Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Semana Santa

I've got another HUGE post in the works about adventures in Spain and France with Dan, but about 2 weeks ago was Semana Santa here in Spain and I guess you could say it's a pretty big deal here in Sevilla, so I had to post something about it.
The Semana Santa celebration here in Spain is probably one of the most popular in the world, if not the biggest and most popular.  Some people love it, while others just can't stand it and have to get out of the country for the week.  Emma and I are probably in the middle... We got out of the country for a little bit and then came back to see some of the celebration.

 If you were a foreigner (like us..) and you have never seen Semana Santa, you have to see it at least once.  There is nothing like it that I've ever seen... but on the other hand, if you live in the city center like us and you want to go somewhere really fast.. it ain't gonna be happenin...  What normally takes 5 minutes ends up taking 30 minutes because of the crowds.  We see both sides of the story. 

Of course the thing everyone notices are the "Nazare├▒os."  or as us foreigners would say.. the KKK.  If you think about it, it's kinda interesting...  You take a white blanket or robe and throw a pointy hat on top and you have 1 important symbol that represents 2 completely different things....  Religion or Racism.

Due to tradition and a belief system, both cultures see 2 totally different things.  When I look at the guys in purple, or green, or white... regardless of the color and thanks to American history...  the first silly thought that comes to mind is "racists."  When someone from Spain or another Catholic country outside the U.S. sees this symbol they might see a uniting "brotherhood" or right of passage passed down through hundreds of years.

Either way, this year there weren't many KKK/Nazarenos hanging out in processions and accompanying the "pasos" (the floats with the virgin Mary or Jesus carried by people) this year for Semana Santa.  This Semana Santa was dubbed one of the worst in recent years because it rained practically allllllllllll week long...  Rain = no semana santa.  Out of 6 or 7 days of what could have been 50 or more processions, we saw 1...... and we didn't even know it was there until we turned the street corner...   So here it is.  enjoy.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What a week...

It has been a week to remember.

Both incredibly historical occurences and small day-to-day life happenings have made the week very interesting to say the least...

-The South, including my old town, was devestated by one of the deadliest tornado outbreaks in the last 50 years.
-Osama bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist leaders in history, was killed by US forces.
-A monumental royal wedding took place in England (although I didn't care too much for it I still found it worth noting..)

On the brighter daily-life side:

-I played in the street for money for the first time and we were threatened by a homeless man with a knife (sorry mom if you are reading this for the first time, but we are ok..)
-I played electric guitar for the first time in almost 8 months at church with friends.
-Another famous week-long festival has started here in Sevilla:  Feria de Abril (lots of photos will be taken)
-We went to our first baby shower as a married couple!
-We celebrated our 4 year "dating" anniversary!!!

God has used many of these, if not all, to strengthen our faith in him.  Whether it be through heartbreak over losses, joy through the beauty of new life, or the exciting growth of our own relationship and community with other believers, God has and will always provide as well as receive the glory.  Last night at church, we sang "How He Loves Us" by John Mark McMillan.  The beginning of the song says, "He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy."  It hit Emma and I pretty close to home.  We were reminded that the extreme power of a storm can destroy an entire community but at the same time God's love is an all-consuming, overwhelming love that pursues us without end.  It will change you completely.  It will wreck you, but bring ultimate peace.  There is hope in the aftermath of it all.

Tomorrow starts our work week and we will continue on as usual.  We look forward to our first maternity photo shoot with our friends Andy and Jamie who are expecting a baby boy any day now.  We hope to learn how to dance "Sevillanas" with our friends Jordan and Sarah to prepare for Feria.  We look forward to talking with more friends and hearing updates from back home.  Finally, we look forward to spending quality time with Emma's dad as he comes to visit this weekend! 

A picture from a recent trip to Matalasca├▒as. It's nice only living 1 hour away from the beach!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yesterday.

 "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.  Isaiah 54:10

Yesterday Emma and I awoke to some of the worst news we've seen in a long time. 

This post comes after having to process so many emotions, worries, and thoughts.  Especially with few people to verbally talk to, we are still in shock...

The South was hit by one of the most devastating storms in several decades.  What was said to be an F5 tornado ripped through the town I lived in for almost the last 6 years.  A part of my life is there and the town, along with my heart, has been completely crushed...  I lived on a street there that has simply disappeared.  I have friends who have pulled innocent bodies out of the rubble.  What can you do?...

Emma and I are very thankful that none of the people we know were seriously hurt.  We are also grateful to be living outside of the country away from the devastation, but can't help but feel... helpless.  We are brokenhearted.  I assume the photos on Facebook and the videos from news channels are only a small glimpse as to what has really happened.  Every time I see the images, I am just awestruck.  I just don't believe it.  It's not real.

People have literally lost everything.  What was there a minute before the tornado hit, has almost disappeared completely.  Houses, cars, entire warehouses.. everything is gone. 

I have done my share of crying and I wasn't even there.  The sad news is that there will probably still be remains of the destruction when I return to the states in a month...  The road to recovery will be a long one.

The good news is that there is and will always be hope.  Emma and I continue to pray daily for the lost and hurting there in Alabama and the rest of the South.  If you are able and have the opportunity to give in some way, please do so.  Find a local volunteer group, donate resources, give to the Red Cross, and by all means continue to pray.   

"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more." Psalm 71:20-21

To see photos and news coverage about the tornado and what it left behind go HERE.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

related brothers.

After Lyndon left (a few weeks ago..) Dan and I romped about Spain arm in arm as all brothers do!  I took him on a small tour of good ol' Sevilla.  We went to Plaza de Espana and hung out with folks from Star Wars, got some sun and did laundry on the roof, drank little coffees, and went to see some flamenco.

We love visitors in general, but it was even more exciting having my brother there to hang out with!  I really enjoyed some good bro-time just catching up on life, love, and other mysteries.

but forrealskies, I loved hanging out with dan.  Emma and I have been missing family a lot lately (even more so now that they have come and gone..) and it is a breathe of fresh air to see familiar faces and just have a good time.  Dan is a light everywhere he goes.  Like everywhere in the world, Sevilla has thousands of "lost" and hurting people...  It is just more evident when we are in a place that is foreign to us or outside of our comfort zone.  I noticed it more when I first arrived in Spain and slowly turned a blind eye, but dan reminded me that people everywhere need the love of Christ regardless of what is apparent.


Tomando el sol

my little tourist.


Dan puttin moves on the Queen...
dan was wired after basically drinking pureed coffee beans
looking pensively off in the distance.


Don't look to closely....  but yes, my pants are starting to rip.......


right before the pants ripped...


Getting our monthly fix of flamenco!



After our night of flamenco and cruising the small streets of sevilla, we had to get home that night and pack our bags for our incredible road trip through southern france!!!!!

Abrazos y El Amor de Dios.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

tomorrow.

"I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep." 
John 10:11

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Invitado.

The month of March was a crazy one, but a good one.  3 of the 4 weeks were spent with folks coming to visit!  We had couchsurfers, friends, and family and traveled outside of Sevilla 1/2 the time everybody was here.  Eventually I'm going to get around to making a few photo albums on facebook rather than posting a million photos on the blog... but for now I'll keep posting a million photos...

Our first visitor was Melissa from good 'ol Tejas.  We hosted her for a night and in return she brought us some awesome Texas salsa that maybe lasted 2 days.  It was dee-lish-us.
 
I've actually grown a few inches since being in Spain...

Next up was a veryyyyy special visit!!  We had our breast frand Lyndon, or as I like to call her, Jean Claude Lyn-dan, come to visit us allll the way from Budapest, India... or Bolivia... or Ukraine... or wherever Budapest is... she came from there.  Although we had an incredible time with our friend, we felt a little bad that it rained the ENTIRE time Lyndon was here..... we had great plans for picnics and boat rides, but our time outside the apartment was always accompanied by an umbrella and warm jackets....  Either way, our time was still well spent hanging out watching movies, playing snake on her phone, walking around the wet streets, and of course eating lots churros/glorified funnel cakes with chocolate. 
Lyndon's welcome board.
lsakdjf;asdgfjioreudfjksliutoerjkl  Jean Claudeeee
So European, those two.
The only afternoon with 0 rain.
The 1995 Nokia model.  I beat Lyndon's snake score underwater and then threw the phone off a building and it still worked.
Lyndon after church.  She went cross-eyed from all the Spanish...

Lyndon makin' it rain in Plaza del Salvador.
Watching "The Town" illegally.  Who's who???? hehehehehe.
No more rain. No more rain.  No more rain.
Treating ourselves to a treat b/c of rain.
Lyndon making her gross carrot stuff..... with other gross stuff.  Emma liked it. 

 My favorite part about having guests is always taking them to eat churros.  I'll use any excuse to eat fried dough.

mmmmm fried heart attack... best eatin with a cup of chocolate.
 
If having Lyndon here wasn't fun enough, Dannnn came to visit us for his spring break!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This video ought to show the excitement I was feeling upon his arrival in the Santa Justa Sevilla train station!!!!!!!  Emma and I were pumped to have them both here because it was like one big week long slumber party!




Related brothers throwin' back a cup of joe.
Lover's not in love.
Shortly after Dan's arrival we were quick to get out and have some fun!! So much to do with such little time.

 There are several pretty famous points of interest here in Sevilla and we had yet to see them!  We waited 6 months just so we could go and see it with our best friends!!

Hanging out in the Giralda.
Never scared.
Family pic.


In the cathedral searching for Christopher Columbus' body.



Only on rainy days does a mozart, rat-tail, bird's nest form.

On Lyndon's last day..... the sun finally poked its head out to say "What's up guys? Sorry I was gone for so long.  I hope you didn't mind being wet and cold and tired all the time from the crappy weather without me."
We were obviously overwhelmed with sunshine for atleast 10 minutes.



joyful.


Welp.... on Lyndon's last day here, the weather finally took a turn for the better.... but of course she had to go! 

Adios Lyndon!  We luz ewe here in Sevilla.  See you back in the good 'ol USA!

We were of course super sad Lyndon had to go because we miss our friends and family on a weekly basis, but of course we will see her when we return stateside.  Thanks for coming Lyndon!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Daily happenings.

I think I may take a number from my Sister Say and try to post more on a daily/weekly basis rather than a few huge posts a month....  

I tend to make big ol' fat posts with lots of pictures and sometimes lots of words and then sometimes no words at all....but we'll see how that goes...  I'm finally working on some new stuff from all of the visitors we had in the month of March and I guess I might start having a few more daily thoughts or just filler posts in between the big ol' fat ones.  I've also been brain storming on writing about more topics like.... marriage, culture, our faith... and other important/more interesting things I never write about.  

I probably should have done this a long time ago, but better late than never right?
I blame having too much time and slow internet, but anyways.  Here's to being serious and up-to-date.....

First up, If you are looking for great coffee and donuts look no further than Dunkin' Do...... wait a minute.....   I smell a copy cat......

Feliz Martes y Semana Santa!