disclaimer: this post is photo heavy.
i said i was going to blog every day, and then i did a very human thing: i got tired, so i went to bed instead of blogging.
i think sleep is an important thing, yes?
at this point, we’ve finished teaching and the missions part of the trip is finished, so to speak. my mom and i are going to spend the next few days exploring madrid while the other members of our team travel around europe a few days. we’ll all be back in the states by next sunday (the 22nd).
(speaking of next sunday, that’s when my 5k is! ask me how much i’ve trained. i dare you. ahem.)
wednesday we prayer walked in the morning and taught english in the afternoon (12-2pm), just like we had monday. after that we had lunch at cien montaditos with aurora and her three daughters. on wednesdays, they sell everything on their menu for a euro, except salads, which are two.
i think that’s the cheapest meal i’ve ever had, actually. and this is coming from someone who eats from the mcdonald’s menu far more frequently than she should.
anyway, after that, we taught our third evening class. our topic that day was entertainment, so we talked about music, movies, books, etc. we played apples to apples, too, which our students really enjoyed.
thursday we went to the palacio real de madrid. apparently it’s the largest palace in europe. i say apparently because as i was looking at it, it didn’t look any bigger than versailles.
looking down on madrid from one of the palace balconies
the gardens to the side of the palace
thursday we taught again in the evening. this night was a discussion on values. we watched an episode of everybody loves raymond, in which ally asks her parents why we’re on earth. we had a short discussion on that afterwards, during which we were able to share a little about our faith.
we pray seeds were planted. we know Christ knows who was there, why they were there, and how what we said will impact them. we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide our sweet students to His saving grace, particularly as some of them will have further contact with the muhas after this.
friday we followed much the same schedule as monday and wednesday, although instead of prayer walking, we just prayed at the muhas’ dinner table after breakfast. we tried to focus our afternoon class on music and dancing, so i taught them the cupid shuffle, then split them into groups and had them make videos to songs. they chose coldplay’s “every teardrop is a waterfall” (this song is crazy deep, so this group had a good discussion about that) and beyonce’s “single ladies (put a ring on it),” which of course we all know to also be a very thought-provoking song (um, not.)
we filmed these, like we did the chants from monday, and hopefully i’ll post them later.
we had lunch afterwards at the home of a sweet couple from church. it was delicious.
then we taught our last english class.
i’m no different than anyone else: i hate goodbyes. i hate them. i’m astounded at how deeply i felt for our students, how entrenched they seemed in our lives, even though we only saw them for two hours a day. and i can’t even begin to put into words how i feel about this being over, about leaving madrid next thursday.
we’ve met the sweetest people, everywhere. at our classes, at church, as we’ve walked and sightseen and eaten out.
friday’s theme was culture. faye and i talked to our group about thanksgiving, because they don’t have anything like that in spain, and i’ve decided today’s a day of thanksgiving, of being grateful for His unspeakable gifts this past week, for the unspeakable gift of this past week. it’s indelibly printed on my heart, and i pray i never lose the feeling i have this moment, of being touched, again, by His majesty, by His grace, so far above my most intelligent comprehension.
we were talking to people at the restaurant until almost 11. mind you, class had ended at 930. and then we stayed till just past midnight, eating and debriefing of sorts about the week, discussing things we liked, how we thought it all went, looking over the student evaluations.
we followed that late night with an early morning, to visit the royal palace of la granja at san ildefonso and the roman aqueduct at segovia.
la granja is like a miniature version of versailles. one of the spanish monarchs, philip v, grew up there and after moving to spain, decided to build a replica.
there is the most gorgeous arrangement of flowers on the front lawn:
this is the front of the palace at la granja:
the gate to the gardens:
our team in front of part of the gardens:
|l-r: debbie, my mom, annie-who-isn’t-looking-at-the-camera, faye, loosha|
the back view of the palace:
loosha didn’t smile when i told her to, so i told her this picture was going on the blog:
the back view of la granja, again:
it was amazing. there are fountains everywhere, although if you want to see them running, you have to pay. otherwise, like we did, you get in for free. all of the fountains have mythical characters and creatures. there are statues everywhere. it’s beautiful.
after that, we took about a fifteen-minute drive to segovia.
there’s a roman aqueduct there.
NO BIG DEAL.
i’m only looking at, touching, walking on stone that’s two thousand years old.
i’ve finally seen roman architecture in person, so i think my life is pretty well complete.
we walked up a set of staircases that take you to the top of the aqueduct. this is the view as we were ascending:
at this point, the top row of arches was at the level of my face.
from the highest level, looking down at the aqueduct. if you follow the line it forms, you can see where it bends to the left.
after we saw the aqueduct, we walked to the plaza mayor (main plaza). and BAM!, a giant cathedral popped out of nowhere (or at least that’s what it felt like when it came into view).
this is the plaza where queen isabel (you know, the one who sent christopher columbus to find
asia a whole new continent) was crowned queen in the 1470s. the chairs in the foreground belong to the restaurant where we ate lunch.
this is the alcázar. it’s a palace-turned-prison-turned-military-school-turned-historical-attraction.
this is where the moat used to be.
the view looking down:
there was a couple getting married! i think they were just taking pictures here, and you’ll see why they would in a little.
this is a sign we found in the alcázar. read carefully.
it actually says the exact same thing in spanish, that access is restricted to those who aren’t authorized to go up there. so you can’t blame this on bad translation; it’s just bad communication skills.
this is the back view of the alcázar, about the spot where the aforementioned bride and groom were taking pictures. it is more stunning than a photograph can even attempt to communicate.
i’ll stop relating our saturday exploits now; it’s 130am here and i’m tired! i hope y’all are having a marvelous weekend!