I have a confession to make: my life has been very normal the past couple of weeks. Well, as normal as it can be given the fact I’m studying architecture in a foreign country all while enjoying the beautiful, sunny Fall weather. When I say Fall, I mean cool breezes that make you want to breathe in as much air as your lungs can possibly handle and brightly colored crispy leaves on the sidewalk that provide endless entertainment when you ride your bike over them and the sun shining on your shoulders (though it is now slightly later in the morning and always goes to bed early). Yeah, fall. Remember that word fellow Montanans? It’s been a long time since I’ve been privileged to enjoy this blessed quarter of the year, as Montana seems to have missed the memo that the autumn season should typically last more than one week. All of this enjoyment has become my life’s training ground, a perfect opportunity to continue in my quest in learning to appreciate each and every moment that God so graciously gives me. Thankfully I have had many of these moments lately.
Accomplishments: I am now convinced that I am improving my Spanish. Yes, at times I did despair that I would never be able to understand this Latin language, and I feared I would be doomed to stare dumbly and mutter a quiet “Si, si” throughout all of my conversation. Though my acting skills would certainly have improved, I can’t say that has ever been a goal of mine for my time here in Spain. Rather, I have begun to be more comfortable in my conversations with native Spaniards. I still laugh with them as I am sometimes forced to ask them several times to repeat their statement or question, yet the frequency of these moments is notably diminishing. Just today two Spaniards asked me for directions in the school and I, beaming with pride and delight, confidently told them that the next staircase would indeed take them outside. I’m certain they were awestruck with my ability to understand such an intricate request and then respond in such a clear and intelligent manner.
Work in Progress: Oh salsa dance moves, why do you elude me? My intention is certainly not to flatter myself, but I truly believe that I have some form of dancing ability. Unfortunately I have not done a good job of demonstrating that to anyone at The Tucan Bar on Tuesday nights. I went again a couple of nights ago, sure that my breakthrough in salsa dancing was looming upon the horizon, and that I would no longer fear that I would look down and find that I truly do have two left feet. The horizon is a little wider than I anticipated. I fear I must resort to practicing with youtube videos if I am ever to attain any level of comfort and ease out on the dance floor here. Thankfully my desire to conquer the dance known as salsa outweighs my desire to keep my dignity. As I think upon Montana, I must draw upon the inspiration of our great state’s motto: Git’ er done.
In terms of my studies, my workload has certainly increased (to my fellow archies out there, it’s still nothing compared to MSU’s work load). I am really enjoying my projects, which range from a wine store/cave exhibit to a comparative analysis of the city of Valencia with two cities in Colombia. I’ve found myself forced to pick up some degree of study habits and self-discipline once again, which I know is truly best. In less than one week I will be in the city of Sevilla with a friend, gazing upon the Alcazar, the palacio de Don Pedro, and numerous other amazing sights. Sorry homework, but you can plan on being ignored for those three days. I am beginning to adjust to the fact that promptness should almost never be expected, that one must be able to flow with the tide in order to best take advantage of the opportunity to learn in each class.
In my free time (not as much as I’d like lately) I’ve been enjoying reading The Heavenly Man, a book about a Chinese man who radically spread the message of Jesus Christ all over his country during a time of intense religious persecution. And it’s in Spanish. I’ve also been working on a drawing of a beautiful old monastery nearby that was converted into a library. One more session and I should be near completion. And of course I’ve been enjoying the company of friends on the weekends by hanging out, watching movies, doing beach evangelism, etc.
In summary, folks, life is good. May I encourage you once again to stop and be reminded of the beauty which each moment holds in life for each and every one of us. So go and try new things, ask hard questions, smell the flowers, and never wait to dive into the riches of life God has blessed us with.