handing out “Yo Vivo Semana Santa” stickers and singing a few songs. We got to talking with a catholic missionary from D.C. and a couple girls from the school who wanted to practice their English. They told us about the global youth convention held every 3 years that is going to be in Madrid this summer and the traveling cross that is in Sevilla yesterday and today that goes around the country the year before the conference. We also got to hear why they have some of their traditions and what their take was on the Cathedral and other things. It was exciting to talk with other people who are seeking after God and who love Jesus and want to do something about it. In other words, people who want to live Semana Santa, not just share in the cross of Jesus during Holy Week, but live carrying our crosses in the way Jesus did throughout all the years of our lives. I live Holy Week. Vivo la Semana Santa.
When I got to the cathedral turns out they needed my student i.d. AND another photo i.d. to get the student discount so I chose to come back another time and just go back for lunch. Since I had an hour and it was not raining like forecasted, it was actually nice and sunny and gorgeous finally, I decided to wander a bit and headed toward Parque Maria Luisa but on my way over in my shortcut through the University of Sevilla I got distracted (if that’s even possible while you’re wandering since that’s most of what wandering is about). When I entered the old tobacco factory I saw that there was a room to my left with it’s doors open, people inside, and the smell of incense wafting in my direction. I wandered over curiously intending to peek in and leave. A girl came up and asked me “estas aquí por la (whatever it was called)” and since I wanted to see what it was I just said tentatively “eeee sí?” to which she replied “do you speak English?” and you already know what I answered. What I had happened upon was an open house for the hermandade (brotherhood) for the university students and faculty combined with a little prayer meeting of the catholic campus ministry group combined with a video talking about the traveling cross and upcoming convention. I met some of the other students (don’t worry I wasn’t speaking English the whole day), wrote out some prayer requests for the paper cross, exchanged e-mail and phone numbers with Julie, and headed back for lunch. Once again, it was lovely to see catholics living out their faith, viviendo la Semana Santa. I don’t know what catholics say about providence, but I know there’s a reason I didn’t stick my license in my pocket before heading out that morning and had the curiosity to walk into a strange-smelling room full of unfamiliar people.
For lunch Blanca and I went to la Aterazana restaurant where we met Juan and his friend. We ate the normal aterazana food plus ensalada rusia, talked, and had a great drawn out lunch. Then afterwards went to Don Diego for a drawn out coffee. Juan’s friend recently got back from studying Italian a few months in Italy, so we could relate. In the middle of a conversation I realized that I was talking about how hard it is to say what you want sometimes but at the time it wasn’t that hard to say what I wanted. I’m slowly getting better!
In the evening I took my bocadillo and ate half of it along calle Betis overlooking the river and Sevilla then went to the University of Sevilla choir concert to hear my friend Cherise perform! The concert was in a church inside the cathedral, it’s like a chapel but bigger and it’s beautiful (and a bit echoey) inside. Cherise (and the other amazing soloists) played a lovely part in performing some of Bach’s cantatas. Afterward I walked home with Hannah and when I forgot to leave something there that and had to re-ring her super-nice señora Rosa invited me in so I ate the other half of my bocadillo in their living room a little before midnight.
Sunday I went the short walk to church in the rain only to get there and remember that last week they told us they were meeting somewhere else this week. I wasn’t the only one that forgot though so 6 of us went to Don Diego to talk and study the Bible together! Then lunch with Blanca, a relaxing afternoon watching the rain and even hearing a bit of thunder, and an early supper Blanca made and I heated up and ate by myself. After supper I went to the same church in the cathedral with Jeff for a taizé prayer vigil for the youth of Sevilla. They brought in the traveling cross and after the beautiful service we made a paso following it from the church to a nearby convent. Then we met up with Julie, Ola, and the rest of the “SARUS” (student ministries) group and went to tapas with them! Selected reasons why it was a great night are stated as follows: 1. the fact that I went to a couple normal events in the cathedral 2. seeing so many youths gathered 3. worshiping our God 4. being in the plaza de naranjas at night and seeing bats fly around the giralda and the flying buttresses 5. candles 6. new friends 7. speaking spanish 8. tapas and peach juice